Top 10 Harsh Realities of Life During the Age of Discovery


Looking for adventure? Go to sea and discover exotic lands — unlimited
riches are awaiting in the new world! Such declarations provided the allure for
sailors during the Age of Discovery (also known as the Age of Exploration), an era from
the early 15th century lasting through the 17th century in which European ships set sail
around the globe in search of treasure, new trading routes, and territorial conquest. Portuguese navigators are credited with kickstarting
this global expansion with voyages to the Orient and Africa, and later the Americas
with other European nations. Ultimately, sailors often left home never
to return again — all the while risking a horrible death and taking part in the slaughtering
and enslaving of indigenous people along the way. Sign up today! 10. Stormy Weather Anyone prone to motion sickness can attest
that travel by boat ain’t exactly a pleasure cruise and often results in projectile vomiting. But with no other viable means of crossing
the Atlantic, mariners also had to endure unpredictable weather conditions such as hurricanes,
freezing temperatures, and rogue waves. Catastrophic storms in the Caribbean would
create a vast graveyard of sunken Spanish Galleons loaded with booty. Modern-day shipwreck hunters continue to find
gold off Florida coast, including items from the famous 1715 Treasure Fleet en route from
the New World to Spain. On July 31, 1715, a powerful hurricane sent
11 of the fleet’s 12 ships to the bottom of Davy Jones’ locker. The tragedy claimed the lives of 1,500 sailors
— and even worse — later inspired the vapid rom-com Fool’s Gold starring Mathew
McConaughey and Kate Hudson. 9. Punishment Living conditions for the average sailor often
meant tight, smelly quarters, rotten food (if any), and working around-the-clock shifts. Adding to the misery, the men were subjected
to severe abuse by sadistic officers hellbent on maintaining discipline. This created an environment which sometimes
led to mutiny such as the case involving legendary British explorer, Henry Hudson (no relation
to Kate). Flogging provided the most common form of
punishment and featured a particularly brutal variation called “kissing the gunner’s
daughter” in which the offender was tied to a cannon (the gunner’s daughter) and
repeatedly whipped with a ‘cat o’ nine tails.’ Additionally, crewmen could be bound to a
rope, swung overboard and ‘keelhauled’ (dragged underneath of the ship), and in extreme
cases, were simply hanged to death. 8. Slavery Historians estimate that over 11 million people
from Africa were enslaved by European captors beginning in the late 15th century. Massive plantations in the New World required
equally extensive manpower to carry out the brutal work, resulting in a slave trade that
lasted four centuries. European powers established colonies in the
Americas mainly on the backs of forced labor, inflicting unimaginable hardships in the name
of Empire building. But first, human cargo had to be transported
in shackles on slave ships teeming with bacteria and reeking of the putrid stench for journeys
lasting up to two months. The so-called middle passage across the Atlantic
claimed countless lives from a combination of bad weather, inhumane conditions, disease,
or those who simply jumped overboard rather than continue the Hellish voyage. 7. Genocide For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a time-honored
tradition when families gather to give thanks, enjoy a bountiful feast, and watch the Detroit
Lions get pummeled (usually) on national TV. The origin of the holiday commemorates the
first harvest of the Pilgrims, who settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts in the early 17th
century among several indigenous tribes. Any lasting goodwill, however, quickly faded
as relations between Native Americans and the new arrivals were soon marred by bloodshed,
mistrust and a variety of diseases that decimated America’s original inhabitants. Epidemics eventually claimed the lives of
roughly 75 percent of native people throughout the North American continent. The spread of highly contagious illnesses
such as smallpox and measles became a death sentence for those with no immunity. The passing down of knowledge and traditions
by tribal elders also died a tragic death, creating devastating implications for future
generations that persist today. 6. Lost and Found “In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” And so begins the famous children’s poem
— a tale filled with more inaccuracies than a dishonest politician’s stump speech. For the record, Christopher Columbus did NOT
discover America. That honor goes to Viking leader, Leif Eriksson,
who touched down in modern-day Newfoundland nearly 500 years before the Niña, Pinta,
or Santa Maria ever left port. Columbus did, however, manage to get his crew
hopelessly lost. Like most early explorers, he relied solely
