Page images

was like a journey to another planet. It made Europe acquainted with new races, new animals, new plants, new features of nature, new fields of enterprise. All felt that America meant opportunity. That was a great thought — in some respects the greatest that had ever moved the minds and hearts of men. It roused new hope ; it stimulated new and independent effort.

44. Summary. — The period embraced in this section covers the greater part of a century. In it we have three classes of discoveries and explorations :

1. Those of the Spaniards; these were confined to the south, They comprised Florida, the Pacific, the Mississippi and Mexico.

2. Those of the French ; these related to the river St. Lawrence and to expeditions to the eastern coast of Florida and vicinity.

3. Those of the English; these included explorations on the coast at the far north, those of Drake on the Pacific, but, more important than all, those on that part of the Atlantic coast then called Virginia.

Ponce de Leon and De Soto attempted to conquer Florida. Then came the struggle between the French and the Spaniards for possession of that country, ending with the triumph of the latter, and the founding of St. Augustine (1565), the oldest town in the United States.

The English expeditions of Frobisher and Gilbert, with Raleigh's project of a Virginia colony, all failed, and the country was left with no white occupants but the Spaniards.

Finally, we have the effects of the contact of the white and the Indian races considered, and the important results of the discovery of America on Europe briefly set forth.




“It cannot be denied that with America and in America a new era commences in human affairs." — DANIEL WEBSTER.




45. Opening of the Seventeenth Century; Gosnold's Expedition. — The seventeenth century opened with new, and, in the end, successful efforts on the part of both the English and the French to establish colonies on this continent.

In 1602 Gosnold, an English navigator, set sail for Virginia. Instead of taking the usual circuitous route by way of the Canaries and the West Indies, he struck boldly across the Atlantic.?

By this course he saved nearly a thousand miles in distance, and at least a week in sailing time. He landed on a cape on the New England coast, which he named Cape Cod, from the abundance of those fish found there. Then doubling the cape, and sailing south, he reached Cuttyhunk Island, at the entrance to Buzzard's Bay.

On that island he built the first house erected in Massachusetts, intending to leave a colony there ; but when he had got a cargo of sassafras root and cedar logs, the settlers determined to go back with him. The sassafras root was then in great demand in England as a fashionable medicine and cure-all. Gosnold counted on a handsome profit on it. But Sir Walter Raleigh accused him of trespassing on his land,' and seized the cargo, much to the disappointment and disgust of the industrious sassafras-diggers. The expedition, however, had this result: it showed Englishmen a shorter and more direct route to America, and it kept up an interest in the country.

1 Gosnold sailed from Falmouth on the southwest coast of England. Contrary winds drove him to the Azores; thence he sailed a little north of west until he reached the New England coast. See Map of America, page 35.

2 See Map on page 76.


I. VIRGINIA (1607). Le

[ocr errors]

46. England's Need of America; the King grants a Charter to settle Virginia. — The population of England was then small, but many were out of employment. There were two reasons for this : first, thousands of disbanded soldiers had returned from the European wars, and could get nothing to do at home; next, many farmers, finding that wool-growing paid better than raising wheat or barley, had converted their farms into sheeppastures. This threw multitudes of laborers out of work. Everywhere there was distress. So men naturally turned their eyes toward America. Such an opportunity seemed providential. As one preacher declared, Virginia was the door which God had opened to England.

Two companies were organized to send out emigrants. One was called the London, the other, the Plymouth Company. The charter? given by King James I. granted to the London Company the exclusive right to settle in Southern Virginia between Cape Fear and the Potomac. To the Plymouth Company he gave the entire control of Northern Virginia between the eastern end of Long Island and the northern limit of the mainland of Nova Scotia. The object of the companies was trade and exploration.

[ocr errors]

1 It will be remembered that Raleigh's charter gave him control of the American coast from north latitude 34° to 45°. See Paragraph 29.

2 See definition of charter in note on page 24.

3 The London Company controlled the territory between the 34th and 38th degrees of north latitude; the Plymouth, that between the 41st and 45th degrees.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« EelmineJätka »