New World

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Sebastian Munster's map of the New World, first published in 1540 Map of America by Sebastian Munster.JPG
Sebastian Münster's map of the New World, first published in 1540
History of the New World "Historia antipodum oder newe Welt". Matthaus Merian, 1631. Graverat titelblad - Skoklosters slott - 93404.tif
History of the New World "Historia antipodum oder newe Welt". Matthäus Merian, 1631.

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas (including nearby islands), and Oceania.

Earth Third planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, which is Earth's only natural satellite. Earth orbits around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.

Western Hemisphere half of the Earth that is west of the prime meridian and east of 180° longitude

The Western Hemisphere is a geographical term for the half of Earth which lies west of the prime meridian and east of the antimeridian. The other half is called the Eastern Hemisphere.

Americas Landmass comprising North America, Central America and South America

The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.

Contents

The term originated in the early 16th century after Europeans made landfall in what would later be called the Americas in the Age of Discovery, expanding the geographical horizon of classical geographers, who had thought of the world as consisting of Africa, Europe, and Asia, collectively now referred to as the Old World (a.k.a. Afro-Eurasia).

Voyages of Christopher Columbus 1492-1502 voyages to the Americas; beginning of the Columbian exchange

In 1492, a Spanish-based transatlantic maritime expedition led by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus encountered the Americas, continents which were completely unknown in Europe, Asia and Africa and were outside the Old World political and economic system. The four voyages of Columbus began the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Age of Discovery Period of European global exploration

The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration, is an informal and loosely defined term for the period in European history in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and which was the beginning of globalization. It also marks the rise of the period of widespread adoption in Europe of colonialism and mercantilism as national policies. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered by them during this period, though most were already inhabited. From the perspective of many non-Europeans, the Age of Discovery marked the arrival of invaders from previously unknown continents.

World Earth and all life upon it, including human civilization

The world is the planet Earth and all life on it, including human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an ontological world. In a theological context, the world is the material or the profane sphere, as opposed to the celestial, spiritual, transcendent or sacred spheres. "End of the world" scenarios refer to the end of human history, often in religious contexts.

The phrase gained prominence after the publication of a pamphlet titled Mundus Novus attributed to Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. [1]

Italians nation and ethnic group native to Italy

Italians are a Romance ethnic group and nation native to the Italian peninsula and its neighbouring insular territories. Italians share a common culture, history, ancestry and language.

Amerigo Vespucci 15th and 16th-century Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator, and cartographer from the Republic of Florence. Sailing for Portugal around 1501–1502, Vespucci demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies were not Asia's eastern outskirts but a separate, unexplored land mass colloquially known as the New World. In 1507, the new continent was named America after the Latin version of Vespucci's first name. Vespucci became a citizen of the Crown of Castile and died in Seville (1512).

The Americas were also referred to as the "fourth part of the world". [2]

Usage

The terms "Old World" vs. "New World" are meaningful in historical context and for the purpose of distinguishing the world's major ecozones, and to classify plant and animal species that originated therein.

Old World Collectively Africa, Europe, and Asia

The term 'Old World' is used commonly in the West to refer to Africa, Asia and Europe, regarded collectively as the part of the world known to its population before contact with the 'New World'.

One can speak of the "New World" in a historical context, e.g., when discussing the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish conquest of Yucatán and other events of the colonial period. For lack of alternatives, the term is also still useful to those discussing issues that concern the Americas and the nearby oceanic islands, such as Bermuda and Clipperton Island, collectively.

History The study of the past as it is described in written documents.

History is the past as it is described in written documents, and the study thereof. Events occurring before written records are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Christopher Columbus Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer

Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator and colonist who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon. While pursuing a route to the Far East, he discovered a viable sailing route to the Americas, then unknown to the Old World. He led the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, initiating the opening of the New World for conquest and settlement by Europeans and the permanent European colonization of the Americas.

