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world europeans knew in the 15th century
idea of the world in the 15th century
world maps of the 15th century
mediterranean sea in 1492
world´s population in the 15th century
trading routes in the 15th century
trading routes before the discovery of america
castile and aragon in the 15th century
castile in the 15th century
map of the 15th century
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The known world

At the begining of the 15th century, europeans know only a little of our world. His knowledge was limited to europeans territories and the lands that surround the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. Most of this territories were known from antiquity.

Europeans also know the territories India and of West-Asia, and the territories of Japan and China. They have information of this part of the world by medieval travellers and also because there were comercial routes like the silk route and the spices route, but the knowledge of this territories by europeans was very limitated.

The rest of the world was unknown for the Europe inhabitants. They knew very little of the center and of the south of Africa, and the knowledge of the interior of Asia was limitated. America and Oceania were not discovered.

In the year 1450 the world has a population of 450 millions humans on Earth (in all continents).

The idea of the world

The imagination and the religion define the idea of the world in this century. They think that the Earth was round or cubic, with monsters and with Jerusalem in the center. But in a paralel way of the world ideas based in the Bible and of the scientifics treaties, there were Spanish and Portuguese sailors, and also Venetian merchants that expand the horizon of geographical exploration.

external image Kopie+von+Claudius_Ptolemy-_The_Worldgg.jpg
Map of Ptolomey

In this map of Ptolomey there are only three continents: Europe, Africa and Asia. There are only three continents because this map was created in the year 1482, before the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and the expeditions of Magellanand Elcano.

The Mediterranean Sea

The inhabitants of the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea think that they live in the center of the world, as the name of the sea says (Med-iterranean). The people start to interest in art and science. The Renaissance starts. New ideas were spread with the invention of printing.

Western Mediterranean traders start to look beyond the Strait of Gibraltar for routes that without passing Constantinople reach the East, for reaching the spices and the silk. The Mediterranean Sea was a link between three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. In this time there were no nations so city-states dominate the Mediterranean Sea coasts.

Castile and Aragon


With King John II, Castile suffered terribly and because he was a disinteresed king he allowed to Alvaro de Luna dominate his reign. After John 2nd death the nobles struggled for power in the reign of Henry IV, he repudiated Isabella (her sister) as heir to the throne in 1468. The Margrave of Villena tried to control Isabella but he saw that it was very difficult to control her. In 1469, without permission of her brother he married Ferdinand son of John 2nd of Aragon. Henry IV denounced her and tried to exclude her from the sucession, but when he died, she was proclaimed Queen Isabella I .
external image 7.+Final+siglo+XIII+al+XV.+La+Espa%C3%B1a+de+los+cinco+reinos.png
Map of Spain during the XIII century


Ferdinand I prepared the way for the eventual union of Aragon and Castile. Alfonso V opted to pursue ambitions in Italy. After occupying the Kingdom of Naples in 1442 he hoped that he will conquer the rest of Italy and extend his influence in the Eastern Mediterranean. John II inherited the mainland kingdoms and Sicily and his ilegitimate son obtained Naples. John add another kingdom by marrying with the Queen Eleanor of Navarrein 1420. His son Ferdinand II inherited Aragon and Sardinia and his daughter Eleanor, Navarre.

Trading routes

In the 15th century the trading center of the world was the Mediterranean sea, specially Venice and Genoa but also Rome, Florence, Seville, Lisbon, Constantinople, Alexandria and Tunis.

File:Republik Venedig Handelswege01.png
File:Republik Venedig Handelswege01.png

The trades routes of Genoa and Venice

Venice and his neighbours were the most powerful city-states in trading with the Middle East and had the monopoly over spices and silk involving not only spices and silk, also incense, herbs, drugs and opium that made this city-states very rich. were Spicesthe most demanded products in Europe because they can be used for many things like cosmetics, perfumery, but also as food aditives and preservatives.

Genoa were forced by a war with Venice to reduce the activities in the Black Sea.

