Today we pick up where we left off in regards to Christopher Columbus. Spain is in the lead 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, also found land. Thinking it to be merely a huge Island, Florida, was soon called for Spain as well. A year later, in 1513, Balboa claimed the Pacific coast, the Pacific Ocean, and all the lands adjoining it- for Spain.
So let’s take a quick recap:
Only 10 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue, all of the Caribbean, Central and South America, Florida, and now the Pacific Coast belonged to Spain. Pretty amazing. But they didn’t stop there.
Treks through Louisianna, the coastal Gulf States, and marches even to the Smoky Mountains were in full swing. 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 external discovery, however, was taking place at this time. For those of you that recall the “earth is flat” concept (accepted by all except those who were educated or wealthy) discovery of the Scriptures were suddenly taking place. An internal and Spiritual discovery was being birthed. The Epistles and Gospels were published into Spanish at this same time. The Catholic Church was vehemently against this. The common man was about to receive God’s Holy Word in their base languages. The days of the Latin-only Bible, available solely to the church fathers or the wealthy, were about to come to an end. A new day was rising in more ways than one.
As the story goes, over in Germany at this time, Martin Luther, a man studying for the priesthood, took an unfamiliar, red leather volume off a library shelf. As he read, he discovered a story of a woman named Hannah who could not have a baby and she was pleading with God. It was his first look at a Bible. And, yes, it was in Latin. But he was hooked. After absorbing and exploring this new world he found within the Scriptures, he walked to the Wittenburg church and nailed his complaints with the Catholic Church to the 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 countrymen to come to know what he was learning, so he translated the Bible into the German language. Again, Rome was not happy.
The Dutch now had the New Testament in their language. And 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. Though Rome had successfully controlled the kings of Europe now for about 1,000 years, Henry VIII was asking for an annulment from Catherine of Aragon (who was Spanish Catholic) in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Pope Clement VII refused. Henry, furious with the response, removed England from Papal Rule and placed himself as head of the Church in England.
It wasn’t a good time for Rome, and it didn’t get better. One of 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 that of England.
In 1558, she led her tiny country to a dramatic victory over the invincible Spanish Armada, literally crippling their means to continuing exploration. England, had overnight, become the Super Power of the world. Poised and ready to take it’s place on the international stage – it did.
Companies were formed and ships sailed with hopes of cultivating and settling the New World that had once been dominated by Spain’s ventures. Claiming the entire East Coast for the English crown, the area that would one day be known as The Colonies, was simply called: Virigina, in honor of the virgin Queen.
Spain had been replaced as the world leader. The Catholic Church was in upheaval, and a small island west of Europe had risen to illusive power. Stay tuned.