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America, discoverers of.

About the year 860 Noddodr, an illustrious se(arover, driven by a storm. discovered Iceland, and named it Snowland. Not many years afterwards Earl Ingolf, of Norway, sought Iceland as a refute from tyranny. and planted a colony there. Greenland was discovered by accident. One of the early settlers in Iceland was driven westward on the sea by a storm, and discovered Greenland. To that retreat Eric the Red was compelled to fly from Iceland, and, finding it more fertile than the latter. named it Greenland, made it his place of abode, and attracted other Northmen thither. Among Eric's followers was a Norwegian, whose son Bjarni, or Biarne, a promising young man, trading between Norway and Iceland, and finding his father gone with Eric, proposed to his crew to go to his parent in Greenland. They were driven westward, and, it is believed, they saw the American continent in the year 986. The sons of Eric heard the stories of Bjarni, and one of them, Lief, sailed in search of the newly discovered land, and found it.

While there continues to be much doubt concerning the authenticity of claims put forth in behalf of extremely early, discoverers, there are unquestioned historical records of America for the space of over 500 years. It was undoubtedly discovered by Northern navigators early in the eleventh century, and the colony of the son of a Welsh prince. Madoc (q. v.) probably landed on the North American continent about the year 1170. There is no evidence that the Northmen saw more than the coasts of Labrador and New England--possibly Newfoundland; and the landing-place of Madoc is wholly conjectural. On Oct. 11, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered one of the Bahama Islands, east of Florida. but not the continent. In the summer of 1498 Sebastian Cabot (commissioned by King Henry VII. of England), who sailed from Bristol in May with two caravels, discovered the North American continent at Labrador. He was seeking a northwest passage to “Cathay.” and, being barred from the Polar Sea by pack-ice, sailed southward, discovered Labrador, and possibly went along the coast as far as the Carolinas. He discovered and named Newfoundland. and found the treasures of codfishes in the waters near it. On Aug. 1 the same summer Columbus discovered the continent of South America, near the mouth of the Orinoco River.

Americus Vespucius, a Florentine, and an agent of the de Medici family of Florence, was in Spain when the great discovery of Columbus was made. In May, 1499. Vespucius sailed from Spain with Alonzo de Ojeda as an advanturer and self-constituted geographer for the new-found world. They followed the southern track of Columbus in his third voyage, and off the coast of Surinam, South America, they saw the mountains of the continent. That was a year after Columbus first saw the continent of America. On his return, in 1500. Vespucius gave an account of the voyage in a letter to Lorenzo de‘ Medici (for text of letter, see Americus Vespucius). He made other voyages, and in a letter to Rene. Duke of Lorraine, written in 1504, he gave an account of his four voyages, in which he erroneously dated the time of his departure on his first voyage May 29, 1497, or a year or more Before Columbus and Cabot severally discovered the Continent of North and South America. In 1505 a narrative of his voyages to America was published at Strasburg, entitled Americus Vesputius de Orbe Antarcticozzz per Regum Portugalliaa Pridem Zzzjurenta. From that publication, bearing the untrue date of his first voyage. Vespucius acquired the reputation of being the first discoverer of America. Alluding to that false date and the statements under it, the learned and conscientious Charlevoix wrote that “Ojeda, when judicially interrogated, gave the lie direct to the statement.” And Herrera, an early Spanish historian, accuses Vespucius of purposely falsifying the date of two of his voyages, and of confounding one with the other. “in order that he might arrogate to himself the glory of having discovered the continent.” Finally, when Columbus was dead, and no voice of accusation or denial could escape his lips, the narratives of Vespucius were published at St. Diey, in Lorraine, then, as now, a German frontier province. At that time Vespucius was in correspondence with a learned German school-master named Waldseemuller (Wood-lake-miller), who was a correspondent [111] of the Academy of Cosmography at Strasburg, founded by the Duke of Lorraine. Waldseemuller suggested to the members of that institution, under whose auspices the narrative of Vespucius had been published, the name of “America” for the Western Continent, in compliment to tie reputed discoverer. This proposition was published, with approval, in a work entitled Cosmographica Rudimenta, in 1507. It is believed that this action was taken at the request or suggestion of Vespucius; at any rate, he is responsible for the fraud, for it was published seven years before the death of the Florentine, and he never repudiated it. “Considering the intimacy of the two parties,” says the learned Viscount Santerem, “there is no doubt that the geographer was guided by the navigator in what he did.” The name of America, was given in honor of Americus Vespucius, for whom a fraudulent claim to be the first discoverer of the Western Hemisphere was made, and it was done at the suggestion of a German school-master. Both Columbus and Cabot were deprived of the rightful honor. See America, discovery of.

