1Lectures 14, 15, and 16Horticulture of Pre-Columbian AmericaThe European encounter with the Americas (“discovery” is presumptuous and Eurocentric)—inspired by a shorter trade route to the spice-rich “Far East”—was probably the greatest event of the “Middle Ages.” It marks a convenient beginning to Modern Times. The New World became the West Indies and the misnomer, a result of ignorance, is carried over to the present to refer to the islands of the Caribbean Sea.In anticipation of the riches promised by Columbus, Pope Alexander VI had divided the Americas between Portugal and Spain. The line of demarcation, 1494, had been 1090 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. At the treaty of Tordesilla, January 24, 1506, the line was moved to 370 leagues west of this point, a miscalculation that gave Portugal rights to India and the Far East alone, but provided a toehold in Brazil,
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