Vasco de Gama, Columbus, and the Age of Exploration: The Race to India with Ian Sumpter

Vasco de Gama, Columbus, and the Age of Exploration: The Race to India with Ian Sumpter


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Portuguese forces captured the Port of Ceuta in 1415, creating their first overseas colony. What followed was a fervor of European exploration. In this seminar, we will concentrate on Spain and Portugal's race to find a sea-route to India, an epic period of history filled with stories of spies, double-crosses, political intrigue, and incredible human endeavor.

On Friday, 26th July 1415 Europe was left stunned as the greatest fleet and perhaps the largest ever army assembled by a Portuguese king sailed out of the Rio Tejo and promptly turned South. Amazingly nobody but a few high commanders has any idea where they were heading. On the 21st of August they reached their destination, Ceuta, such was the surprise of their attack that the Portuguese lost only eight men in the capture of the vital port. Portugal now had its first overseas territory and the ‘Age of Exploration’ had officially begun.



What ensued was an all-out race to discover a sea-route to India and direct access to the valuable spice trade. Portugal and Spain would vie for dominance, led by preeminent navigators such as Prince Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, and Juan de la Cosa among a host of others.

Led by an expert on Portuguese history and archaeology, Ian Sumpter, this interactive seminar will explore the Iberian race to India by sea. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the political, social, and economic motivations for the renewed voyages, and of the events of the first hundred years of the ‘Age of Exploration’.

Born in Liverpool in the North of England, Ian was raised around the historic docks of the city where a love of Maritime history was born. He went on to study Archaeological sciences with the aim of specialising in Marine archaeology. His four years of the study saw him divert from his original aim and concentrate Urbanisation in the Ancient world. Working as an archaeologist for a number of years across Italy, the UK and South Asia, Ian has spent 13 years working in total working as a tour guide in Rome before the lure of the sea and sunshine brought him to Lisbon where he continues to research the urban landscape and the city’s vital relationship with the sea.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
100%
(6)
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(0)
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(0)
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D
D.
The Race to India Comes Alive

I've done quite a few Context seminars and this was one of my favorites. Ian Sumpter brought the story of the race to India in a way my history classes never did.

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

M
M.h.
PORTUGUESE EXLORE

Excellent as always. Have been interested in early exploration especially with Portuguese being such important contributors.

A
A.

I really liked the introduction to the era, what was going on in Europe that helped drive the explorers.

N
N.S.
Virtual Journey Following Early Explorers

Thought this sounded interesting but wow! Knew names of de Gama, Henry the Navigator..but what exactly did they do? Well Ian told us exactly what each did. What and where was the line created splitting up the world between Spain and Portugal...and why the line later shifted to include Brazil...very detailed explanation given by Ian. Best of all- Ian showed us on a map how the explorers sailed and where they went, sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. And explained the oceans currents and how they affected the routes taken by explorers. And I learned that not all maps were oriented towards the north in the early days...for this and more you’ll have to take the course!

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
100%
(6)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
D
D.
The Race to India Comes Alive

I've done quite a few Context seminars and this was one of my favorites. Ian Sumpter brought the story of the race to India in a way my history classes never did.

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

M
M.h.
PORTUGUESE EXLORE

Excellent as always. Have been interested in early exploration especially with Portuguese being such important contributors.

A
A.

I really liked the introduction to the era, what was going on in Europe that helped drive the explorers.

N
N.S.
Virtual Journey Following Early Explorers

Thought this sounded interesting but wow! Knew names of de Gama, Henry the Navigator..but what exactly did they do? Well Ian told us exactly what each did. What and where was the line created splitting up the world between Spain and Portugal...and why the line later shifted to include Brazil...very detailed explanation given by Ian. Best of all- Ian showed us on a map how the explorers sailed and where they went, sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. And explained the oceans currents and how they affected the routes taken by explorers. And I learned that not all maps were oriented towards the north in the early days...for this and more you’ll have to take the course!