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Charles Withers

Scottish physician, botanist, and explorer, was the first European to return safely having observed the west–east course of the River Niger. His significance stems from this geographical accomplishment, from the much reprinted book of his first expedition, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, first published in 1799, and from his “heroic” failure and death in 1806, in circumstances that are still unclear, on a further Niger expedition. His second posthumously published work, published in 1815, and drawn from Park’s surviving papers and reports, began the process of Park’s biographical commemoration.

Park was born near Selkirk in Scotland on or about 11 September 1771, the seventh of thirteen children. Park was educated at home, at Selkirk Grammar School, and, from 1789, in the University of Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. In November of 1792 Park was introduced to Sir Joseph Banks by his brother ...

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Trevor Hall

was born in Lisbon in mid-fifteenth century. His father João Pereira was from a distinguished Portuguese family. Not much is known about his early life. His earliest biographical information dates to 1471, when he was a soldier in the Portuguese army that capture captured Arzila, in Muslim Morocco. Pereira’s reason for renown is that he was the governor of the Portuguese-built Elmina fortress, on the Gold Coast of modern-day Ghana in 1482. He was the first Portuguese to sail to West Africa and write a long narrative about Portuguese maritime trade in West Africa, from the Sahara to the Congo and beyond. His Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis (1508) was translated into English by the Hakluyt Society.

Pereira was an exceptional cartographer who mapped the West African coast from Morocco to South Africa. He provided data on Atlantic winds, currents and tides, and wrote roteiro Portuguese ...

Article

Trevor Hall

was born on 9 March 1454, but became a naturalized citizen of Spain in 1505. His father, Nastagio Vespucci, and mother, Lisabetta Mani, were friends of the powerful Medici family who governed much of Italy. Vespucci’s reason for renown is that he was the first to recognize South America was a continent separate from Asia, and one of the first to sail from Europe to West Africa then directly to South America, before returning to Europe. He completed the triangular transatlantic trade, without transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic. In 1502, while sailing with the Portuguese, Vespucci navigated from Portugal to West Africa and then directly to South America. Four years before Vespucci sailed from Portugal, another Italian, Christopher Columbus had sailed from the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands to South America, also without enslaved Africans. Two decades later in 1518 the Spanish king authorized merchants to ...