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Cabot, discovering probably Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador, believed that he had touched that land of the Seven Cities, leading to the mysterious East. In 1498 he again sailed for the land of gold and spice, but found only icy winds and inhospitable shores. The vines of Wineland tradition were no more illusory than the spice and gold, and in Henry VII he had but a niggardly master to reward his enterprise. A Privy Purse entry records the payment for his first discovery: “To him that discovered the New Isle-£10." Portugal had sought for her African possessions the sanction of successive popes. Spain likewise sought to secure the discoveries of Columbus and his successors by sanction of a bull issued by Alexander VI in 1493. Thus the northern seafaring nations, England, France, and Holland, excluded from any share in the riches of the New World, had either to fight for one, or in amends to discover new routes to wealthy Asia : the Northeast Passage by the White Sea, or the North-west Passage through the North American archipelago. Both these passages, though practicable, were quite useless on account of the ice, but the attempts to make them led to exploration of the Arctic seas and of Russia from the north, the Baltic entrance to that country being closed to English seamen by the great trading federation of towns known as the Hanseatic League. The most famous attempt to make the North-east Passage was the voyage of Chancellor and Willoughby by Muscovy to China which started from London in 1553. Two ships, the Good Confidence and Willoughby's ship the Good Hope, were separated by storms from Chancellor's Bonaventure, which was the largest, though of only 160 tons. Neither was seen again. They drove about the Arctic seas, and the frozen bodies of the
crews were found by the Russians of Perm. Chancellor sailed north until he found “ no night at all, but a continual light and brightness of the sun, shining clearly upon the huge and mighty sea.” Making land, he found he had reached Muscovy, or Russia, a rediscovery for Englishmen, and visited the Court of Ivan the Terrible at Moscow, starting an intercourse which led to the sending of the first Russian ambassador to England.
Frobisher, Hudson, and Baffin, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, strove to make the North-west Passage, and in so doing explored the north-east coast of America. In 1610 Hudson entered Hudson's Bay by Hudson's Strait. The expedition met with great hardships, and finally the leader was seized with eight loyal members of his crew and turned adrift. He must have died in the bay thạt bears his name.
And meanwhile Englishmen Drake, Hawkins, Grenville, Raleigh, and many another—were penetrating everywhere east and west to those new lands which the Spaniards and Portuguese strove vainly to keep as their own monopoly, and were experiencing again the hopes and fears, the successes and the failures, which had attended their first discovery.
The Elizabethan period was the Golden Age of English exploration. The west-country adventurers of the sixteenth century gave place to the buccaneer, searovers of mixed race and of a lower stamp, who warred against Spain in Western waters, and laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Pacific.
Such a one was William Dampier, who, waiting off the west coast of America with a fellow-rover named Swan for the Spanish treasure fleet, and growing tired of inaction, sailed 6000 miles across the Pacific and reached the Ladrones with but three days' provisions in hand, and when the crew had begun to talk of eating
the lusty and fleshy ” Swan. From the Ladrones they went to the Philippines, where a mutiny took place and Swan was left behind. The rest sailed toward Cape Comorin, and on 4th January, 1688, fell in with New Holland or Australia, already known to the Dutch but not occupied. Dampier afterward returned to settled life, wrote an account of his voyages, and was commissioned by the Admiralty to carry out explorations in the Pacific. In the course of these he examined a good deal of the coast of Australia and New Guinea, discovered and named Dampier's Passage, and marooned on Juan Fernandez Alexander Selkirk, the original of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. On his last expedition, in which he acted as pilot, he rescued Selkirk after four years and four months of utter solitude, and having reached only the Peruvian coast came back with Spanish plunder valued at £200,000.
The age of the buccaneers passed. Our greatest Pacific explorer, Captain Cook, was first sent out by the Government, at the request of the Royal Society, to observe the transit of Venus over the sun's disk, an astronomical event visible in 1769 at Tahiti.
There were no more continents to discover, but for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was reserved the exploration of the interior of Africa and of the Polar regions. The main features of the earth are now known. Men will sail out no more in search of El Dorado or the land of the Seven Cities. But if geographical knowledge cannot widen its bounds much more, it can go deeper indefinitely. Every discovery in the past has meant not less to find out, but more, and every gain of knowledge in the future may open a field of discovery once undreamt of.
MAN AND HIS ENVIRONMENT
HERE are reasons, which will exist as long as the earth itself, why the daily life of man must
be different in different zones of its surface. Upon some the rays of the sun fall more directly than upon others, causing differences of temperature and pressure which set the winds blowing in different directions.
Again, the earth's axis is inclined at a constant angle to the plane in which it moves round the sun, and this fact causes the duration of daylight to vary at different times of the year over the greater part of the earth's surface, and brings about the seasons.
The amount of heat in the sun's rays, the nature of the prevailing winds, and the number of hours out of the twenty-four that the earth is receiving heat and light from the sun are main factors of climate, and upon climate depends vegetation, and upon vegetation the life of animals and man.
An almost vertical sun within the tropics causes great heat and evaporation, constant rising of moisture-laden air into cooler regions of the atmosphere, and consequently perpetual rain. The combination of heat and moisture produces a vegetation of jungle and forest, growing with such terrific vigour that animal life is at a disadvantage, and man must struggle to prevent it from perpetually encroaching on any foothold he has won. The opposite conditions in polar regions make them deserts, frozen almost all the year round.
If in any part of the earth's surface the prevailing wind has been drained of its moisture, or is naturally dry because it is blowing toward the Equator, and therefore from cooler regions to warmer, it will not only deposit no moisture, but actually remove' moisture from the soil. It will blow over deserts. If, on the other hand, it has picked up moisture in crossing an ocean, or if it is naturally wet, it will blow over lands it has made fertile.
The inclination of the earth's axis does not prevent day and night within the tropics from being each twelve hours long ; at the poles it causes a six months' day to be followed by a six months' night.
Between the extremes of heat and cold, desert and jungle, no variation in the length of day and night and great variation, there are all the intermediate stages; but similar conditions prevail over sufficiently large areas of the earth's surface for us to recognize the following belts of vegetation :
A tropical forest belt on either side of the Equator, due to great heat and moisture; a temperate forest belt in each hemisphere, due to mild climate and wet prevailing winds; between the equatorial forest belt and the temperate forest belts north and south of it, two hot belts marked by great desert areas caused by dry prevailing winds; at each pole a frozen desert; belts of grassland, which are the links by which both hot and cold deserts merge into forest.
Vegetation, then, from Equator to poles forms the following sequence : tropical forest, tropical grassland, hot desert, temperate grassland, temperate forest and grassland, frozen desert.
In each of these environments man began social life in communities which maintained a hand-to-mouth