Since the XI century, as a result of the Crusades, the Europeans demanded several products to which they were had customary of his contact with East. Among them, spices, used to condiment foods, also some plants nof medicinal use. The route to take those products to Europe was well-know like the one of spicies; it left from the Indian Ocean, it arrived at the Persian Gulf and it was transferred there to Alejandria, Antioch and Constantinople, that served to connection between East and the West and through which became important comercial transactions. When in 1453 Constantinople in being able of the Turks fell, the comunication between Europe and Asia was cut and between the European the urgent necessity arose to find other routes towards the commercial wealth of East.

Music of the XIII century

This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends in approximately the early fifteenth century. Establishing the end of the beginning of the new era and the beginnig of the Renaissance is difficult; the usage in this article is the one usually adopted by musicologists.
Instruments used to perform medieval music still exist, though in different forms. The flute was once made of wood rather than silver or other metal, and could be made as a side-blown or end blown instrument. The recorder on the other hand, has more or less retained its past form. The germshorn is simlar to the recorder in having finger holes on its front, through it is really a member of the ocarina family. One of the flute´s predecessors, the pan flute, was popular in the medieval times, and is possibly of Hellenic origin. This instrument´s pipes were made of wood, and were graduated in length to produce different pitches.
Medieval music uses many plucked string instruments, such as lute, mandore, gittern and psaltery. The dulcimers, similar in structure to the psaltery and zither, were originally plucked, but became struck in the 14th century, after the arrival of the new technology that made metal strings possible.
The bowed lyra of the Byzantine Empire was the first recorded European bowed string instrument. The Persian geographer Ibn Khurdadhbih of the 9th century cited the Byzantine lyra, in his lexicographical discussion of instruments as a bowed instrument equivalent to the Arab rabab and typical instrument of the Byzantines along with the urghun, shilyani and the salandj. The hurdy-gurdy was a mechanical violin using a rosined wooden wheel attached to a crank to ´´bow`` its strings. Instruments without sound boxes such as the Jew´s harp were also popular in the time. Early versions of the organ, fiddle, and trombone existed as well.
There were different types of songs: the ars antiqua, the ars nova, the trecento and the geisslerlieder.

Marco Polo´s expeditions

Marco Polo was a Venecian trader and explorer. Thanks for him the europeans know many territories from the East before the 15th century. The peolpe say that he was also the first one to bring to Europe the gunpowder. This were the expeditions and their details:

1st expedition:
Marco Polo made this expedition together with her father Nicholas and her uncle Matthew.They also were prosperous merchants that trade with the East.They start the trip in 1255,and went from Venice and reached China in the year 1266.Then they returned to Italy with a letter of
Kublai Khan destinated to the in Popewhich he want the Pope to send ilustated people to teached in her empire and to explained their type of life.
This was the route they follow:

- Departure from Venice.
- Surrounding Greece to reach Constantinople.
- Crossing the Black Sea and Azov.
- Transit of the Eurasian steppes, crossing the Volga and Caspian Sea around the north to the Aral Sea and the city of Bukhara.
- Cross the mountains and deserts of Central Asia via the Silk Road to reach Beijing.

2nd expedition:
Marco Polo made this expedition with Matthew and Nicholas polo again in the year 1271 with the response of the Pope.This time Nicholas raised his son who later won the favor and confidence of Kublai Khan and made him his counselor.Marco became his messenger of Kublai who later give him some destinations.Some years later Marco has learned the culture and behaviour of the Chinease.
Some years later the embassy of the king of Persia requested a princess to marry him.The Polos went with him and decided to returned to Venice.
This was the route they follow:

- Departure from Venice.
- Landing in Acre.
- Walk through the Fertile Crescent until reaching Tabriz.
- Get to the imperial capital in Beijing
- Go through China to reach Pagan, in Burma.
- Back to Beijing, where he began the return trip.
- March to Yangzhou south.
- Landing on Zaitun.
- Surrounding off the coast of southern China, Indochina, Malaya and Sumatra.
- Cross the Bay of Bengal to Ceylon and follows the coastline of India to the peninsula of Kathiawar.
- Final landing at Hormuz and again back to Tabriz.
- Cross Caucasus and shipped back to Trabzon.
- Landing again in Constantinople and finally returning finally to Venice.

The red line represents Marco Polo´s expeditions
The red line represents Marco Polo´s expeditions