The Pioneering Voyages Which Shaped International Transport For The World

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Here at SG Haulage, we help both our domestic and commercial clients to transport heavy goods across the UK and Europe to their chosen destination. With all of our experience and the modern transport technology available to us, transporting goods overseas is not the arduous journey it would have been even just a century or two ago. However, the relative simplicity of international travel today is built on the shoulders of the explorers and adventurers who came before.

Journeymen from around the globe have been exploring the world we live in for thousands of years. Centuries ago, the known world was far smaller than we know it to be today and international trade is dependent on that developed understanding of the best routes to sail to get to other countries and continents. Over the years and from all corners of the world, a number of voyages have been instrumental to the continued discovery of the world; here are some of the most important expeditions.

Christopher Columbus’ Voyages To The Americas

Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is arguably the most famous explorer ever – one who has had a lasting and profound impact on the world as we know it. Christopher Columbus cemented his name in the history books over four voyages – setting off from Portugal and Southern Spain – as the first European explorer to ‘discover’ the Americas and spark the wholesale colonisation by Spain.

Although it’s not quite true that Columbus and his crew were the first Europeans to make landfall in the Americas, his expeditions were the first to create a consistent contact with the Americas and his travels sparked an age of conquest by Europeans across the New World.

The voyages were originally meant to discover a western route to Asia in order to trade spices, but Columbus found the New World instead. Between 1492 and 1502, Columbus navigated four voyages which led to a number of other European powers making their own voyages and a huge rise in the colonisation of indigenous populations. Some historians see the discovery of the New World and the subsequent geopolitical, scientific and social upheaval associated with it as the birth of the modern era.

Vasco da Gama Sailing To India

Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer and the very first European to reach India by ocean travel. Chartered in 1497, his voyage pioneered ocean routes between Europe and Asia and connected both the Indian and Atlantic oceans which also helped to establish a Portuguese empire in Asia and provided an alternative route to the Mediterranean which was often steeped in conflict.

As Vasco da Gama’s route took him around the southern tip of Africa from Lisbon to Calicut in Kerela, South India, the outward trip and the return journey home made his expedition the longest sea-faring voyage ever made up until that point. His journey set up vital routes for trade between Europe and Asia, although Portugal maintained a monopoly over the trade routes for a number of decades until the Dutch, English, French and Danes began muscling in on the Portuguese supremacy. Vasco da Gama’s significance is so substantial that the national epic poem of Portugal – Os Lusíadas – was written in his honour.

Marco Polo’s Voyages In Asia

The adventures of Marco Polo have been immortalised and romanticised over the years and the Venetian explorer, writer and merchant has become a symbol of exploration and adventure. His travels took him along the Silk Road in the late 1200s and gave Europeans a first glimpse of the mysterious world to the East – which had been travelled to but not documented. Much of the culture of China, Mongolia, India, Southeast Asia and Japan was still enigmatic to most Europeans, so Polo’s writing became a source of great intrigue.

Marco Polo, with his uncle and father, remained in China for 24 years where he became a valued emissary for the Emporer and was sent on a number of diplomatic missions to areas including Burma and Tibet where no Europeans had travelled to thus far. Polo’s long travels became so iconic that they helped to inspire a number of other travellers. Reportedly Columbus had a copy of his book with him as he set sail on the voyage that would see him land in America.

Ferdinand Magellan’s Circumnavigation of The World

Following Columbus’ expedition, which saw him make landfall in the Americas, Ferdinand Magellan went even further and found a straight in southern Argentina which led him to the other side of the continent. This made Magellan the first European navigator to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic. Sailing across the waters of the Pacific Ocean, the voyage saw Magellan and his crew arrive in Guam.

Although Magellan would die after being struck with a poisoned arrow in a battle, the rest of his crew continued the journey which eventually took them back to Spain and so saw them become the very first explorers to circumnavigate the Earth.

Ming Treasure Voyages

Most of the explorers we have discussed so far have been European, however, the Chinese were also experienced explorers and experts at seafaring navigation and travel. In fact, the Chinese admiral and explorer Zheng He commanded ships which were much larger than their European counterparts. The Ming Treasure Fleets, which sailed half a century before Columbus, were colossal in comparison to the Santa Maria and even ancient Chinese vessels dwarfed the European equivalents at the time or even centuries later.

The Ming Treasure voyages were seven expeditions which reached as far as East Africa as well as the Persian Gulf and the Malabar Coast. The ships used were heavily weaponised and also held huge amounts of treasure so as to project the superior wealth of China to other parts of the known world. The voyages saw Ming China become one of the most powerful naval forces in the world.

Leif Erikson’s North American Colonisation

Contrary to belief at the time of Columbus, Leif Erikson is the first known European to walk on North American soil – excluding Greenland which was colonised by his father Erik The Red – in modern-day Canada. Erikson is reported to have started a colony on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland which he and his fellow explorers named Vinland.

Erikson travelled to North America around 999, almost 400 years before Christopher Columbus set off on his voyage and it’s thought that he only arrived in Newfoundland because he was blown off course on his way to Greenland to convert the population there to Christianity.

For Your Very Own Personal Voyage, Contact SG Haulage For Vehicle Transport and International Freight To Get You and Your Belongings To Your New Home

If you’ve been searching for ‘haulage companies near me’ in Lincoln, look no further than SG Haulage Ltd. We’re one of the leading road haulage and long-distance movers companies in the UK and across the continent.

As a leading haulage firm in the East Midlands, we can guarantee an excellent level of service at a price that you can afford. We can transport anything from caravans and boats to agricultural machinery and vehicles. With over 25 years worth of experience, we have managed to amass a fleet of haulage vehicles and have since worked on a number of complicated and successful projects.

Whether you’re a commercial organisation needing haulage services for your heavy machinery or you’re a domestic client looking for a service to help your removal to Spain, SG Haulage is on hand to help – no job is too big or too small for us.

To find out more, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at our headquarters at Plot 9, Saxilby Enterprise Park, Skellingthorpe Road, Saxilby, Lincoln LN1 2LR, call us on 01522 702 443 or email us at