Maritime exploration | history | Albany State University

Spain and England were the first two countries to have explorers circumnavigate the globe.  Spain accomplished the first voyage around the world under the leadership of Ferdinand Magellan in 1522.  The English voyage, led by Sir Francis Drake, was completed in 1580 (Drake’s expedition was actually the third to circumnavigate the earth as another Spanish crew had completed the journey in the interim).  This essay assignment provides you with the opportunity to read about and study firsthand accounts of these incredible voyages in an effort to understand the great changes taking place during this period of history. 

Task:

To complete this essay assignment, first read the two accounts of these voyages, included below.  They are Ferdinand Magellan’s Voyage Round the World, 1519-1522 and Sir Francis Drake’s Famous Voyage Round The World, 1580.  As you read, take notes on the information and details presented to help you when you compose the essay.

After reading both accounts, write an essay comparing and contrasting the experiences of these two explorers and their crews.  Numerous possible topics could be discussed: the challenges they faced on the voyages and how they were overcome, the plants and animals they discovered, the people they encountered and the interactions with them, the role of Christianity in the expeditions, the areas of the world in which they traveled, and many other possible topics.  Focus on discussing features of the voyages that you considered to be most significant for the expedition.  As you present different topics for comparison, be sure to include the perspective of both the Spanish and English crews. 

Expectations and Criteria for Success:

You should base your discussion with the information in the Unit 3 course content module as well as the two sources linked above, but outside research is allowed if needed.  Outside research should be supplemental to the two primary sources attached to this essay.  DO NOT use Wikipedia as a source.  As always, be sure to keep track of where you find your information so that you can provide citations in your final essay.  Essays should be typed in 12-point font with a simple, clean font such as Times New Roman. Use 1″ inch margins on all sides and double-space the text. Your essays should each be around 1000 words.

Successful essays should be carefully organized, with strong thesis statements and specific evidentiary support.  In your introduction, introduce both of the empires that you will be discussing and lay out the topic for the essay.  The body of the essay will include the comparison and the contrast of the empires.  Conclude by discussing which of the two empires you think was more effectively established or had a stronger foundation, including the reasons why you reached this conclusion.  Be sure to revise and edit carefully. Click here to review the General Essay Guidelines included in your syllabus. 

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