（初めに右欄で英語を１つ選び、続いて選択肢から１つを選んでください。やり直すときは、英語を選び直すことから始めてください。右の［単語帳］を参考にすることもできます。）It took the Portuguese only about fifty years to take control of the spice trade. They established trading colonies in Africa, the Persian Gulf, India and China.
Improvements in technology helped them succeed. One improvement was a new kind of ship. It could sail more easily through ocean storms and winds.
Other inventions like the compass permitted them to sail out of sight of land. The Portuguese also armed their ships with modern cannon. They used these weapons to battle Muslim and East Asian traders.
The other European nations would not permit Portugal to control this trade for long, however. Spain's Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand agreed to provide ships, crew and supplies for an exploration by an Italian seaman, Christopher Columbus.
Columbus thought the shortest way to reach the East was to sail west across the Atlantic Ocean. He was right. But he also was wrong. He believed the world was much smaller than it is. He did not imagine the existence of other lands and another huge ocean area between Europe and East Asia.
Columbus and a crew of eighty-eight men left Spain on August third, fourteen ninety-two, in three ships. On October twelfth, they stood on land again on an island that Columbus named San Salvador.
He explored it, and the nearby islands of what is now known as Cuba and Hispaniola. He believed they were part of the coast of East Asia, which was called the Indies. He called the people he found there Indians.
Columbus left about forty men on the island to build a fort from the wood of one of the ships. He returned to Spain with captured natives, birds, plants and gold. Columbus was considered a national hero when he reached Spain in March, fourteen ninety-three.