How much do you know about the Age of Exploration?

By: Jaclyn Lavine
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Do you remember what happened in 1492, when Columbus crossed the sea in the Nina, and the Pinta, and the mighty Santa Maria? Your history teacher sure hopes so. Of course, the indigenous people who were already living in the "New World" didn't think their lands were being newly "discovered" by the Europeans. Nevertheless, test your knowledge with this quiz!

In what time period did the Age of Exploration occur?

The Age of Discovery and Exploration began in the early 15th century and lasted through the early 18th century. During this time period, European ships sailed the oceans in search of new land.

What happened in 1492?

In 1492, Spain funded Columbus’ expedition in the hopes that he would break Portugal’s hold on Africa and the Indian Ocean, reaching Asia and the riches they were sure to find there. Unfortunately for Columbus, the plan did not to go as expected and he ended up discovering North America instead.

Which country is responsible for launching the first expedition?

In 1419, Portugal sent Prince Henry the Navigator sailing on the Atlantic in search of land. Prince Henry the Navigator discovered the Madeira Islands in 1419 and the Azores in 1427, which became the first Portuguese colonies, marking the start of the Age of Discovery and Exploration.

What was Christopher Columbus hoping to discover?

Columbus set out on the Atlantic to discover a faster route to Asia. Columbus and his fellow Spanish explorers believed that there were riches to be found in Asia that would make them and their country, wealthy and powerful.

What crucial breakthrough is the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias responsible for?

In 1487, Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Dias proved that it was possible to access the Indian Ocean and therefore, just as possible to reach India.

Which indigenous empire did the Spanish conquistadors come into contact with, then later destroy?

After Columbus discovered America, the Spanish government authorized and funded numerous expeditions into the New World and beyond. The primary purpose of these expeditions was the conquest and colonization of new territories. Spanish conquistadors would soon come into contact with the great Aztec Empire.

What was the Treaty of Tordesillas?

In 1494, two years after Columbus claimed North America for the Spanish, Spain and Portugal entered an agreement. The purpose of the accord was to divide up the New World between the two great empires. The treaty identified areas of the New World that were designated for Spanish exploration and areas of the New World that were designated for Portuguese exploration.

Who was John Cabot?

John Cabot was an Italian, but he became an explorer for England. Cabot set out in search of new lands. SImiliarly to Columbus, Cabot seized land in Canada for Henry VII of England, thinking it was Asia.

Who is America named after?

America would not be called America if it weren't for Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci was the first person to recognize that North and South America were two separate continents, and not, as Columbus had believed, part of Asia.

What were the names of Columbus' ships?

The three ships were the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Actually, the official name of the Nina was the Santa Clara.

Where was Henry the Navigator's navigation school located?

Prince Henry started his school in 1419. The school was built in Sagres, Portugal. The purpose of the school was to train people in navigation and mapmaking.

Why did monarchs fund these explorations?

The main goal of exploration was to find new land and increase wealth in the name of the discover's country. Wealth meant many things, including gold, land and slaves, and all of these were bound with the spread of Christianity.

Who was responsible for conquering the Inca Empire in Peru?

Spanish-born Pizarro discovered the rich Incan Empire in 1524. He returned in 1532 with Spanish troops in order to destroy the Inca Empire.

What exactly brought down the Inca Empire?

Pizarro and his Spanish troops managed to capture Atahualpa, the Inca Emperor. The Incas quickly paid the ransom in hopes of having the emperor returned to them. Unfortunately, Pizarro decided to execute Atahualpa instead, leaving the Incas powerless in the face of Spanish troops making the fall of their empire inevitable.

Who led the first expedition to circle the globe?

The Portuguese Magellan led the first expedition to circle the globe. Unfortunately, he was killed during the journey and did not complete his mission.

What does circumnavigate mean?

To circumnavigate means to travel all around something - particularly the world. The first circumnavigator was thought to be Magellan. However, Magellan died during the trip, so Juan Sebastian Elcano took command and completed the voyage for him.

