Saturday, December 5, 2009

ITALIAN Explorers

ITALIAN Explorers

'Juan Bautista de Anza'

was born in Fronteras, Sonora (near Arizpe) into a military family on the northern frontier of New Spain. He was the son of Juan Bautista de Anza I. In 1752 he enlisted in the army at the Presidio of Fronteras. He advanced rapidly and was a captain by 1760. He married in 1761. His wife was the daughter of Spanish mine owner Perez de Serrano. They had no children. His military duties mainly consisted of forays against hostile Native Americans such as the Apache during the course of which he explored much of what is now Arizona.

. In 1772 he proposed an expedition to Alta California to the Viceroy of New Spain. This was approved by the King of Spain and on January 8, 1774 with 3 padres, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, 35 mules, 65 cattle, and 140 horses he set forth from Tubac south of present day Tucson, Arizona. The expedition took a southern route along the Rio Altar (Sonora y Sinaloa, New Spain) then paralleled the modern Mexico/California border and crossed the Colorado River at its confluence with the Gila River in the domain of the Yuma tribe with which he established good relations. He reached Mission San Gabriel Arcangel near the California coast on March 22, 1774 and Monterey, California, Alta California's Capital April 19. He returned to Tubac by late May, 1774. This expedition was closely watched by Viceroy and King and on October 2, 1774 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and ordered to lead a group of colonists to Alta California. The Spanish were desirous of reinforcing their presence in Northern California as a buffer against Russian advances from the north, and possibly establish a harbor that would give shelter to Spanish ships. The expedition got under way in October, 1775 and arrived at Mission San Gabriel in January, 1776 the colonists having suffered greatly from the winter weather en route.

He continued on to Monterey, California with the colonists. Having fulfilled his mission from the Viceroy, he continued on with Father Pedro Font and a party of twelve others exploring north and found the first overland route to San Francisco Bay. In de Anza's diary on March 25, 1776, he states that he "arrived at the arroyo of San Joseph Cupertino, which is useful only for travelers. Here we halted for the night, having come eight leagues in seven and a half hours. From this place we have seen at our right the estuary which runs from the port of San Francisco." [1] Pressing on, de Anza located the sites for the Presidio of San Francisco and Mission San Francisco de Asis in present day San Francisco, California on March 28, 1776. He did not establish the settlement; it was established later by José Joaquín Moraga. While returning to Monterey, he located the original sites for Mission Santa Clara de Asis and the town of San José de Guadalupe (modern day San Jose, CA), but again did not establish either settlement.

  • Marco Polo
  • Marco Polo (English pronunciation: /ˈmɑrkoʊ ˈpoʊloʊ/ ( listen); Italian pronunciation: [ˈmarko ˈpɔːlo]) (c. 1254 – January 8, 1324) was a merchant from the Venetian Republic who wrote Il Milione, which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had 3 children. He died in 1324, and was buried in San Lorenzo.

    Il Milione was translated, embellished, copied by hand and adapted; there is no authoritative version. It documents his father's journey to meet the Kublai Khan, who asked them to become ambassadors, and communicate with the pope. This led to Marco's quest, through Acre, into China and to the Mongol court. Marco wrote of his extensive travels throughout Asia on behalf of the Khan, and their eventual return after 15,000 miles (24,140 km) and 24 years of adventures.

    Their pioneering journey inspired Columbus and others. Marco Polo's other legacies include Venice Marco Polo Airport, the Marco Polo sheep, and several books and films. He also had an influence on European cartography, leading to the introduction of the Fra Mauro map.

  • Amerigo Vespucci

  • Amerigo Vespucci was born and brought up by his uncle in the Republic of Florence in what is now Italy. Vespucci was born in Montefioralle, a small village near Greve in Chianti, south of Florence.

    He worked for Lorenzo de' Medici and his son, Giovanni. In 1492 he was sent to work at the agency of Medici bank in Seville, Spain.

    At the invitation of Spain Vespucci participated as observer in several voyages that explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502. In 1500 that King's commander, Pedro Álvares Cabral, on his way to the Cape of Good Hope and India, had discovered Brazil at latitude 16°52'S. Portugal claimed this land by the Treaty of Tordesillas, and the King wished to know whether it was merely an island or part of the continent Spanish explorers had encountered farther north.

    Vespucci, having already been to the Brazilian shoulder, seemed the person best qualified to go as an observer with the new expedition Manuel was sending. Vespucci did not command at the start - the Portuguese captain was probably Gonçalo Coelho - but ultimately took charge at the request of the Portuguese officers. Vespucci, in all probability, voyaged to America at the time noted, but he did not have command and as yet had no practical experience piloting a ship. On the first of these voyages he was aboard the ship that discovered that South America extended much further south than previously thought.

    The expeditions became widely known in Europe after two accounts attributed to Vespucci were published between 1502 and 1504. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the new continent America after Vespucci's first name, Amerigo. In an accompanying book, Waldseemüller published one of the Vespucci accounts, which led to criticism that Vespucci was trying to upset Christopher Columbus' glory. However, the rediscovery in the 18th century of other letters by Vespucci, primarily the Soderini Letter, has led to the view that the early published accounts could be fabrications, not by Vespucci, but by others.

    In 1503 Amerigo sailed in Portuguese service again to Brazil, but this expedition failed to make new discoveries. The fleet broke up, the Portuguese commander's ship disappeared, and Vespucci could proceed only a little past Bahia before returning to Lisbon in 1504. He did not sail again, and as there seemed no more work for him in Portugal he returned to Seville, where he settled permanently

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