Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History

Joyce Chaplin, Early Circumnavigations

February 3, 201542 min
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue as part of the great European quest to find new routes and shortcuts to the spice islands and territories of Asia.

Spain and Portugal led this quest during the 15th and 16th centuries and their race to access the Asian spice trade caused Columbus to sail unwittingly into the Caribbean and North America.

Columbus’ “discovery” caused European peoples to colonize North and South America. It also encouraged Europeans to keep up their search for new ways to access Asia via water routes through or around these continents.

Joyce E. Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University and author of Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit, leads us on an exploration of the early history of around-the-world voyages and the impact those voyages had on the peoples and places of the Americas, the Pacific Islands, Asia, and Europe.

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