on rudimentary navigational tools and knowledge of astronomy and the trade winds. The soon-to-be immortalized (and controversial)
Italian sailing under a Spanish flag eventually covered over 4,000 miles through uncharted
waters. After spending 36 days at sea, he sighted
land in the Bahamas, shores he believed to be India and therefore populated by “Indians”
— a misnomer that would eventually apply to all indigenous people of the Americas. 5. Rats In 2015, a cell phone video went viral, showing
a rat dragging an entire slice of pizza down the stairs into the subway in New York City. The ravenous rodent, dubbed “pizza rat,”
didn’t bode well for the Big Apple’s already vermin-infested reputation, a blight attributed
to English and French ships in the 1700s during the colonization of North America. The crew on those vessels would have been
most at risk to the plethora of diseases that rats can transmit. Cramped conditions below deck often led to
direct contact via saliva, urine or feces, and indirectly with contaminated food stores. Additionally, rats carry fleas that are vectors
of diseases such as bubonic plague, typhus, and spotted fever. 4. Unfriendly Foes Magellan. Cook. Ponce de Leon. Famous explorers who pushed the boundaries
to discover new lands and forever stamp their mark on history. These enduring legacies, however, also share
an ignominious common thread: they were all killed by hostile natives. Although his Portuguese ships circumnavigated
the world, Ferdinand Magellan didn’t complete the round trip after being struck by a bamboo
spear in the Philippines. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon never
discovered the fabled Fountain of Youth in his many explorations of Florida, but in 1521
a poison arrow from Calusa warriors found him. And finally, British Captain James Cook receives
high marks for at least drawing his last breath in paradise. The intrepid navigator best known for mapping
much of the South Pacific died in Hawaii during a botched kidnapping of the Island’s ruling
chief, Kalani’opu’u. Bold plan? Maybe. Ill-advised? Definitely. Fans of The Brady Bunch will recall that it’s
not even a good idea to possess a cheap Tiki figure — let alone trying to swipe a living
monarch from Kealakekua Bay. 3. Scourge of the Seas The importance of eating fresh fruits and
vegetables is instilled in most people at an early age. Unfortunately, life at sea eliminated this
dietary necessity, resulting in a fatal Vitamin C deficiency called scurvy, aka “scourge
of the seas.” More than two million sailors died from affliction
between the early 16th and the mid-19th century. According to historian Stephen Bown, scurvy
led to more deaths at sea than storms, shipwrecks, combat, and all other diseases combined. Side effects from scurvy produce the kind
of horrific damage usually found on an episode of The Walking Dead. The body gradually disintegrates both internally
and externally as arteries and capillaries decay, causing ulcers, seizures, and breaks
in the skin. It’s also worth noting that the British
navy began supplying its sailors with limes — hence the nickname “limey.” 2. Up In Smoke A 2015 study by researchers from the American
Cancer Society revealed that cigarette smoking causes nearly half the deaths from 12 different
types of cancer, including areas of the liver, colon, rectum, lung, throat, esophagus, larynx
(voice box), stomach, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervix. And you guessed it — the Age of Exploration
introduced the world to deadly habit of smoking. Shortly after Columbus arrived in the Caribbean,
locals on the island of San Salvador presented him a gift of dry tobacco leaves. The explorer, unaware of the plant’s purpose,
tossed them overboard. But he soon learned its esteemed value, as
did other European explorers, who cultivated the highly addictive and wildly lucrative
cash crop. 1. Hard Pressed In their quest to rule the world, the British
Empire granted the Royal Navy authority to force recruits into military service. The practice, known as impressment, dates
back to Elizabethan times when “press gangs” rounded up vagrants or those of little or
no means to fill ships’ crews. Sailors had to be at least 16 years old to
join, but some boys as young as 7 or 8 were pressed into action to serve as “powder
monkeys.” These children provided a critical but hazardous
task of ferrying gunpowder from the ship’s hold to artillery weapons and were favored
by officers for their ability to maneuver more quickly than adults in crowded spaces. Over time, press gangs gave way to crimps
— an unscrupulous lot who introduced the term “shanghai’d” by abducting men for
ships headed towards the Chinese hub. Crimping thrived in English port cities such
as London and Liverpool as well as the West Coast of the United States. Portland eventually became the shanghaiing
capital of the world and featured a series of underground tunnels above bars and flophouses,
where men could be lured into a night of heavy drinking only to wake up on a boat far from
home.

