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CHAPTER II.

 

A CENTURY OF DISCOVERY.

 

European   Though the people of Europe knew nothing

Traders. of what lay beyond the great ocean to the west, they did know a little about the countries to the east. In those days people were more ready to travel by land than by water. For hundreds of years traders had brought gold, gems, and rich stuffs overland from India. But there were many difficulties and dangers in this long journey, and at last adventurous men began to seek a new way to the countries of the east. A Portuguese seaman sailed along the coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and thus found a way to India by sea.

Christopher Meanwhile, it had occurred to an Italian, Columbus. Christopher Columbus, that India might be reached by sailing due west. But he had neither ships nor money, and several years passed before he could persuade anyone to help him to try his plan. At last, in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain, gave him three small ships and promised to make him governor of any new countries he might discover. His troubles were not at an end, however. As they sailed over the unknown ocean, farther and farther from home, his men became so frightened and angry that they threatened to kill him. At length they reached one of the islands now called the West Indies, and Columbus carried back to Spain six Indians, a little gold. and some strange plants and animals. He was received with great honour, but was afterwards used ungratefully. He made


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