The Spanish conquest of Yucatán was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities in the Yucatán Peninsula, a vast limestone plain covering south-eastern Mexico, northern Guatemala, and all of Belize. The Spanish conquest of the Yucatán Peninsula was hindered by its politically fragmented state. The Spanish engaged in a strategy of concentrating native populations in newly founded colonial towns. Native resistance to the new nucleated settlements took the form of the flight into inaccessible regions such as the forest or joining neighbouring Maya groups that had not yet submitted to the Spanish. Among the Maya, ambush was a favoured tactic. Spanish weaponry included broadswords, rapiers, lances, pikes, halberds, crossbows, matchlocks and light artillery. Maya warriors fought with flint-tipped spears, bows and arrows and stones, and wore padded cotton armour to protect themselves. The Spanish introduced a number of Old World diseases previously unknown in the Americas, initiating devastating plagues that swept through the native populations.

The term "New World" is used in a biological context, when one speaks of Old World (Palearctic, Afrotropic) and New World species (Nearctic, Neotropic). Biological taxonomists often attach the "New World" label to groups of species that are found exclusively in the Americas, to distinguish them from their counterparts in the "Old World" (Europe, Africa and Asia), e.g. New World monkeys, New World vultures, New World warblers.

The label is also often used in agriculture. Asia, Africa, and Europe share a common agricultural history stemming from the Neolithic Revolution, and the same domesticated plants and animals spread through these three continents thousands of years ago, making them largely indistinct and useful to classify together as "Old World". Common Old World crops (e.g., barley, lentils, oats, peas, rye, wheat), and domesticated animals (e.g., cattle, chickens, goats, horses, pigs, sheep) did not exist in the Americas until they were introduced by post-Columbian contact in the 1490s (see "Columbian Exchange"). Conversely, many common crops were originally domesticated in the Americas before they spread worldwide after Columbian contact, and are still often referred to as "New World crops"; common beans (phaseolus), maize, and squash – the "three sisters" – as well as the avocado, tomato, and wide varieties of capsicum (bell pepper, chili pepper, etc.), and the turkey were originally domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples in Mesoamerica, while agriculturalists in the Andean region of South America brought forth the cassava, peanut, potato, quinoa and domesticated animals like the alpaca, guinea pig and llama. Other famous New World crops include the cashew, cocoa, rubber, sunflower, tobacco, and vanilla, and fruits like the guava, papaya and pineapple. There are rare instances of overlap, e.g., the calabash (bottle-gourd), cotton, and yam, and the dog, are believed to have been domesticated separately in both the Old and New World, their early forms possibly brought along by Paleo-Indians from Asia during the last glacial period.

In wine terminology, "New World" has a different definition. "New World wines" include not only North American and South American wines, but also those from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and all other locations outside the traditional wine-growing regions of Europe, North Africa and the Near East. [3]

Origin of term

Allegory of the New World: Amerigo Vespucci awakens the sleeping America Stradanus America.jpg
Allegory of the New World: Amerigo Vespucci awakens the sleeping America

The term "New World" ("Mundus Novus") was first coined by the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci, in a letter written to his friend and former patron Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici in the Spring of 1503, and published (in Latin) in 1503–04 under the title Mundus Novus. Vespucci's letter contains arguably the first explicit articulation in print of the hypothesis that the lands discovered by European navigators to the west were not the edges of Asia, as asserted by Christopher Columbus, but rather an entirely different continent, a "New World". [2]

According to Mundus Novus, Vespucci realized the he was in a "New World" on 7 August 1501 as he arrived in Brazil and compared the nature and people of the place with what Portuguese sailors told him about Asia. In fact, a famous chance meeting between two different expeditions had occured at the watering stop of "Bezeguiche" (the Bay of Dakar, Senegal) – Vespucci's own outgoing expedition, on its way to chart the coast of newly discovered Brazil, and the vanguard ships of the Second Portuguese India armada of Pedro Álvares Cabral, returning home from India. Having already visited the Americas in prior years, Vespucci probably found it difficult to reconcile what he had already seen in the West Indies, with what the returning sailors told him of the East Indies. Vespucci wrote a preliminary letter to Lorenzo, while anchored at Bezeguiche, which he sent back with the Portuguese fleet – at this point only expressing a certain puzzlement about his conversations. [4] Vespucci was finally convinced when he proceeded on his mapping expedition through 1501–02, covering the huge stretch of coast of eastern Brazil. After returning from Brazil, in the Spring of 1503, Amerigo Vespucci composed the Mundus Novus letter in Lisbon to Lorenzo in Florence, with its famous opening paragraph: [5]