99 Replies to “Top 10 Harsh Realities of Life During the Age of Discovery

  1. I love this channel. You dont take 1 interesting topic and recycle it into 30 diff vids. Thank you guys for your content, totally underrated

  2. 5 seconds in and the pity Kazoos are already out for the "indigenous people". Hey man, we were just tribes from Europe. We're native peoples too. Don't be a bigot and treat the Indians with kid gloves

  3. 3:55 mark I do not think anyone, European or indigenous is immune to measles or smallpox unless they have been vaccinated which did not exist at the time. Europeans may have had the diseases in their youth which of course would have made them immune as adults.

  4. Colombus & Erikson are important historical figures, yes, but their discoveries were hardly original, as the prior existance of indigenous peoples abundantly proves.

  5. No…the slave trade was started within there own people..selling there own people to the British to make a profit…I'm so sick an tired of the pathetic story black people portray as true… do the research!

  6. And the bad Europeans are the ones who invented climate change that is now killing all the brown skin people. Don't forget that!!

  7. 11 million enslaved is the number that reached the shore. It is estimated that 50% of the Africans enslaved on the shores of the Continent of Africa died in the middle passages. That would take the total number enslaved and taken out of Africa – 22 million. The continuing impact of colonialism and slavery is still being felt in African countries and by Descendants of Africans.

  8. Somebody's using Simon to bash on the Lions. I mean I don't like the Lions either but I know damn well that Simon doesn't know which side of the laces face up.

  9. Actually the Royal Navy provided primarily lemons to prevent scurvy, hence the epithet "limey" is actually inaccurate.

  10. Except Ericson only stayed for a year before abandoning the Outpost and had no idea what he discovered.

    If a tree falls in the forest and all that.

  11. How is unknowingly bringing disease to the new world make it genocide. That’s a straight sjw talking point. The Indians killed a ridiculous amount of Europeans as well

  12. The Pilgrim fathers signed the first peace treaty with the Indians. It lasted 54 years until broken by the Indians because they claimed their culture was being destroyed – specifically torturing captives before killing them which was frowned on by Indians who had converted to Christianity.

  13. Actually, believe it or not, Columbus used Portuguese maps of the Americas…. to get to the Americas.

    Learned all about it in my university history class.

  14. DECIMATED MEANS TEN PERCENT.
    NO MORE. NO LESS. SPECIFICALLY 10 PERCENT.
    NOT SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT.
    YOU DO THIS CONSTANTLY!
    LEARN WORDS!

  15. Hi usually like your videos but lately they've just gotten nasty. First of all no one purposely set out to give smallpox and Salmonella poisoning and the cold Etc to the Native Americans they didn't know that it would kill them and it has been studied by virologist who stated that it would have eventually happened anyway has over time the people were going to be coming to the Americas eventually. It was just unfortunate Columbus was the one who got blamed for it. If you ever took the time to read his writings and not revisionist translations but his writings he really cared about the people that he met and was devastated when he came back on his second trip to find many of them had died it was proven some of the tribes had no immunity and some of the tribes had immunity to the diseases. It just depended on who you were and when your people came to the Americas & what tribe you belonged to.

    2nd He was trapped if you ever took the time truly research about Columbus he cared about the Native Americans and where he was he did not want to be governor of violence he wanted to explore and Spain wouldn't let him instead they gave contracts to other explorers and they went out and found the larger landmasses they of course obtained more notoriety more Fame back in Spain because all he had found with some islands while he would have found the other places if they had allowed him to get off the island but they wouldn't truly research about Columbus she cared about the Native Americans and where he was he did not want to be governor of violence he wanted to explore and Fame wouldn't let him instead they gave contracts to other explorers and they went out and found the larger land masses they gave of course obtained more Notre really more Fame back in Spain because all he had found with some Island but he would have found the other places if they had allowed him to get off the island but they wouldn't. On top of that he didn't like how they were treating the indigenous people he didn't want to follow the implied rules and what some of the people were doing to them. He didn't like the conversion pressure and he also didn't want them transported back to Spain to be used as workers. He didn't approve of their treatment by the Spanish overlords. In the end he was taken back to Spain in Chains on trumped-up charges of not following the dictates of the contract that he was given and imprisoned stripped of his title, money Etc and basically died in poverty. You may think this might be the best thing that ever happened to him but he never meant for anyone to be harmed in his discoveries. All Columbus really wanted to do was sail ships & find new lands. If he was lucky maybe it would make him rich but everything came secondary to the discovery. If he was lucky maybe it would make him rich or maybe he would find the upper passages around the other continent but he has found that confident he read found it for the world he knew Leif Erickson had already been there

