In this episode we go through what we know about John Cabot and his two expeditions, as well as the prominent role played by the merchants of Bristol in English exploration.
This episode is not a very long one, but we say more or less everything that needs to be said about Amerigo Vespucci, the Florentine liar who succeeded in convincing enough of Europe that it was he who had discovered the American continent to get the landmass named in his honor: America.
This episode wraps up our discussion of the Spanish Indies prior to 1561. We discuss the history of sugar as a cash crop, and how its cultivation brought about the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We conclude our episode with a brief introduction of that plant which will be so important for Jamestown – tobacco.
By the late 1550s, everyone, including the Dominicans, realized that something needed to be done about the Indians of Florida. In 1557, the newly crowned King Philip II of Spain ordered that two settlements be built, one on the Gulf Coast and the other in the Carolinas. Tristan de Luna y Arellano was put in command of the project. Luna’s expedition (1559-1561) was met by horrible luck, Luna himself went mad, and the entire expedition disintegrated into squabbling anarchy. In 1561, Luna was fired and Angel de Villafane took his place, but the project was unsalvageable. Following the final failure of the settlement, Philip II decided that he was through with Florida. Events, however, were soon to prove the necessity of a Spanish military presence in Florida.