During the Age of Voyages from the 15th to the 17th centuries, the east and west winds that circled the globe came to be know as the trade wind and the westerlies. The first person to try to explain the cause of these winds in terms of dynamics was George Hadley. Hadley theorized that the atmosphere moved in one large thermal convection current from the equator to the poles, and also added that if you take into account the fact that
the earth is rotating,
you could also explain the trade wind which occurred at low latitudes.
Of course, the movement of the atmosphere isn't quite that simple. However, in Hadley's time, there were definitely no satellites, and not even any weather maps. On top of that, it was also almost a century before Coriolis formulated his theories on rotational dynamics.