XV Century Exploration

Essay by bam58College, UndergraduateA+, June 2006

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The XV Century is known as the Age of Exploration, Portugal and Spain were the leaders of this movement. Other European nations such as France and England would not start until later in the XVI century. The explorations of the 1400s and the 1500s changed the world into the way it is known today. Before this time the world was believed to be flat with only one land mass and an endless ocean. Today this is known to be false, but what caused the desire to adventure into uncharted waters and distant lands? There were many reasons to include: adventure, power, wealth, trade, land, and religion. Each European nation had its own unique reasons.

The Portuguese were among the first to start the exploration era. Their primary reason was to establish a new ocean trade route to Asia. The traditional land trade route for Asia had been cut-off due to the rise of the Turkish Empire.

This made the procurement of Asian spices very expensive and almost impossible. The lack of refrigeration in the 1400s made the Europeans very dependent on these spices of salt and pepper and many others for food preservation. Since Europe did not have an abundance of these spices this became a high priority for Portugal. Portugal having the western most port in Europe made it an ideal location for trade coming around the southern tip of Africa. As usual money was a huge driving factor for their explorations. This would help the Portuguese to corner the market of Asian trading; the wealth achieved from this would help preserve its independence from Spain. The Portuguese also had a strong sense of religion and a drive to share their beliefs with the unknown world. By going into uncharted lands they would be able to spread the...