Let’s do a leg workout today:
I know that practice is boring, but it’s the only way to get really good at this!
Andes are mountains along western part of South America. Aconcagua is the tallest peak in part called Principal Cordillera. At 22 837 feet (6961 meters), it’s the tallest mountain in South America. It’s only 190th tallest mountain in the world, which doesn’t sound so impressive. But here is the impressive part: 189 ahead of it are all in Asia (Himalayas are huge, aren’t they?).
Ok, so my mom loves this fact: Aconcagua is covered by glaciers and one of them is called Polish Glacier. It was named after a Polish team who paved a new route to the top back in 1934.
Andes were created when Nazca Plate (one of tectonic plates) went under South American Plate (that’s tectonic plate South America sits on). Aconcagua itself was a stratovolcano. However, during some other shifts in tectonic plates in the area, Aconcagua got lifted off of its volcanic base. So it’s no longer a volcano!
Aconcagua is the highest mountain that can be easily climbed, without knowing how to rock climb, as long as you go the easy route, which is from its north side. There is one challenge though: Aconcagua is so tall that you will most likely get altitude sickness.
Like Aconcagua, Chimborazo is part of the Andes Mountains, but in Cordillera Occidental part. It’s 20 548 feet (6263 meters) tall. What makes Chimborazo important is that it’s the tallest mountain if you count from the center of the earth. You know how Earth is not a perfect sphere (ball)? Points around the middle of our planet are further away from the center. I think it’s kind of funny that Chimborazo is not even the tallest mountain in its own range!
Social Science 👩🎓
I am excited about today’s explorers! They show up in books and movies!
Have you seen Pirates of the Caribbean? Barbosa stole gold from Cortes. Yes, this Cortes.
Hernan Cortes was born in 1485 in Spain. His family wanted him to be a lawyer and sent him to school for it, but he wasn’t interested and lasted only 2 years. He heard about Columbus and discovery of the New World. He wanted to be rich and famous!
His conquests in the New World started when he joined Diego Velazquez in 1511 – they conquered Cuba. In 1518, Cortes set his sights on Mexico and the Aztec Empire. He heard that Aztecs had a lot of gold and tried to meet with Emperor Montezuma II to get it from him. The emperor was not interested in that, so Cortes decided to take it by force. He went to Tenochtitlan to get the gold. On his way there, he found out that tribes who lived there were not happy with the Aztecs and helped him fight. Montezuma gave Cortes gold, but the conquistador was not satisfied and wanted more. Eventually, Cortes and his army conquered the Aztec Empire and renamed Tenochtitlan Mexico City.
Juan Ponce de Leon
Juan Ponce de Leon was born in 1474 in Spain. From a young age, he was trained to be a knight. After fighting in wars in Europe, he moved to the New World. He first settled on the island of Hispaniola and later, he created first Spanish settlement on the island of Puerto Rico in 1508. He became a governor of that land.
Eventually, due to political changes in Spain, Puerto Rico got a new governor. However, the king liked Juan Ponce de Leon and sent him on an expedition north. Do you know what’s north of there? I hope you guessed Florida! At first, the explorer thought it was a HUGE island. Juan Ponce de Leon explored and mapped out a lot of the Florida coast.
The legends about Juan Ponce de Leon have him looking for the fountain of youth in Florida. That’s a stream that would make people young again. There is no proof though that this was his goal.
Like Juan Ponce de Leon, Francisco Pizarro was born in 1474 in Spain. He grew up poor and never learned how to read and write. He didn’t let that stop him. After hearing about how rich he could get in the New World, he became a settler on Hispaniola.
For a time, Francisco Pizarro got to explore Central America with Vasco Nunez de Balboa. In 1524, Pizarro set on first expedition where he was in charge. It was a total failure, but he went again 2 years later. This time, he got to the edges of the Inca Empire. Finally, in 1532, Pizarro managed to establish first Spanish settlement in Peru. Conquistadors brought to the Inca people diseases, like smallpox.
Francisco Pizarro kidnapped Inca emperor, Atahualpa. The Inca paid ransom, but he still killed the emperor. He wanted more gold and took over Inca capital, Cuzco.
Interesting: Pizarro was Hernan Cortes’ second cousin, once removed.
When Gulf of California was first discovered, it was called Sea of Cortes.
Word of the day ❗
Settlement – a place, typically one that has been uninhabited until then, where people establish a community.
Learn more about the Aztecs: