36 Days. 864 Hours. 51,840 Minutes.
Alright. The Maritime Empires. Maritime means Ocean-time. So, Maritime Empires refers to the Empires that grew via overseas exploration. Let’s look at the early one’s first…
Look at Portugal. It’s shore is the end of the earth (according to Europeans prior to this point). It’s also the furthest from the major trade routes. Luckily, they did have the legacy of al-Andalus (the Cordoba Caliphate). Otherwise, it was (insert whichever state your state looks down on; for me, that’s West Virginia).
Luckily, the father of all Early Modern Navigators was born SECOND. His brother was first in line and had plenty of kids. So, Henry (Prince Henry the Navigator) devoted his life to navigation. His school is specifically mentioned by the AP World curriculum as the starting point for Western navigation. From there, he explored down the coast of Africa. After him, many other explorers took what they learned here and went to India and even all the way around the world!
Here is my page devoted to the Portuguese Empire. It has maps, videos, and my notes on this empire.
The Spanish took what the Portuguese started and greatly expanded it. The difference? Columbus. An Italian sailing for Spain who found (although he never admitted to it) the New World. This was the game changer. This was the event that made this era, this era. No one is more synonymous with exploration and conquering that the Spanish.
Here’s a whole page devoted to the Spanish Empire.
Tomorrow, the new kids on the block. Those who built on what the Spanish and Portuguese started. Not only do they succeed, they prosper as much or more so than their predecessors.