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16th century

  • Amerigo Vespucci was a pioneering navigator and popular chronicler, as well as the man who gave the American continent its name. He explored a long stretch of the South American coastline, and was the first person to realize that this part of the world was not an unknown region of Asia, but a completely separate continent. In particular, he discovered...
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  • In 1492, three ships captained by the Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World. Although the Viking explorer Leif Eriksson had first discovered the Americas almost 500 years earlier, Columbus and his men were the first to establish sustained contact with the continent's indigenous populations. While his expedition brought immense wealth to the Spanish Crown and made it...
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  • The work of Nicolaus Copernicus marked a major turning point in the history of astronomy. It was previously believed that the Earth was stationary in the middle of a finite universe, as described in the works of Aristotle and Ptolemy, but this all changed with the heliocentric model put forward by Copernicus. According to this new theory, the sun was...
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  • The conquistador Francisco Pizarro was one of the most important figures of Spanish colonization. His subjugation of the Inca Empire allowed him to seize power in the capital, Cuzco, and establish a number of new towns on behalf of the Spanish Crown, bringing a huge amount of wealth to Spain and helping it to become one of the most powerful countries...
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  • John Calvin was a French preacher who was one of the major figures of the Reformation that swept across 16th-century Europe. Known in particular for setting up the Reformed Church and restructuring the educational system in Geneva, Calvin dedicated his life to establishing a way of living in accordance with the Scriptures. In just 50 minutes, you will find out...
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  • Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese navigator and explorer who is known for completing the first circumnavigation of the earth. His voyage is particularly interesting because of the discoveries that were made along the way: he discovered a previously unknown strait while sailing past America and proved once and for all that the world is not flat. In just 50 minutes,...
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  • Miguel de Cervantes was a key figure of the Spanish Golden Age, a time of exceptional productivity and creativity in the fields of art and literature, and is arguably the greatest Spanish-language writer who ever lived. His literary output comprises novels, novellas, plays and poetry, and he is often described as the father of the modern novel. In just 50...
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  • The Battle of Lepanto was a struggle for control of the Mediterranean between the Holy League, bringing together the Papal States, Spain and the Republic of Venice, and the mighty Ottoman Empire. This 1571 conflict remains one of the largest naval battles of all time, and was a decisive moment in European history. The unexpected victory of the Holy League put an end to...
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