The European drive to explore during the fourteenth and fifteenth century

Essay by smitty5050University, Bachelor'sA, August 2007

download word file, 2 pages 2.0

It has always been the nature of man to explore. From nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes to the current day modern man traveling into space, it is human nature to explore. There are many motivational factors for exploration. For Europeans in the fourteenth and fifteenth century there were two distinct but contrary motives: the desire to spread the boundaries of Roman Catholic Christianity and to profit from commercial opportunities.

The European drive to explore was made easier by their technological advances. Before the Middle Ages in Europe, civilizations explored, but only in close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea because they did not have the technology to explore further. Technological advances in shipbuilding, cartography, navigation, and firepower combined with motivation, permitted Europeans to explore, trade, and conquer all around the world.

New found travel did not come without serious consequences as cultural and environmental fallout were ramifications of explorations. The environmental effects of travel were ecological disruptions of forests, rivers and wildlife, and the spread of foreign cultural values and ideas that were destructive to the environment.

Europeans tended to take an interest in the natural resources of the society they came in contact with. Technology became the dominant factor. The construction of boats and ships had a huge impact on the environment, and in some cases even led to deforestation.

Exploration not only brought technology and religion to different parts the world, but also the colonizers' sense of moral superiority. Missionaries were the main deliverers of European culture and religion and the principal sources of disease transmission. They helped spread disease to natives who had not previously been exposed. When a population is infected with a new disease the disease tends to run rampant within that population. Diseases, such as smallpox and tuberculosis, had been around for centuries and people had developed...