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Ascent Document Study Guide Assignment One

by: Sophia Shore

Ascent Document Study Guide Assignment One HIST 031

Marketplace > University of Pennsylvania > History > HIST 031 > Ascent Document Study Guide Assignment One
Sophia Shore
GPA 3.65

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Study guide for document assignment Ascent of Europe.
The Ascent of Europe
Benjamin Nathans, Thomas Max Safley
Study Guide
history, Renaissance, europe
50 ?




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This 1 page Study Guide was uploaded by Sophia Shore on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to HIST 031 at University of Pennsylvania taught by Benjamin Nathans, Thomas Max Safley in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 33 views. For similar materials see The Ascent of Europe in History at University of Pennsylvania.


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Date Created: 02/16/16
Sophie Shore  Ascent of Europe Assignment 3 This piece is a letter written by Amerigo Vespucci, a noted Italian explorer, to  Pier Soderini, Gonfalonier of Florence, in 1497 as an account of his first voyage. The  initially groveling letter was written at the request of fellow Florentine Benvenuto  Benvenuti, insofar that this friend of his wished an account of his four journeys on behalf  of the Portuguese royalty. Soderini seems to be a friend of Vespucci’s, though the latter,  referring to the former as “your Magnificence,” seems to hold him in incredibly high  regard. They appear to have been educated together by Vespucci’s uncle, Friar Antonio  of the Monastery of San Marco in Florence. He tells of his vacillating fortune as a  merchant in Spain, and that he took up exploring as a way toward a more noble  profession. As for his journeys, he traveled from Cadiz to an island “westward, where the North Star was at 16 degrees from the horizon,” or . One of the more interesting aspects  of this letter is his description of the “naked race” natives. He describes them as overly  aloof and therefore dangerous, and makes a point to note their aversion to hair. Every  account Vespucci gives notes the natives as otherworldly; this is especially clear when he later visits their village and describes their traditions as “barbarous dances.” However,  Vespucci clearly appreciates (if not expects) the esteem bestowed upon him by the  natives, as if he is aware of what he perceives as his own superiority. Overall, however,  he seems to hold the island in great esteem, as if it itself is the most pleasant of new  worlds. The birds, foods, and surprising orderliness leaves him bethldered, as does a  second settlement of 400 men that is discovered during the 13  month of the journey.  This does not prove to be a fruitful encounter, as a war was waged that injured many  explorers but killed and enslaved many natives, destroying their village in the process.  This piece is what could be considered a stereotypical encounter between natives and  explorers, proving to have led to great discovery for the latter but devastation for the  former. Although an explorer wrote this account to great praise of his journey, a native  account of the events would have been much different. 


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