In 1499, Vincent Yañez Pinzon sailed from Palos with his brother and four caravels, and, reaching the coast of South America, discovered the great river Amazon in the spring of 1500. Before Pinzon's return, Pedro Alvarez Cabral, sent by Emanuel, King of Portugal, while on an exploring expedition discovered Brazil, and took possession of it in the name of the crown of Portugal. It was within the territory donated by the Pope to the Spanish monarchs. (See Alexander VI.) A friendly arrangement was made. and it was ultimately agreed that the King of Portugal should hold all the country he had discovered from the river Amazon to the river Platte. On the announcement of the discoveries of Cabot in the Northwest, King Emanuel of Portugal sent Gaspard Cortereal, a skilful navigator, with two caravels on a voyage of discovery towards the same region. He saw Labrador, and possibly Newfoundland. and went up the coast almost to Hudson Bay: and it is believed that he discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 1504 Columbus, in a fourth voyage to America. sailed with four caravels through the Gulf of Mexico, in search of a passage to India, and discovered Central America. In 1506 John Denys, of Honfleur, explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Two years later Thomas Aubert, a pilot of Dieppe, visited, it is believed, the island of Cape Breton, and gave it its name. He carried some of the natives with him to France. In 1518 the Baron de Leri, preparatory to the settlement of a colony on Sable Island, left some cattle there, whose progeny, four-score years afterwards. gave food to unfortunate persons left on the island by the Marquis de la Rochee. Six years later, Juan Ponce de Leon, an old Spanish nobleman, sailed from Porto Rico, in the West Indies, of which he was governor, in search of an island containing a fabled fountain of youth. He did not find the spring, but discovered a beautiful land covered with exquisite flowers, and named it Florida. In 1520 Lucas Vasquez de Allyou, a wealthy Spaniard, who owned mines in Santo Domingo, voyaged northwesterly from that island, and discovered the coast of South Carolina. Meanwhile the Spaniards had been pushing discoveries westward from Hispaniola, or Santo Domingo. Ojeda also discovered Central America. In 1513 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean from a mountain summit on the Isthmus of Darien. Francisco Fernandez de Cordova discovered Mexico in 1517. Pamphila de Narvaez and Ferdinand de Soto traversed the country bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, the former in 1528, and the latter in 1539-41. In the latter year De Soto discovered and crossed the Mississippi, and penetrated the country beyond. This was the last attempt of the Spaniards to make discoveries in North America before the English appeared upon the same field.

It is claimed for Giovanni da Verrazano, a Florentine navigator, that he sailed from France with four ships, in 1524, on a voyage of discovery, and that he traversed the shores of America from Florida to Nova Scotia. He is supposed to have entered Delaware Bay and the harbors of New York. Newport, and Boston, and named the country he had discovered New France. Jacques Cartier discovered the gulf and river St. Lawrence in 1534, and, revisiting them the next year, gave, them that name, because the day when he [112] entered their waters was dedicated to St. Lawrence. In 1576 Sir Martin Frobisher went to Greenland and Labrador, and coasting northward discovered the bay that bears his name. Huguenot adventurers from South Carolina, floating on the ocean helplessly, were picked up, taken to England, and by the stories which they told of the beautiful land they had left, caused Queen Elizabeth to encourage voyages of discover in that direction. Sir Walter Raleigh, favored by the Queen, sent two ships, commanded by Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, to the middle regions of the North American coast. They discovered Roanoke Island and the main near, and in honor of the unmarried Queen the whole country was named Virginia. In 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold, sailing from England directly across the Atlantic, discovered the continent on May 14, near Nahant, Mass., and sailing southward also discovered a long, sandy point, which he named Cape Cod, because of the great number of that fish found there. He also discovered Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and the Elizabeth Islands. In 1604 Martin Pring discovered the coast of Maine.

Again the French had turned their attention to North America. M. de Chastes, governor of Dieppe, having received a charter from the King, of France to form a settlement in New France, he employed Samuel Champlain, an eminent navigator, to explore that region. He sailed from Honfleur in March, 1603, went up the St. Lawrence in May to Quebec, and, returning to France, found De Chastes dead, and the concession granted to him transferred by the King to Pierre du Gast, Sieur de Monts, a wealthy Huguenot, who accompanied Champlain on another voyage to the St. Lawrence the next year. In 1608 he went up the St. Lawrence again ; and the following summer, while engaged in war with some Hurons and Algonquins against the Iroquois, he discovered the lake that bears his name in northern New York. At the same time, Henry Hudson, a navigator in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, entered the harbor of New York ( September, 1609) and asceniled the river that bears his name as far as Albany. The region of the Great Lakes and the upper valley of the Mississippi were discovered and explored by French traders and Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth century. So early as 1640 the former penetrated the western wilds from Quebec. Father Allouez set up a cross and the arms of France westward of the lakes in 1665. Father Marquette, another Jesuit missionary, pushed farther in 1673, and discovered the upper waters of the Mississippi. Father Hennepin, who accompanied La Salle, explored the Mississippi in a canoe from the mouth of the Illinois River, northward, in 1680, and discovered and named the Falls of St. Anthony. A little later Robert Cavelier de la Salle, an enterprising young trader, penetrated to the Mississippi, and afterwards visited the coast of Texas from the sea and planted the germ of a colony in Louisiana. See Americus Vespucius; Cabeza De Vaca; Cabot, Sebastian; Columbus, Christopher; Verrazzano, Giovanni da; Vasquez De Allyon.

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