On May 29, 1453, the Turkish army commanded by Sultan Mehmet II captured Constantinople. This city, also known as Byzantium, had been for about a thousand years, the capital of Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the repository of the Hellenistic legacy from Greco-Roman world, the bastion of Christendom in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Europe's gateway to the East. Many historians point to this event as the milestone that marks the end of the middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age. Nevertheless, its significance goes beyond set a historical limit. Its repercussions have reached our days. Our times are an indirect product of the fall of Constantinople. This is thanks to two direct consequences: the Discovery of America, and the
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The triumph of the Turks and their control over those trade routes forced nascent European states like Spain, Portugal and England, to seek new routes. The Portuguese, for example, traveled around the west coast of African continent, and across the Indian ocean; however, a Genoese, Christopher Columbus, convinced Fernando and Isabel, Catholic Monarchs of Spain, to sponsor an expedition to find a new way to East always traveling to the West. The result of this trip was the discovery of what would later be called America, the American continent.
As consequence of the capture of Constantinople, many Greek scholars fled to the West, particularly to Italy, where a series of cultural, economic and political changes had been brewing since the previous century there. Greek intellectuals came loaded with ancient classical manuscripts. Moreover they arrived carrying the Platonist and Neo-Platonist thought that came to pose a challenge to the Aristotelian-Thomist worldview held in West. New ideas opened new avenues for research and analysis. The result was the development of one of the greatest revolutions in Western thought: the Renaissance.
Both the Discovery of America and the Renaissance were extremely important for the development of present Western civilization and today’s World. The flow of wealth from