Age of Discovery/Age of Exploration : Explorers and Conquistadors

Age of Discovery/Age of Exploration

Dates covered:1493-1584

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**Note: This is a very long page, so please scroll down to see it all. Timeline covers Videos, Books, and Field Trip suggestions, for various explorers. Activities for multiple explorers at a time are towards the bottom of the page after the timeline. 

***Note 2: Books marked with an asterisk (*) are my favorites 

****Note 3: I have decided to label these books with younger, middle, and older students, to help differentiate which children I think these would be best for, with younger being approximately 8 and under (read-aloud), middle being roughly 8-12 (read-aloud), and 12 and up being older (reader).  Numbers would be too confusing.  I hate to label them because I know children can be very different, but I was just trying to make things easier for those wanting to find something that fits their students.  I have tried to include a title with a link, a short description, level (meaning the AR-assigned reading level or which grade level the book is labeled for reading purposes) (if I can’t find the AR level, sometimes I use the Lexile, which is another complicated system for determining reading level, sometimes there wasn’t information on reading level at all), location in the US the book hits upon, and recommended age range.  

*****Note 4: You will notice I have included some old books that are out of print.  I have included them because often they contain good, valuable information in an easier-to-read format, without a lot of the gratuitous violence or behavior that is prevalent in newer books. Some of these books can be found in your library, but I have found the Open Library website to be very useful because many of them can be read for free online.  Checkout is for one-hour periods, but since these are older books, you can almost always get the books you want right away and check them out multiple times over multiple days.  

American History Easy Make and Learn Books:

Multiple Explorers

Books 

  • Early Explorers of Texas In this book, readers take a look at Texas and the original explorers who first set eyes on this vast land hundreds of years ago. Featured adventurers include la Salle, Coronado, de Soto, and Cortés. Biographical sidebars give readers a more detailed understanding of Texas’s most important explorers. Level 5.0. Middle students.
  • Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620 a Betsy Maestro book, a longer picture book. Christopher Columbus was not the first to discover the Americas, but his voyages led to European exploration of the New World. Rich in resources and natural beauty, the Americas were irresistible to gold-hungry conquistadors. Looks at many of the different explorers and conquistadores of the early Americas. Middle students.
  • Native Americans in Texas Journeying back to a time before Europeans set foot in North America, readers meet the colorful Native American groups that once called Texas home. The tribes addressed include the Caddo, Hasinai, Karankawa, Apache, and the Comanche. Readers also learn how these Native Americans influenced European settlers—an effect that can still be seen today. Middle students. Level 4.9.
  • What Was the Age of Exploration? A look at many explorers and the places they discovered. Lexile 910. Middle students. 

Field Trips 

Timeline: Videos, Books, Field Trips

1494

Treaty of Tordesillas

Videos 

Field Trips

1497

Amerigo Vespucci – Brazil, First to Demonstrate He Reached a New World

Videos

Books

John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) – Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada

Videos

Books

Field Trips

1502

Vasco da Gama – Sea Route to India

Videos

Books

  • Mouse Overboard! Geronimo Stilton, mouse explorer, and friends set out to retrace the voyage of the famed explorer, Vasco da Gama. Level 4.5 Indian Ocean. Middle or younger students. 
  • Vasco da Gama, nonfiction, level 4.6 Indian Ocean. Younger student. 
  • *Vasco da Gama nonfiction, level 4.0. Indian Ocean. Younger or middle students. 

Field Trips

1513

Juan Ponce de León – Florida

Videos 

Books

Field Trips

Vasco Núñez de Balboa – Found Pacific Ocean by Land

Videos

Books

1519

Hernán Cortés (AKA Hernando Cortez) lands in Mexico

Videos

Books

Field Trips

1520

Books

1521

Books

The Fall of the Aztec Empire

1524

Giovanni da Verrazzano – New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay

Videos 

Books 

1527

Pánfilo de Narváez – Florida / Tampa Bay

Videos 

  • Who Was Pánfilo de Narváez? (references eating their horses) (this is the expedition from which Cabeza de Vaca, from the book Walk the World’s Rim, is known, this video has several harsh moments). 

1528

 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca – (See Walk the World’s Rim) – Texas, Arizona, New Mexico

Videos 

Books

  • Cabeza de Vaca: Conquistador Who Cared, nonfiction, Middle students.
  • *Cabeza de Vaca: Defender of the Indians, historical fiction, read-aloud style biography. Middle to older students. 
  • The Journey of  Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: Translated From His Own Narrative a primary source book, with other primary sources in the back, this is a great text for older students.  Is an older book, so uses older language but is easy to read.
  • On the Texas Trail of Cabeza de Vaca 1527 the conquistador Cabeza de Vaca set sail for the Spanish territory of La Florida. He aimed to colonize land that stretched from present-day Florida to Texas, but the mission met with disaster. During an attempt to sail back to Cuba, Cabeza de Vaca and his crew crashed near Galveston Island. From there, he embarked on one of history’s great adventures. Level 7.1  Older students. 
  • *We Asked for Nothing In 1528, the conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca escaped a hostile reception in Florida only to be shipwrecked off the coast of Texas. For the next eight years, he lived among the native tribes of the Southwest while he journeyed toward the safety of the Spanish settlements in Mexico. He and three companions survived starvation, sickness, and slavery thanks to the generosity of native peoples along the way. Lexile 1020. Middle to Older Students. 
  • Walk the World’s Rim and although it doesn’t tie in, also see The Corn Grows Ripe

1532

Francisco Pizarro (Francisco Pizarro González) – Panama, Peru

Videos 

Books 

Field Trips 

1534

Jacques Cartier – Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Canada, Gulf of St. Lawrence

Videos 

Books 

Field Trips

1539

Hernando De Soto – South Carolina, Mississippi River

Videos 

Books 

Field Trips

1540

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado – Colorado River,  Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Kansas

Videos 

Books 

Field Trips

1565

Fort Augustine (the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States)

Videos 

Books 

Field Trips

1570 

Iroquois League Formed (Also See: Peacemaker)

Videos 

Field Trips

1577

Sir Francis Drake – Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego, First to Cross Tip of South America and Reach the Pacific Ocean

Videos 

Books 

Field Trips

1582

Gregorian Calendar Invented and Changed Historical Dates

Videos 

Books

  • *About the History of the Calendar, old book about time, calendars, and how and why the latest version of the calendar is better for the world, according to the book.  Younger or middle students. 
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Clocks and Calendars! More modern book, part of the You Wouldn’t Want to series, so sometimes a bit graphic, refers to “more than 30,000 years ago.” Lots of good info, but it doesn’t really talk about why the switch to the Gregorian Calendar happened. Middle students. 

1583

Sir Walter Ralegh/Raleigh – Virginia, Roanoke, North Carolina

Videos 

Books 

Arts and Crafts: 

Coloring Pages/Drawing: 

Lapbooks/Notebooking Pages/Unit Studies/Activity Pages/Paper Dolls/Games: 

Recipes: 

 

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