In passed days I wrote very fully to you of my return from new countries, which have been found and explored with the ships, at the cost and by the command of this Most Serene King of Portugal; and it is lawful to call it a new world, because none of these countries were known to our ancestors and all who hear about them they will be entirely new. For the opinion of the ancients was, that the greater part of the world beyond the equinoctial line to the south was not land, but only sea, which they have called the Atlantic; and even if they have affirmed that any continent is there, they have given many reasons for denying it is inhabited. But this opinion is false, and entirely opposed to the truth. My last voyage has proved it, for I have found a continent in that southern part; full of animals and more populous than our Europe, or Asia, or Africa, and even more temperate and pleasant than any other region known to us.

Vespucci's letter was a publishing sensation in Europe, immediately (and repeatedly) reprinted in several other countries. [6]

Prior usage

While Amerigo Vespucci is usually credited for coming up with the term "New World" (Mundus Novus) for the Americas in his 1503 letter, certainly giving it its popular cachet, similar terms had nonetheless been used and applied before him.

The Venetian explorer Alvise Cadamosto had used the term "un altro mundo" ("another world") to refer to sub-Saharan Africa, which he explored in 1455 and 1456 on behalf of the Portuguese. [7] However, this was merely a literary flourish, not a suggestion of a new "fourth" part of the world. Cadamosto was quite aware sub-Saharan Africa was firmly part of the African continent.

The Italian-born Spanish chronicler Peter Martyr d'Anghiera often shares credit with Vespucci for designating the Americas as a new world. [8] Peter Martyr used the term Orbe Novo (literally, "New Globe", but often translated as "New World") in the title of his history of the discovery of the Americas as a whole, which began to appear in 1511 (cosmologically, "orbis" as used here refers to the whole hemisphere, while "mundus" refers to the land within it). [9] Peter Martyr had been writing and circulating private letters commenting on Columbus's discoveries since 1493 and, from the start, doubted Columbus's claims to have reached East Asia ("the Indies"), and consequently came up with alternative names to refer to them. [10] Only a few weeks after Columbus's return from his first voyage, Peter Martyr wrote letters referring to Columbus's discovered lands as the "western antipodes" ("antipodibus occiduis", letter of May 14, 1493), [11] the "new hemisphere of the earth" ("novo terrarum hemisphaerio", September 13, 1493), [12] and in a letter dated November 1, 1493, refers to Columbus as the "discoverer of the new globe" ("Colonus ille novi orbis repertor"). [13] A year later (October 20, 1494), Peter Martyr again refers to the marvels of the New Globe ("Novo Orbe") and the "Western hemisphere."("ab occidente hemisphero"). [14]

Christopher Columbus touched the continent of South America in his 1498 third voyage. In his own 1499 letter to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, reporting the results of his third voyage, Columbus relates how the massive waters of the Orinoco delta rushing into the Gulf of Paria implied that a previously unknown continent must lie behind it. [15] However, bowing to the classical tripartite division of the world, Columbus discards that hypothesis and proposes instead that the South American landmass is not a "fourth" continent, but rather the terrestrial paradise of Biblical tradition, not a previously unknown "new" part of the world, but a land already "known" (but location undiscovered) by Christendom. [16] In another letter (to the nurse of Prince John, written 1500), Columbus refers to having reached a "new heavens and world" ("nuevo cielo e mundo") [17] and that he had placed "another world" ("otro mundo") under the dominion of the Kings of Spain. [18]

Acceptance

Mundus Novus depicted on the Da Vinci Globe (1504) Front of the Da Vinci Globe.jpg
Mundus Novus depicted on the Da Vinci Globe (1504)

