by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13
In 1519, Portugal was the first country to circumnavigate the globe. Some parts of the world could, but most were not able to circumnavigate past South America. Some parts of the world had advantages that allowed them to build ships, but other parts of the world were incapable due to the lack of resources. However, there was one person who eventually was able to circumnavigate, Ferdinand Magellan.
Becoming the first to circumnavigate the globe was not something on China’s list. Although the country was powerful and had the resources, they were more focused on protecting their people. The Barbarian invasion threat made China create better protection on its northern boundaries. Improving their protection meant rebuilding and extending the Great Wall. China’s multistoried ships were large, compared to Western ships. What stopped its people from being the first to circumnavigate the globe was the anti-marine policy that was made in the 1500s, making it a crime to build a ship with two masts or bigger, and if disobeyed would lead to death. China created this policy so none of its people could be in danger.
Apart from China, Arab Muslims wanted to be the first to circumnavigate but they faced challenges. Individual Muslims navigated the Indian Ocean for centuries which helped them master the shifting direction of the moon. Navigating the Indian Ocean made them discover that another sea, south of Africa, was linked to the Indian Ocean. The Arabian Peninsula could not produce wood, resin, iron, and textiles which were the essentials to building a ship. Not having these products gave them the defeat they did not want. Arab Muslims, not having the supplies needed, gave Spaniards an advantage. [Read More]