Overview Historians generally recognize three motives for European exploration and colonization in the New World: God, gold, and glory.
Visit Website But between and a series of interconnected developments occurred in Europe that provided the impetus for the exploration and subsequent colonization of America.
These developments included the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Renaissance, the unification of small states into larger ones with centralized political power, the emergence of new technology in navigation and shipbuilding, and the establishment of overland trade with the East and the accompanying transformation of the medieval economy.
Protestantism emphasized a personal relationship between each individual and God without the need for intercession by the institutional church. Thus, the rise of Protestantism and the Counter-Reformation, along with the Renaissance, helped foster individualism and create a climate favorable to exploration.
At the same time, political centralization ended much of the squabbling and fighting among rival noble families and regions that had characterized the Middle Ages. With the decline of the political power and wealth of the Catholic church, a few rulers gradually solidified their power.
Portugal, Spain, France, and England were transformed from small territories into nation-states with centralized authority in the hands of monarchs who were able to direct and finance overseas exploration. As these religious and political changes were occurring, technological innovations in navigation set the stage for exploration.
Bigger, faster ships and the invention of navigational devices such as the astrolabe and sextant made extended voyages possible. But the most powerful inducement to exploration was trade. The Orient became a magnet to traders, and exotic products and wealth flowed into Europe.
Those who benefited most were merchants who sat astride the great overland trade routes, especially the merchants of the Italian city-states of Genoa, Venice, and Florence. The newly unified states of the Atlantic—France, Spain, England, and Portugal—and their ambitious monarchs were envious of the merchants and princes who dominated the land routes to the East.
The desire to supplant the trade moguls, especially the Italians, and fear of the Ottoman Empire forced the Atlantic nations to search for a new route to the East. Portugal Portugal led the others into exploration.
Encouraged by Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese seamen sailed southward along the African coast, seeking a water route to the East. They were also looking for a legendary king named Prester John who had supposedly built a Christian stronghold somewhere in northwestern Africa.
Henry hoped to form an alliance with Prester John to fight the Muslims. His school developed the quadrant, the cross-staff, and the compass, made advances in cartography, and designed and built highly maneuverable little ships known as caravels. Dias sailed around the tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean before his frightened crew forced him to give up the quest.
A year later, Vasco da Gama succeeded in reaching India and returned to Portugal laden with jewels and spices. Born in Genoa, Italy, aroundColumbus learned the art of navigation on voyages in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Columbus, hoping to make such a voyage, spent years seeking a sponsor and finally found one in Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain after they defeated the Moors and could turn their attention to other projects.
After ten weeks he sighted an island in the Bahamas, which he named San Salvador. Thinking he had found islands near Japan, he sailed on until he reached Cuba which he thought was mainland China and later Haiti.
But the territorial disputes between Portugal and Spain were not resolved until when they signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, which drew a line leagues west of the Azores as the demarcation between the two empires. Despite the treaty, controversy continued over what Columbus had found.
He made three more voyages to America between andduring which he explored Puerto Ricothe Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Trinidad.
Each time he returned more certain that he had reached the East. In and Pedro de Mendoza went as far as present-day Buenos Aires in Argentina, where he founded a colony.
Religious Motivations The impulse for exploration was further fueled by the European imagination. That idea had two parts: Ancient tales described distant civilizations, usually to the west, where European-like peoples lived simple, virtuous lives without war, famine, disease, or poverty. Such utopian visions were reinforced by religious notions.
Early Christian Europeans had inherited from the Jews a powerful prophetic tradition that drew upon apocalyptic biblical texts in the books of Daniel, Isaiah, and Revelations.Aug 21, · Watch video · But between and a series of interconnected developments occurred in Europe that provided the impetus for the exploration and subsequent colonization of America.
Western European conquest, large-scale exploration and colonization soon followed.
Columbus's first two voyages (–93) reached the Bahamas and various Caribbean islands, including Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, . EUROPEAN EXPLORATION AND COLONIZATION: DISCOVERY AND COLONIZATIONChristopher OF THE NEW WORLDColumbus landingon an island in theCaribbean Sea in Map showing the original 13 English Colonies in North America.
European Exploration and Colonization Written records about life in Florida began with the arrival of the Spanish explorer and adventurer Juan Ponce de León in Sometime between April 2 and April 8, Ponce de León waded ashore on the northeast coast of Florida, possibly near present-day St.
Augustine. Causes and Effects of European Exploration in America Nick Pellicano, Abigail Duclos, Isabelle Martin, Blake Martin Some basic effects of Europeans coming to North America are that the Native Americans caught new diseases which included smallpox, influenza, measles, and chicken pox.
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