Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

The Victoria

With their East African and Indian positions established the Portuguese continue to the east, past India reaching Sumatra, Borneo, the Celebes, Java and then the Spice Islands (Moluccas). It is 1511 in our voyage of discovery.

However, the Spanish are not idle. Following the discovery of America by Columbus, they are pushing their explorations westward at the same time.

Enter Magellan, who presents his plan to the Spanish King Charles V of a westerly trip to reach Asia and the Spice Islands (a voyage previously rejected by the Portuguese King). It is accepted and he sets off with five ships in 1519. This trip results in the first circumnavigation of the globe (albeit at the cost of three of the ships, Magellan himself and the majority of his crew).

Magellan’s expedition reaches the vicinity of the Spice Islands (with well established Portuguese trade and trading establishments) and commences a dispute over their respective “spheres of influence”. Some years prior Pope Alexander VI.  had arbitrated an agreement between each party generously bestowing one-half of the undiscovered world upon the Spanish, and the other half upon the Portuguese (Treaty of Tordesillas). As luck would have it however, the claims overlap at the valuable Spice Islands.

This come to a head when the surviving ships of Magellan’s fleet reach the Moluccas in 1521. The Spanish claim that these islands are within its own hemisphere. The Portuguese disagree.  Inevitable conflict begins between the two.

Nova GuineaThen in 1527, Fernand Cortez, the conqueror of Mexico, sends an armed fleet from New Spain led by Alvaro de Saavedra. On leaving the Spice Islands, well laden with goods, he runs many leagues along the Northern Coast of New Guinea.

Around the same time, Jorge de Menezes from Portugal pulls his ship to the shore of New Guinea to wait out a fierce storm. He names where he stops Ilhas dos Papuas .

By 1530 both Spain and Portugal  were as close as Papua New Guinea…and the British and Dutch were still yet to come…


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