Hard to explain “Age of Exploration” in U.S. History I without mentioning fall of Constantinople.

Second day teaching U.S. History I at Atlantic Cape Community College. Hard to explain ?Age of Exploration? without teaching conquest of Christian Constantinople (now Istanbul) by Muslim Turks in 1453. Constantinople was the capital of Byzantium, the Eastern Roman Empire, for a thousand years. It had the largest church in the world (Sancta Sophia?Holy Wisdom). It was the center for all trade between Europe and China. After eliminating Christian Byzantium, Muslim Turks invaded Austria and Hungry on land and threatened to completely overrun Western Europe. ?At sea, their Muslim allies in North Africa destroyed so many Christian ship, that they boasted that they called the ?Mediterranean Sea a ?Muslim lake? where ?a Christian cannot float a plank”. ?The best and brightest Italian navigators, including Columbus, Vespucci, Verrazano, and Cabot (Caboto) fled to Spain, Portugal, France, and England. There, they explored ways to reach China by sea, and avoid dangerous caravans through Muslim lands. ?The ?official college textbook, ?The Enduring Vision? by Cengage Learning doesn?t mention any of this–not even the word “Constantinople”. ? Students must pay $175 for that book.

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