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The Causes of European Exploration
How did the Age of Exploration change the way Europeans viewed the world?
Why did European exploration begin to flourish in the 1400s? Two main reasons stand out. First, Europeans of this time had several motives for exploring the world. Second, advances in knowledge and technology helped to make the Age of Exploration possible.
Motives for Exploration For early explorers, one of the main motives for exploration was the desire to find new trade routes to Asia. By the 1400s, merchants and Crusaders had brought many goods to Europe from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Demand for these goods increased the desire for trade.
Europeans were especially interested in spices from Asia. They had learned to use spices to help preserve food during winter and to cover up the taste of food that was no longer fresh.
Trade with the East, however, was difficult and very expensive. Muslims and Italians controlled the flow of goods. Muslim traders carried goods to the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Italian merchants then brought the goods into Europe. Problems arose when Muslim rulers sometimes closed the trade routes from Asia to Europe. Also, the goods went through many hands, and each trading party raised the price.
European monarchs and merchants wanted to break the hold that Muslims and Italians had on trade. One way to do so was to find a sea route to Asia. Portuguese sailors looked for a route that went around Africa. Christopher Columbus tried to reach Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic.
Other motives also came into play. Many people were excited by the opportunity for new knowledge. Explorers saw the chance to earn fame and glory, as well as wealth. As new lands were discovered, nations wanted to claim the lands’ riches for themselves.
A final motive for exploration was the desire to spread Christianity beyond Europe. Both Protestant and Catholic nations were eager to make new converts. Missionaries of both faiths followed the paths blazed by explorers.
Advances in Knowledge and Technology The Age of Exploration began during the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time of new learning. A number of advances during that time made it easier for explorers to venture into the unknown.
One key advance was in cartography, the art and science of mapmaking. In the early 1400s, an Italian scholar translated an ancient book called Guide to Geography from Greek into Latin. The book was written by the thinker Ptolemy (TOL-eh-mee) in the 2nd century C.E. Printed copies of the book inspired new interest in cartography. European mapmakers used Ptolemy’s work as a basis for drawing more accurate maps.
Discoveries by explorers gave mapmakers new information with which to work. The result was a dramatic change in Europeans’ view of the world. By the 1500s, Europeans made globes, showing Earth as a sphere. In 1507, a German cartographer made the first map that clearly showed North and South America as separate from Asia.
In turn, better maps made navigation easier. The most important Renaissance geographer, Gerardus Mercator (mer-KAY-tur), created maps using improved lines of longitude and latitude. Mercator’s mapmaking technique was a great help to navigators.
An improved ship design also helped explorers. By the 1400s, Portuguese and Spanish shipbuilders were making a new type of ship called a caravel. These ships were small, fast, and easy to maneuver. Their special bottoms made it easier for explorers to travel along coastlines where the water was not deep. Caravels also used lateen sails, a triangular style adapted from Muslim ships. These sails could be positioned to take advantage of the wind no matter which way it blew.
Along with better ships, new navigational tools helped sailors travel more safely on the open seas. By the end of the 1400s, the compass was much improved. Sailors used compasses to find their bearing, or direction of travel. The astrolabe helped sailors determine their distance north or south from the equator.
Finally, improved weapons gave Europeans a huge advantage over the people they met in their explorations. Sailors could fire their cannons at targets near the shore without leaving their ships. On land, the weapons of native peoples often were no match for European guns, armor, and horses.
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The Causes of European Exploration
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Frequently Asked Questions About what different motives led europeans to explore the oceans
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what different motives led europeans to explore the oceans, then this section may help you solve it.
Why did Europeans decide to explore the sea?
Europeans saw exploration as a way to spread Christianity to other cultures that lived in other lands, in addition to the idea of b>looking for new trade routes/b>, they also hoped to find new sources of gold, silver, and other valuables.
What economic factors sparked Europeans’ wanderlust?
b>Desire to find new trade routes to Asia/b> was one of the primary driving forces for early explorers. By the 1400s, merchants and Crusaders had brought many goods to Europe from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and demand for these goods increased the desire for trade.
Which justification do you believe was the most powerful for promoting European exploration?
The Virginia Company of London founded the Jamestown colony with the intention of making a profit for its investors. Europe’s period of exploration and colonization was largely driven by necessity, but one of the main drivers for the colonization of the New World was the opportunity to make money.
What encouraged Europeans to start traveling the world in the 1400s?
The desire to become wealthy and to spread Christianity, along with advancements in sailing technology, sparked an age of European exploration. Prior to the early 1400s, however, Europeans did not have the desire or the means to explore foreign lands.
Quiz: What inspired Europeans to explore the oceans?
During the Age of Exploration, Europeans were driven by a number of important goals, including the desire for knowledge, the spread of Christianity, the desire for riches and glory, and the desire for spices.
How did the Age of Exploration come about?
Trade and the acquisition of resources were the main goals of exploration, as Cippola states, “religion supplied the pretext, gold the motive” (133). Other motivations for exploration included the spread of Christianity and the simple desire to discover new lands.
What were the top three reasons for exploring?
1. The quest for gold (economic), the spread of Christianity (religious), and glory (empire rivalry) were the three driving forces behind exploration. 2. The main challenges faced by the explorers included inadequate maps and tools, disease and starvation, and a fear of the unknown.
What are the four main drivers of European colonization and exploration?
The four main reasons why Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands came to America were wealth and power, religion, nationalism, and the Renaissance spirit of curiosity and adventure.
What encouraged Europeans to start navigating uncharted waters?
Spices were sought after by Europeans, as were direct trade routes to Asia’s riches, the Crusades against the Muslims, and the desire to learn about other cultures sparked by the Renaissance.
Which three factors were the main drivers of European exploration?
The three main motivations for European exploration are economic, religious, and glorificational. They sought to strengthen their economies, for example, by acquiring more spices, gold, and more efficient trading routes.
One reason why Europeans searched for new sea routes to Asia was.
The Spanish rulers wanted wealth from any source, and a direct sea route to Asia would give them access to the silks, spices, and precious metals of Asia. The spice trade was a major reason for European exploration, and the Spanish rulers supported Columbus’s voyage.
What three main goals drove exploration?
God, gold, and glory are the three main driving forces behind European exploration and colonization of the New World, according to historians.