EUROPE REDISCOVERS THE NEW WORLD
The importance of the spice trade. The expansion of maritime navigation and geographic science. The discovery of the New World by Columbus. John Cabot lands on Canadian soil at Cape Breton. The expeditions of Corte Real to Newfoundland. French fishermen on the Newfoundland Banks. Fagundez and his attempt to establish a settlement on Cape Breton. Verrazano explores the Atlantic coast of New France. His death in the West Indies. The exploration of Nova Scotia by Estevan Gómez. The expedition of the Samson and the Mary Guilford.
From the mid-fifteenth century, the memory of unexplored lands beyond the Atlantic remained buried in Scandinavian sagas and in the archives of the Vatican. It was only at the close of that century that Europe rediscovered the New World as a result of two developments: the growth of the Oriental trade and the expansion of maritime communications. Consequent upon the last Crusades, commercial ties had multiplied constantly between the West and the Orient. It was from the Orient that Europe got her rich supplies of silks, precious stones, dyes and, more particularly, spices. In those days, spices were an important item in diet: all dishes were seasoned with them, all wines and liqueurs flavoured with them, and they were also made into candy and jams. Pepper came at the head of the list, then nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. The medical profession imported camphor, alum, cassia and opium.
Virtually all spices came from southern Asia, China, India, and the Moluccas. After Tamburlaine's conquests had closed the overland route via Tabriz and the Black Sea in the late fourteenth century, spices were conveyed by way of the Persian Gulf and Baghdad to the ports of Syria, or through the Red Sea to Alexan