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.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Joyce E. Chaplin, the James Duncan Philips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University and author of Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit joins us to discuss the history of early around-the-world voyages.
Joyce reveals how the Spanish and Portuguese desire to participate in the spice trade of East Asia led to the European discovery of North and South America, who Ferdinand Magellan was and why we remember him as the first circumnavigator of the globe, and what effects contact between European and non-European peoples had on peoples and environments around the world.
What You’ll Discover
- How Joyce developed an interest in early circumnavigations
- What it is like to sail in the Gulf Stream
- What man knew about the Earth when he set out to sail around it
- Information about the “Circumnavigator’s Paradox”
- How Spain and Portugal came to take the lead in around-the-world travel
- Information about Ferdinand Magellan and why we remember him as the first circumnavigator of the globe
- What life was like for the sailors who served aboard Magellan’s ship between 1519 and 1522
- Details about Magellan’s circumnavigation and the challenges he and his sailors faced
- Statistics about the mortality rates for early circumnavigators
- What scurvy is and how it effected the sailors who tried to sail around the world
- Why mortality rates dropped drastically between Magellan’s voyage (1519-1522) and the around-the-world voyages of Englishmen John Byron and James Cook during the 1760s
- The demographic and environmental implications of contact between European and non-European peoples
- How Francis Drake enriched himself and the English crown during his circumnavigation (1577-1580)
- How imperial rivalry during the 16th century turned into imperial cooperation during the 19th century
- Details about the first women who undertook around-the-world voyages
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Joyce E. Chaplin
- Joyce’s Harvard Website
- Twitter: @JoyceChaplin1
- Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit
- The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius
- YouTube video of a talk Joyce gave about Round About the Earth
- In your opinion what might have happened if Franklin’s father had let him become a sailor?
- Do you think he would have survived the perils of scurvy or circumnavigated the globe?
- Do you think he still would have made the significant diplomatic contributions and scientific achievements we remember him for today?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion?
Enjoy the Podcast?
Why Not Subscribe?
Ratings & Reviews
If you enjoy this podcast, please give it a rating and review.
Positive ratings and reviews help bring Ben Franklin's World to the attention of other history lovers who may not be aware of our show
Click here to rate & review on iTunes | Click here to rate & review on Stitcher