The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 5

The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 5

Read FREE!

The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 5

The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 5

Read FREE!

Excerpt

THE GEOGRAPHICAL DISCOVERIES

MODERN TIMES, though heralded by Guttenberg’s invention of printing in 1438, and by the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the resulting diffusion of Greek scholars throughout western Europe, were actually ushered in by Columbus’s discovery of the western hemisphere, Magellan’s trip round the world, the Copernican theory, and the great revolution in religion.

The discovery of Columbus in effect laid open a new world before the eyes of Europe as truly as if some one should now open up a route to Mars. Five years later Vasco da Gama found the way round the cape of Good Hope to India. In 1519 Magellan crossed the Pacific, and after his death his men completed the circumnavigation of the globe. This proved forever the hypothesis of the rotundity of the earth. These three expeditions, taken together, metamorphosed the geographical ideas of Europe, opened a vast field for effort, weakened the church fathers as scientific authorities, and broke the spell of selfcomplacent, all-knowing ignorance that had held Europe in its thrall.

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