The age of European Exploration was primarily an economic event because the urge to explore, to find a trade route, was sparked by economic endeavors. By the 1400's Europeans wanteed to buy Asian products, such as jewels, silk, cinnamon, pepper and cloves. Overland trade was expensive and frequently prevented by middle-man countries.
Turkish Muslims controlled the overland route between Europe and Asia. They also controlled the sea routes from Asia to the middle east. Venice had a monopoly on trade in spices and other goods between the Muslim ports. The rest of Europe was eager to have such goods. But with no overland was to pursue these trades they sought to find a sea route. The portugese were the first to explore sea routes. Henry the Navigator and his crew tried to round the tip of Africa hoping that bayond Africa the route to Asia was more clear. During voyages near Africa they picked up gold dust and African captives to sell into slavery.
Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama was commisioned to sail all the way to Asia. Instead of sailing close to the west African coast, he swung out into the Atlantic to find the most favorable winds. He rounded the Cape of Good Hopeand then sailed into the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese reached Calicut on the southwest coast of India in 1498. Calicut's Hindu ruler was not interested in the goods da Gama brought to trade. The Muslim merchants there were not happy to see da Gama, whom they considered a possible business rival. But the explorer obtained some gems and spices, including pepper and cinnamon, to take back to Portugal to prove he had reached Asia.
When the new world was first discovered by Christopher Columbus the urge to find more territory grew. Countries began funding expeditions...