• The Discovery of the Americas
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  • Discovery in the Americas? - Lesson Plans - Reading A-Z
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Who Was First?: Discovering the Americas (Bank Street College of Education Flora Stieglitz Straus Award (Awards))


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The Vikings Discover America, ca

Some historians argue that Colombus' campaigns had the objective to grant the Portuguese exclusive access to Indian trade. In fact, the Portuguese arrived to the Americas 19 years before Colombus. Some theories point to the Bighton Rock as the first "document" that proves the Portuguese arrived to America before the Spanish. After the official discovery of the Americas by Colombus, the Treaty of Tordesillas was negotiated. Portuguese and Spanish divided the World in half (a meridian in half way between Cabo Verde archipelago and the Antillas) in 1494. Coincidence or not, the Portuguese would claim Brazil in 1500, after an expedition officially sent to India, under the command of Captain Pedro Álvares Cabral. One of the members of the exploration team was Duarte Pacheco Pereira, who was present when the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed. This might mean the Portuguese already knew of Brazil before Colombus arrived to America. That could be a justification for the refusal of João II of Portugal when Colombus presented the project.