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Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

THE most considerable part of the discoveries of man have been owing to chance; that of the New World was solely the fruit of genius and reasoning.

COLUMBUS, from that justness of mina and reasoning which mathematical knowledge gives, calculated very justly, that if our earth was a globe, which he thought beyond a doubt, we knew yet only a part of it, and that in setting out from Europe, and steering always towards the west, he must either meet with new lands or arrive at the eastern coasts of Asia. Struck with this fortunate and equally simple idea, he successively addressed himself to Genoa, his country, to France, England, and Portugal, everywhere soliciting for the means to be able to execute what he had conceived; but everywhere he was repulsed as a madman; so much have old errors the advantage over new truths. Lastly, the perseverance of Columbus, after eight years of solicitation, succeeded with Isabelia of Castile. He set out in 1492, with some small vessels given up to his solicitations, more than confided to his wisdom; and after a navigation of thirty-three days, during which interval the continual mutiny of his crew, who looked upon him as mad, had exposed him to continual danger, he landed at one of the Bahamas, which his personal situation induced him to call St. Salvador; for he must infallibly have perished by the hands of his crew, if he had not at last found land. From this little island, Columbus landed on another, greater and more populous, abounding in gold and productions of all sorts; it was called Haiti; he gave it the name of Hispaniola; it is the same which we now call St. Domingo. The fortunate admiral returned then to Europe. Let us judge, if we can, of his joy, his satisfaction, his glory, when his first word proclaimed to the ancient world, the existence of a new one. It is related that his debarkation was a true delirium, and his route through Spain, a triumph. This is the history of the true discovery of America. The good, honest, and worthy Columbus died in Spain in 1506, after four successive voyages, intermixed with every thing the most bitter that envy, disgust, ingratitude, and injustice can present.






Q. By whom was America discovered?

A. By Christopher Columbus.

Q. Of what country was Columbus a native?

A. Genoa.

Q. Where is Genoa?

A. In Italy.

Q. What led him to suppose that there was another continent to discover?

A. He conceived that another continent must necessarily exist, that the globe might be properly balanced, with a due proportion of land and water.

Q. With what did he suppose this continent was connected?

A. With the East Indies.

Q. By whom was he assisted in the undertaking?

A. Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Spain.

Q. In what year did he discover America?

A. The year 1492.

Q. What land did he first reach?

A: One of the Bahama Islands, named by him St. Salvadore.

Q. Can you tell how this island is situated ?-(See map of the West Indies.)

Q. How many voyages did Columbus make to the new world?


A. Four.

Q. In which of them did he discover the continent?

A. In the third.
Q. Where?

A. "At the mouth of the river Oronoco, in the north part of South America.

Q. What discoveries did he make in his fourth voyage? A. He discovered the harbor of Porto Bello and the Gulf of Darien.

Q. When and by whom was Greenland discovered?
A. In the year 982, by the Norwegians.

Q. Is Greenland a part of the continent?

A. Late discoveries render it probable that it is separated from the continent.

Q. Why was the country called America?

A. It was called America after Amerigo Vespucci, who was sent out the year after Columbus had reached the continent, to explore, still farther, the new regions; his description of them was the first published, and they, in consequence, gradually received his name.

Q. How were the discoveries of Columbus limited?
A. To South America and the West Indies.

Q. Who explored the shores of North America?
A. John Cabot, a native of Bristol, in England.
Q. When did he make his first discovery?

A. In 1496 he explored the coast of Labrador, and in 1497 discovered Newfoundland.

Q. Which is the oldest city in America?

A. Mexico, built by the Spaniards in 1521.

Q. Who first sailed round the world?

A. Sir Francis Drake.

Q. What effect had this enterprise on the English nation?

A. It impressed them with a just sense of their own abilities and courage, as equal to any undertaking.

Q. By whom was the Pacific Ocean first entered? A. Magellan, a native of Portugal, then in the service of Spain, through the straits which bear his name.

Q. Where are the straits of Magellan ?-(See map of South America.) Q. How long after the discovery of America, before any permanent English settlement was made?

A. 115 years.

Q. In what years were the first English settlements attempted?

A. In the years 1583, 1584, and 1585.

Q. Who at this time reigned in England?

A. Elizabeth.

Q. Who were the leading adventurers in forming settlements in America at this time?


A. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and Sir Walter Raleigh. Q. Did they succeed in founding any permanent settlements?

A. No.

Q. What part of the country did Sir Humphrey Gilbert visit in 1583 ?

A. The island of Newfoundland, where he landed, and took possession in the name of his sovereign.

Q. What happened to him on his return to England? ̧ A. He was shipwrecked, and perished.

Q. Did this disaster discourage Sir Walter Raleigh? A. No: the following year, 1584, Raleigh fitted out two small vessels, under the command of Amidas and Barlow.

Q. Where did this party land?

A. They first landed on an island at the entrance of Pamlico sound, then proceeded to the isle of Roanoke, where they began a settlement.

Q. Where is the island of Roanoke? Pamlico sound?-(See map of the United States.)

Q. Did this party continue long in the country?

A. No: being distressed by famine and the hostility of the natives, they soon returned to England.

Q. Did Raleigh make any further attempts to establish a colony?

A. Yes: the next year, 1585, he fitted out seven small vessels, with one hundred and fifty men.

Q. Where did this colony land?

A. On the island of Roanoke, where they were soon reduced to great distress, and they all returned to England with Sir Francis Drake, on his return from the West Indies. Q. Did this end the exertions of Raleigh to plant a colony in America?

A. It did.

Q. What was the result of these successive misfortunes? A. It withdrew, for several years, the attention of the

English from these distant regio Cape Cod discovered?

A. In 1602, by Bartholomew Gosnold, who gave it the name on account of the great quantity of cod-fish which he took near it.

Q. Where is Cape Cod? Which way from Boston?

Q. What effect had the report of Gosnold in England? A. It revived the spirit of adventure.

Q. What discoveries were made in 1603 and 1605? A Penobscot and Massachusetts bays, and the rivers between them.

Massachusetts? What rivers are

Q. What association was formed through the influence of Richard Hakluyt?

A. An association of gentlemen in different parts of England, for the purpose of sending colonies to America.

Q. How was the country lying between 34 and 45 degrees of north latitude divided?

A. Into north and south Virginia.

Q. To what two companies was this granted, by King James, in 1606?

A. The London and Plymouth Companies.

Q. Why was the country called Virginia?

A. It was called Virginia by Queen Elizabeth, as a memorial that it had been discovered during the reign of a virgin queen.

Q. Where is Penobscot bay?

between them?

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