    As far as Thanksgiving goes it could be a day of thanks because you know what the Americans aren't the ones who caused the problem it was the French, the British, the Germans, and the Dutch who settled the American continent. It was later their ancestors and other new arrivals who didn't like the slavery the indentured servant the fact that everything went straight over to the other countries Etc and they fought for freedom. Not everyone believed how the indigenous people were treated was right but they didn't have a say in the policies that were being made. Nor did they believe that slavery should be continued but the states had a right to their own sovereignty and it took the civi war fomented by those who didn't have patience to let those States work it out among themselves they felt that the state had more power then the Federal it came down to a matter of principle. Had to do with the federal putting pressure on them to fall in line and outlet switch we know it they should have but they didn't want to not because they weren't going to because they knew that who owns what had to do with the state being told what to do by the federal which was just supposed to be there for international treaties and the organization of commerce between the states travel and times of War a centralized government so that all the states could be protected through that. Don't you ever think it's weird that somebody has to be extradited from South Dakota to Vermont for trial the same as if they had gone all the way to France? The people don't understand that anymore because we don't teach it it's just so much easier to say it was all about one thing but it was a lot about a lot of things.

    You can choose to be a revisionist and you can choose to put it too politically correct righteousness but you know what. It can also be extremely false I guess I'll unsubscribe. This isn't the last one that you will do like this. You've been getting more and more negative and I guess you're desperate as people copy you and it gets harder to make content that's interesting all the time.

    I liked it when you taught about things there [email protected] unusual, uplifting, intriguing and inspirational. We know all this crap. It's been force fed into us for the last 30 years we're not allowed to have Heroes anymore. We get it okay. We know this. The world's negative enough, Have fun being Scrooge

  16. This was like watching a cheesy 80's movie/tv show where the host thinks they are colorful and funny. The "funny" stopped as soon as I pressed play. Humor is not Simon's strong oder filled shirt, nor is comedy.

  17. Senpai noticed the Lions
    And described them in perfect detail
    (They currently have one of the worst records in all the NFL. Laughing stock. All of Detroit's teams are in the gutter)

  18. uhhhh, didn't the ancestors of the natives "discover" america? The vikings took a tour, and the spaniards invaded.

  19. Disappointed that you included the political absurdity line appearing from 1:24 to 1:40 ' Democrats would have prevented the tragedy with a carbon tax' Jokes, hyperbole and absurdity is usually edited out of Toptenz , wish that would continue.

  20. i just looked in my next recommended feed and this account matthew santoro looks like a Simon ripoff . by the thumbnail looks like he's trying to trick people to click lol.

  21. Simon, kindly tell us why, when the explorers discovered they were not in India, when they reached the New World, did they not "can" the name "Indians" and find another name for the natives? I find it quite idiotic that the name persists. It is very frustrating, when speaking about Indians from India, that they are confused with our Native Americans.

  22. 10 brutal realities of life in the USA:

    10. Our phone batteries don't last as long as we would like.
    9. Our parents can be a little mean sometimes.
    8. Too many McDonalds.
    7. Our Amazon orders take like TWO DAYS to get to us sometimes, just brutal.
    6. The internet can be a little slow at times.
    5. Not enough McDonalds.
    4. Too easy to get money compared to other countries.
    3. Too much food and water, like what are we supposed to do with all this?
    2. Our President is… well… um… let's just say, controversial, yeah, that's the word.
    1. Sometimes the internet goes out, by far the worst.

    Disclaimer: Made by an American who is mostly joking.

  23. Damn, on a lark I tried to look up TopTenz & Simon Whistler on Wikipedia, & they are not on it.  I really got to think about creating a pair of pages on Wikipedia, but I know nothing about TopTenz & Simon other than what I see on YouTube about them.  Nor anything about Simon's other YouTube channels.  WTF?

  24. Little has changed. If a big war started up tomorrow, the draft would start up the day after. We're all slaves to our governments. But freedom IS nice!😁👍

  25. Bull, if Columbus didn’t discover america, then no-one ever discovered anything because people have already been everywhere. He was just like everyone else from those periods but he had the guts to take on the Atlantic. Others didn’t.

  26. Africans captured Africans and sold them. Europeans bought them, barely ever took them by force themselves during this time period.

  27. Nothing the explores back then did anything wrong if the natives wanted to keep there co-called land they should have fought for it.

  28. The Brady's didn't purchase the Tiki it was found in an ancient burial ground being excavated by the company Mike Brady's architectural design for the new sky rise in Honolulu. The only way to break the curse it bestowed upon the other members of the Brady family when they wore the tiki idol around their neck was to bring it back to Island caves.

  29. Since you put so much stock in fact, perhaps you could have shown that the majority of slaves went to South America, not what is now the United States.

  30. Simon, you should research the Irish monk St. Brendan (suggested read: The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin). It's possible that he & other irish monks landed in America 400 yrs before the Vikings. It's all quite intriguing 😁

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