Today we continue the joureny…Monday, we left off chatting about Christopher Columbus. Spain was in the lead for discovering new worlds…and it is 1492!
Five years later, John Cabot of England got in on the fun and landed on what is now Newfoundland (Canada).
A short time later, in 1512, Ponce de Leon of Spain, also found land. Thinking it was just a huge Island, Florida, was soon flagged for Spain as well. A year later, in 1513, Balboa claimed the entire Pacific coast, the Pacific Ocean, and all the lands adjoining it- again, for Spain.
So let’s take a quick review:
Only 10 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue, all of the Caribbean, Central and South Americas, Florida, and now the Pacific Coast belonged to Spain. Pretty amazing. But they didn’t stop there.
Spaniards trekked through Louisianna, the coastal Gulf States, and even marched to the Smoky Mountains. Everything from Florida to California by the 1520s was now claimed for SPAIN.
Where were the British? And the French? If they wanted a piece of the pie, they’d better hurry.
More than just discovery of land, however, was taking place at this time. The “earth is flat” concept (believed to be true by all folks except those who were educated or wealthy) was the order of the day. The other discovery taking place was that of the Scriptures. An internal and Spiritual awakening was happening too. The Epistles and Gospels were published into Spanish at this same time making them accessible to commoners. And the Catholic Church was not happy about it. The every-day man was about to have access to God’s Holy Word in his own native language. The days of the Latin-only Bible, available solely to the church fathers or the wealthy, were coming to an end. A new day was rising in more ways than one.
As the story goes, meanwhile over in Germany, Martin Luther was studying for the priesthood. Apparently, he took an unfamiliar, red leather volume off a library shelf while perusing the tomes one day. As he read, he discovered a story of a woman named Hannah who could not have a baby and was pleading with God for mercy. It was his first look at a Bible. And, yes, it was in Latin. But he was hooked. After absorbing and exploring this new written world he found within the Scriptures, he walked to the Wittenburg church and nailed his complaints with the Catholic Church to its wooden door. The famous 95 Thesis. That day, he protested the current beliefs and rituals of his very own faith. Thus, a historic moment in the birth of what we now call The Protestant Reformation. It was the Rennaissance. A time to explore, discover, and question.
Martin Luther, wanted his fellow Germans to experience what he was learning, so he translated the Bible into their common language. Again, Rome was upset.
The Dutch now had the New Testament in their language too.
Over in England, Tyndale was working on his English translation of the same. (The Pope later sentenced him to death for this act). That didn’t stop the French. They soon followed.
Monasteries and nunneries in Germany were shutting down. People were leaving the Catholic Church in droves. They were not only leaving their faith, they were venturing out from their homelands in search of new worlds as well. A new day had begun.
King Henry of England wasn’t helping matters. Rome had controlled the kings of Europe for about 1,000 years. Henry VIII asked the Pope for an annulment from wife Catherine of Aragon (who was Spanish Catholic) in order to marry Anne Boleyn. However, Clement VII refused. Henry, furious with the response, removed England from Papal Rule and decided to make himself head of the Church in England.
It wasn’t a good time for Rome, and it didn’t get better. One of King Henry’s daughters, Elizabeth, was a mere third in line to the throne. But due to amazing circumstances, she found herself queen at the age of 25. When Elizabeth got the news, her answer was “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.” PS118:23. A Protestant herself, she only strengthened the movement of not only her faith, but the political power of England as well.
In 1558, she led her tiny country to a huge David & Goliath victory over the invincible Spanish Armada, literally crippling their means to continuing their new world exploration. England, had overnight, become the Super Power of the world. Poised and ready to take it’s place on the international stage – and so she did.
Companies were formed and ships sailed with hopes of cultivating and settling the New World that had once been dominated by Spain. These companies landed, settled and claimed the entire East Coast for the English crown. The entire area that would one day be known as The Colonies, was simply called: Virigina, in honor of the virgin Queen.
So here’s the recap:
Spain had been replaced as the world leader. The Catholic Church was in upheaval, and a small island west of Europe had risen to Super-power status. It was a whole new normal to say the least… Stay tuned. We’ll wrap it all up tomorrow.