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Saturday, February 03, 2007

U.S. History, Christianity, and Politics Part 1

This is a new series that will reflect on the rich history of the United States and the part Christianity, politics, corruption, racism, and persecution has played before and after this great nation began. It is important that we remind ourselves of the factual history of the United States and the important role Christianity has in this country today as well as to remember the hardships endured by the people of the past. Some of the actions of "Christians" have not been Christian like at all, and by reviewing history, we hope that mistakes are not repeated again. We will first cover the history leading up to the founding of the United States of America.

1500-1763 The Colonial Period

The Age of Exploration

Excited by the gold Columbus has brought back from America, Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian member of a Portuguese expedition to South America whose widely reprinted report suggested a new world had been found. Ferdinand and Isabella, joint monarchs of Spain, sought formal confirmation of their ownership of these new lands. They feared the interference of Portugal, which was at that time a powerful seafaring nation and had been active in oversees exploration. At Spain's urging the pope drew a "Line of Demarcation" 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Island dividing the heathen world into two equal parts--the east of the line for Portugal and the west of it for Spain.

Because the line tended to be unduly favorable to Spain, and because Portugal has the stronger navy, the two countries worked out the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), by which the line was moved farther west. As a result, Brazil eventually became a Portuguese colony, and Spain maintained claims to the rest of the Americas. As other European nations joined the hunt for colonies, they tended to ignore the Treaty of Tordesillas.

CREDIT: "Our Great Nation" Resources for Teachers, 2002.


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