The Explorer’s Trade
The Portuguese were pioneers not only in oceanic exploration, but also in the tasks of organizing and systematizing the results of exploration. The explorers went out under royal auspices; their masters expected them to record their voyages in detail, step by step, so that others coming after could follow their routes and develop their dis-coveries. From the accumulated experiences of discovery and later seaborne trade were built up the roteiros, books of sailing directions, giving courses and distances from place to place, navigational hazards, and descriptions by which navigators could recognize salient features of a coast. The roteiros, later imitated by Dutch and English compilers, were the ancestors of the pilot-books of modern times. They were treated as secret documents by the Portuguese government—at least in so far as they dealt with eastern seas—and probably many have perished.
KeywordsSixteenth Century Good Passage Quarter Point Half Point Sailing Direction
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List of Works Cited
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