III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > G. The Americas, 1000–1525 > 4. Post-Columbian Discoveries, 1497–1522
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
4. Post-Columbian Discoveries, 1497–1522
1497, May 2–Aug. 6
Voyage of John Cabot. Cabot was a wealthy Italian merchant who settled in England about 1495. He organized an expedition that reached land (June 24) on northern Newfoundland. Cabot was convinced he had discovered the country of the Great Khan. He intended a second voyage but failed.  1
Voyage of Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci in the service of Spain (May 1499–June 1500). They landed in what would be French Guiana, discovered the mouth of the Amazon, and proceeded as far as Cape St. Roque, after which they turned north and west along the coast as far as the Magdalena River.  2
Voyage of Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (Sept. 1499–Dec. 1500). He made a landfall near Cape St. Roque (Jan. 1500) and thence followed the coast northwest. At about the same time, the Spaniard Diego de Lepe explored the Brazilian coast from Cape St. Roque to about 10 degrees S.L.  3
1500, Apr. 21
The Portuguese commander PEDRO CABRAL, sailing to India from the Cape Verde Islands with 13 caravels, landed in BRAZIL. The expedition stayed only ten days, but took official possession of the country, which Cabral named Terra da Vera Cruz.  4
Rodrigo de Bastidas traced the coast from Panama to Port Manzanilla.  5
Second voyage of Amerigo Vespucci (May 1501–Sept. 1502), this time in the service of Portugal. He voyaged south along the Brazilian coast to about 32 degrees S.L. Vespucci published an account of this voyage in which he expressed the conviction that what had been found was a “New World.” On this basis, the German geographer, Martin Waldseemüller, proposed that this New World be called AMERICA (1507). The name was first applied to South America, and the use of it spread slowly until its general adoption.  6
Vicente Pinzón followed the mainland from the Bay of Honduras to beyond the easternmost point of Brazil.  7
Juan Ponce de León, the governor of Puerto Rico, discovered Florida.  8
1513, Sept. 25
Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean.  9
Juan Díaz de Solís, chief pilot of Spain, searching for a strait to the Pacific, explored the coast of South America from the area of Rio de Janeiro to Río de la Plata, where he was slain by the indigenous inhabitants.  10
Francisco Hernández de Córdoba discovered the Yucatán Peninsula.  11
Juan de Grijalva followed the coast north from the Yucatán to the Panuco River.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.