Effects Of European Exploration

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European exploration and conquest began in the mid-fifteenth century, and led to drastic changes in global trade. Prior to this time, much of the world’s trade was centered in Asia and Africa, with Europe being far removed from the lucrative business of spices and precious metals. The initial need to expand Europe originated from a desire to acquire power and secure profits. From here, a new “Age of Discovery” was set into motion. Assisted with newly developed maritime technologies, as well as patronage from growing monarchs, explorers set out to discover new sea trade routes and find riches from the unknown world. During this time of rapid expansion and conquest, the prospects of material and monetary gain, new chances for religious expansion, …show more content…
This instilled a curiosity about the unfamiliar world throughout the people of Europe. Aside from the chance for money or religious expansion, exploration and conquest was also an opportunity for simple explorers to quest for glory and earn fame and renown. The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez conquered the Aztec empire of Mexico by utilizing superior weapons, unleashing diseases, and pitting the native tribes against each other. Similarly, Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incas in the Andes. These two conquistadors brought land, materials, and fame back to their country, an indicator of the glory that could be earned through exploration. The centralized monarchies of France, England, and Spain were able to afford the risks of voyages, and sent out expeditions to expand their influence and territory. Portugal and Spain led the way in overseas exploration, as both were ambitious in their goals to increase their national power. Prince Henry “the Navigator” of Portugal founded a school of navigation at Sagres, Portugal. This sponsoring of technology allowed Europe to assemble skilled cartographers and maritime technicians together to improve the efficiency of sea travel. Another example of explorers questing for glory is Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan aspired for his crew to be the first to completely circumnavigate the world. Although Magellan perished in the Philippines, he …show more content…
Additionally, missionaries headed for the New World to convert the native peoples to Christianity, but conflicts broke out and resulted in the enslavement of many natives. Finally, many Europeans, lured by their curiosity and desire for fame, quested for glory by exploring and conquering the New World. These primary motivations allowed new land, money, and people to be found, creating a reinvigorated and rapidly expanding

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