What is the Northwest Passage?

Many explorers sought a navigable passage that could be used as a trade route to Asia. Starting in 1903, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen traveled the Northwest Passage in its entirety.

What is a caravel?

The caravel was a small, fast ship used during the Age of Exploration by the Portuguese and the Spanish. These ships helped to propel Spain and Portugal to the forefront of Europen power.

What is the Cape of Good Hope?

The Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa. In 1488 the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias rounded the cape, naming it the Cape of Storms.

Which explorer traveled to China?

Marco Polo traveled all the way to China almost two centuries before Christopher Columbus. His travels are recorded in the book, "The Travels of Marco Polo."

Which explorer discovered Australia first?

The Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon discovered Australia in 1606. Dutch navigators were the first to explore and map the Australian coastline.

Which explorer is responsible for the Australian expedition that would lead to settlements?

On April 19th, 1770, the British explorer James Cook sighted the southeastern coast of Australia. He became the first recorded explorer to traverse the eastern coastline of Australia.

What was Australia initially called?

The first recorded European to sight Australia was Dutch. Therefore, it was called New Holland for some time, at least by the Dutch. However, even before the Dutch claimed the continent, it had been referred to as the land of the south. The name Australia comes from the Latin term “Terra Australis” which translates to “land of the south.” The mapmaker and explorer, Matthew Flinders, wrote “Australia” on his map, dropping New Holland altogether.

One of the ships in Christopher Columbus' expedition sank on what holiday?

The Santa Maria ran aground and sank in 1492, on Christmas Eve, near Haiti. It had a deck and three masts, and was twice the size of the Nina and the Pinta. The two smaller ships were caravels.

The Age of Exploration led to which of following?

The Age of Exploration led to the colonization of the New World. Spain, France and Britain were responsible for colonizing North America.

What is mercantilism?

Mercantilism was an economic model used in Europe and the New World from the 16th to the 18th century. In mercantilism, the government was responsible for building its country's wealth. Colonization during the Age of Discovery was an integral part of mercantilism.

What country was responsible for bringing horses to the New World during this era?

Horses were not native to North America. Spanish explorers brought these majestic animals to North America during the Age of Exploration.

Which explorer was the first governor of Puerto Rico?

The Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, was the governor of the first colony in Puerto Rico. Leon remained governor until November 28, 1511, when his rival, Diego Colon, became governor.

Diego Colon was the son of which explorer?

Diego Colon was the son of Christopher Columbus. Spain had given Columbus' heirs many powers and privileges. Colon and Ponce de Leon found themselves in a political battle for Puerto Rico. In the end, however, Colon became governor and Leon set sail for new lands.

Who is credited with the discovery of Florida?

After Puerto Rico, Leon is credited with having discovered Florida. However, he was almost certainly not the first European to reach the peninsula.

What mythic discovery is Ponce de Leon purported to have sought in Florida?

It is said that Ponce de Leon discovered Florida accidentally in 1513. Some say that he was looking for the Fountain of Youth. However, this legend did not become popular until after his death.

What is an encomienda?

Encomiendas were grants by the Spanish government, allowing the holders to use indigenous people as forced labor. Grant holders were known for the harsh treatment of indigenous peoples, forcing them to work the land.

What are missions?

Building and running missionaries was one of the driving forces for exploration and colonization. The Spanish built missions where Catholic priests could work to spread Christianity and convert the native population.

In what century did the Age of Exploration end?

The Age of Exploration ended around the 18th century. By the 18th century, most of North and South America had been colonized. The world had been explored and conquered. The product of the Age of Exploration - colonies and European settlements - would soon lead to the American Revolution and others like it throughout the New World.

What is a conquistador?

The Spanish word "conquistador" means "conqueror." Conquistadors, such as Cortes and Pizarro, were Spanish explorers who conquered huge empires in South America.

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