The Vespucci passage above applied the "New World" label to merely the continental landmass of South America. [19] At the time, most of the continent of North America was not yet discovered, and Vespucci's comments did not eliminate the possibility that the islands of the Antilles discovered earlier by Christopher Columbus might still be the eastern edges of Asia, as Columbus continued to insist until his death in 1506. [20] A 1504 globe created by Leonardo da Vinci depicts the New World sans North and Central America. [21] A conference of navigators known as Junta de Navegantes was assembled by the Spanish monarchs at Toro in 1505 and continued at Burgos in 1508 to digest all existing information about the Indies, come to an agreement on what had been discovered, and set out the future goals of Spanish exploration. Amerigo Vespucci attended both conferences, and seems to have had an outsized influence on them—at Burgos, he ended up being appointed the first piloto mayor, the chief of the navigation of Spain. [22] Although the proceedings of the Toro-Burgos conferences are missing, it is almost certain that Vespucci articulated his recent 'New World' thesis to his fellow navigators there. It was during these conferences when Spanish officials seem to have finally accepted that the Antilles and the known stretch of Central America were not the Indies they had originally sought (while Columbus insisted that they were) and set out the new goal for Spanish explorers: to find a sea passage or strait through the Americas which would permit them to sail to Asia proper. [23] In English usage, the term 'New World' was problematic and only accepted by relatively late. [24]

Cartographic representation

The World Map by Portuguese Diogo Ribeiro (1529) labels the Americas as MUNDUS NOVUS. It traces most of South America and the east coast of North America. Map Diego Ribero 1529.jpg
The World Map by Portuguese Diogo Ribeiro (1529) labels the Americas as MUNDUS NOVUS. It traces most of South America and the east coast of North America.

While it became generally accepted after Vespucci that Columbus's discoveries were not Asia but a "New World", the geographic relationship between the two continents was still unclear. [25] That there must be a large ocean between Asia and the Americas was implied by the known existence of vast continuous sea along the coasts of East Asia. Given the size of the Earth as calculated by Eratosthenes this left a large space between Asia and the newly discovered lands.

Even prior to Vespucci, several maps, e.g. the Cantino planisphere of 1502 and the Canerio map of 1504, placed a large open ocean between China on the east side of the map, and the inchoate largely water-surrounded North American and South American discoveries on the western side of map. However, out of uncertainty, they depicted a finger of the Asian land mass stretching across the top to the eastern edge of the map, suggesting it carried over into the western hemisphere (e.g. the Cantino Planisphere denotes Greenland as "Punta d'Asia" – "edge of Asia"). Some maps, e.g. the 1506 Contarini–Rosselli map and the 1508 Johannes Ruysch map, bowing to Ptolemaic authority and Columbus's assertions, have the northern Asian landmass stretching well into the western hemisphere and merging with known North America (Labrador, Newfoundland, etc.). These maps place the island of Japan near Cuba and leave the South American continent – Vespucci's "New World" proper – detached and floating below by itself. [25] The Waldseemüller map of 1507, which accompanied the famous Cosmographiae Introductio volume (which includes reprints of Vespucci's letters) comes closest to modernity by placing a completely open sea (with no stretching land fingers) between Asia on the eastern side and the New World (being represented two times in the same map in a different way: with and without a sea passage in the middle of what is now named Central America) on the western side – which (on what is now named South America) that same map famously labels simply " America ". However, Martin Waldseemüller's map of 1516 retreats considerably from his earlier map and back to classical authority, with the Asian land mass merging into North America (which he now calls Terra de Cuba Asie partis), and quietly drops the "America" label from South America, calling it merely Terra incognita . [25]

The western coast of the New World – the Pacific Ocean – was only discovered in 1513 by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. But it would take a few more years until another PortugueseFerdinand Magellan's voyage of 1519–22 – determined that the Pacific definitely formed a single large body of water separating Asia from the Americas. It would be several more years before the Pacific Coast of North America was mapped, dispelling lingering doubts. Until the discovery of the Bering Straits in the 17th century, there was no absolute confirmation that Asia and North America were not connected, and some European maps of the 16th century still continued to hopefully depict North America connected by a land bridge to Asia (e.g. the 1533 Johannes Schöner globe). [25]

