Check out this link to see CAUSES of European Exploration....Could you make one of these?

Columbus Claims New Land for Spain (CC)
Background Information: During the beginning of the Renaissance, the Mongols opened up the Silk Road again, which was the major trade route from Europe to Asia and China. The silks and spices traveling along the Silk Road became more and more expensive as they traveled from Asia to Europe because of the "middleman"... As the silk and spices traveled along the Silk Road and changed hands (from one seller to another or the Middleman), the price got more and more expensive. Europeans wanted to travel to Asia directly to cut out the middleman and buy the silk/spices cheaply. However, traveling by land was difficult and it took years to get to China that way. That's when people like Prince Henry the Navigator and Christopher Columbus became important and sea travel began.

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Caravel (CC)

Contributions of Science

Prince Henry the Navigator was responsible for much of the science that was put into exploration. He built an observatory and a navigation school to teach sailors how to find their way on long ocean voyages. They studied maps, map making, and how to use new instruments while at sea. Other advances came in shipbuilding. The Portuguese started to build ships called Caravels. Caravels used triangular sails that, unlike traditional square sails, allowed ships to sail against the wind. They then were faster for travel and more effective in terms of time. The Caravels helped the Portuguese take the lead in Exploration, even claiming the Gold Coast of West Africa for Portuguese. Also, because of the Scientific Revolution, barometers, thermometers, telescopes, and microscopes were really effective and impacted travel by helping sailor understand the weather and the world around them.

Explorers Purposes -- The Three G's.

Cause and Effects of Exploration by Benjamin

The three main purposes for exploration were G-d, gold and glory. This means they wanted to spread their religion, bring riches back their home country, and increase the power or glory of their country. The four main European countries that explored were Portugal, Spain, England and France. France controlled much of what is today, Canada, and regions in Canada such as Quebec used to be part of New France. Spain controlled large parts of North and South America, formerly New Spain. Portugal claimed much of western South America (Modern Day Brazil) and England ruled the eastern coast of North America, formerly New England.

There were many explorers through the time period of 1487-1580. One of the most famous explorers is Christopher Columbus. He was an Italian sailor that sailed from 1492-1493. Intending to reach Asia by sailing west, Columbus accidentally discovered, on August 3, 1492, a small part of the Americas, known as the Bahamas, never knowing he had discovered a new continent.

Another explorer was Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish Explorer that heard about the wealth located throughout the Inca Empire. He decided to conquer the Incan Empire and steal much of their wealth.

Another famous explorer was Hernan Cortes. Cortes was a Spanish explorer that conquered the Aztec Empire. He conquered the Aztecs for the same reason as Pizarro did the Inca Empire, to steal much of the Aztec's wealth and bring it back to the motherland, which is an example of mercantilism.

Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange by Benjamin

The exchange of plants, animals, and ideas between the "New World" (the Americas) and the "Old World" (Europe and Asia) was known as the //Columbian Exchange//. The terms "Old World" and "New World" were from the point of view of the Europeans, who had not previously known of the Americas. To the Native Americans, however, the "New World" was not new at all. There were many new crops that traveled from the "Old World" to the "New World", such as, bananas, sugarcane, onions, oranges, and lettuce. The New World also shared new crops, such as, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, squash, and chocolates. Some animals that came from the "Old World" are pigs, cattle, and horses. This has impacted our world today, because almost everything that we eat came from trading during the Columbian Exchange. For example, a hamburger wouldn't have been on a menu at a fast food restaurant if it hadn't been for importing cattle (beef), onions, wheat (for the hamburger buns), and by having the tomatoes as products from the "New World."

Impact on Natives

Explorers, such as the Spanish, used imperialism to take away the land that belonged to the natives by FORCE.
The taking of native lands in the first major impact on natives. They were forced to give up lands that had been used for centuries by their ancestors.

The second major impact on natives was the spread of European and Asia diseases to the "New" World -- a negative example of cultural diffusion. Europeans who had lived through the Black Death and smallpox had immunity to it, but they carried it to the "New" World. However, Natives had never been exposed to diseases such as the Black Death, smallpox and other European diseases that, over time, killed up to three-quarters of the native population. The native population is still decreasing.
A third major effect was the spread of European religion to the natives. The Spanish worked very hard to try and convert the natives to Christianity, a monotheistic religion (the Natives were polytheistic).

Spanish Missions in Texas (CC)
Missionaries were sent to the "New" World to convert the natives. The Spanish set up missions all over the "New" World. They were each a day's (horse) ride from each other. The missionaries' jobs was to "force" natives to become Catholic Christians and if they did not, they would be killed. In this process, the culture of the native people was destroyed.

Effects of Exploration on language (CC)
All of these things resulted in a great loss of culture, language, and people.

The impacts on the modern world can still be seen to this day. The majority of South America and Central America (controlled by Spain during this age) still speaks Spanish today and the vast majority of these people are Catholic Christians. The United States is a majority Protestant country that speaks English (like the Pilgrims and Puritans who came from England). And Canada has French speaking sections showing the legacy of the French explores. Our world is a pure example of Cultural Diffusion.

Colonization Cartoon by Danielle and Emily, June 7, 2010


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Created By Sam and Karan June 4, 2009
Revised by Benjamin May 26, 2011
Revised by Sridhar Uppalapati May 16, 2013
Further Revisions by Jing, May 26, 2014