In 1524, the term was used by Giovanni da Verrazzano in a record of his voyage that year along the Atlantic coast of North America, land that is now part of the United States and Canada. [26]

See also

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References

  1. Mundus Novus: Letter to Lorenzo Pietro Di Medici, by Amerigo Vespucci; translation by George Tyler Northrup, Princeton University Press; 1916.
  2. 1 2 M.H.Davidson (1997) Columbus Then and Now, a life re-examined. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, p. 417)
  3. "Real Differences: New World vs Old World Wine". Wine Folly. 21 August 2012.
  4. This preliminary letter from Bezeguiche was not published, but remained in manuscript form. It is reproduced in F.A. de Varnhagen (1865: pp. 78–82).
  5. English translation of Mundus Novus as found in Markham (1894: pp. 42–52)
  6. Varnhagen, Amerígo Vespucci (1865: pp. 13–26) provides side-by-side reproductions of both the 1503 Latin version Mundus Novus, and the 1507 Italian re-translation "El Nuovo Mondo de Lengue Spagnole interpretato in Idioma Ro. Libro Quinto" (from Paesi Nuovamente retrovati). The Latin version of Mundus Novus was reprinted many times (see Varnhagen, 1865: p. 9 for a list of early reprints).
  7. Cadamosto Navigationi, c. 1470, as reprinted in Giovanni Ramusio (1554: p. 106). See also M. Zamora Reading Columbus, (1993: p. 121)
  8. de Madariaga, Salvador (1952). Vida del muy magnífico señor Don Cristóbal Colón (in Spanish) (5th ed.). Mexico: Editorial Hermes. p. 363. "nuevo mundo", [...] designación que Pedro Mártyr será el primero en usar
  9. J.Z. Smith, Relating Religion, Chicago (2004: p. 268)
  10. E.G. Bourne Spain in America, 1450–580 New York: Harper (1904: p. 30)
  11. Peter Martyr, Opus Epistolarum (Letter 130 p. 72)
  12. Peter Martyr, Opus Epistolarum, Letter 133, p. 73
  13. Peter Martyr, Opus Epistolarum (Letter 138, p. 76)
  14. Peter Martyr Opus Epistolarum, Letter 156 p. 88
  15. "if the river mentioned does not proceed from the terrestrial paradise, it comes from an immense tract of land situated in the south, of which no knowledge has been hitherto obtained" (Columbus 1499 letter on the third voyage, as reproduced in R.H. Major, Select Letters of Christopher Columbus, 1870: p. 147)
  16. J.Z. Smith, Relating Religion, Chicago (2004: pp. 266–67)
  17. Columbus 1500 letter to the nurse (in Major, 1870: p. 154)
  18. Columbus's 1500 letter to the nurse(Major, 1870: p. 170)
  19. F.A. Ober Amerigo Vespucci New York: Harper (1907: pp. 239, 244)
  20. S.E. Morison The European Discovery of America, v.2: The southern voyages, 1492–1616.(1974: pp. 265–66).
  21. Missinne, Stefaan (Fall 2013). "A Newly Discovered Early Sixteenth-Century Globe Engraved on an Ostrich Egg: The Earliest Surviving Globe Showing the New World". The Portolan, journal of the Washington Map Society (87): p. 8–24.
  22. For an account of Vespucci at Toro and Burgos, see Navarette Colección de los viages y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde fines del siglo XV(1829: v.iii, pp. 320–23)
  23. C.O. Sauer The Early Spanish Main. Cambridge (1966: pp. 166–67)
  24. Sobecki, Sebastian (2015). "New World Discovery". Oxford Handbooks Online. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.001.0001 (inactive 2019-09-25). Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  25. 1 2 3 4 J.H. Parry, The Discovery of the Sea (1974: p. 227)
  26. Verrazzano, Giovanni da (1524)."The Written Record of the Voyage of 1524 of Giovanni da Verrazzano as recorded in a letter to Francis I, King of France, July 8th, 1524" Archived 2006-09-08 at the Wayback Machine . Citing: Wroth, Lawrence C., ed. (1970). The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1524–1528. Yale, pp. 133–43. Citing: a translation by Susan Tarrow of the Cèllere Codex .