On the Brink of a New World
❖ By the 16th century, the Atlantic seaboard had become the center of a commercial activity that raised Portugal and Spain and later the Dutch Republic, England, and France to prominence ➢ the age of expansion was a crucial factor in the European transition from the agrarian economy of the MA to a commercial and industrial capitalistic system.
❖ Contact w/non-Europeans remained limited until the end of the 15th century
❖ Europeans had always been curious about lands outside of Europe
❖ Although Muslim control of Central Asia cut Europe off from the countries farther east, the Mongol conquests in the 13thc reopened the doors ❖ Marco Polo went to the court of Kublai Kahn in 1271
➢ His account of his experiences, the Travels was the most informative of all descriptions of Asia by ME travelers ❖ In the 14th, the conquests of the Ottoman Turks and then the breakup of the Mongol Empire reduced Western traffic to the East ➢ A number of people became interested in reaching Asia by sea ➢ Merchants, adventurers, and government officials had high hopes of finding precious metals and new areas of trade
❖ A crusading mentality was strong in Portugal and Spain
❖ The expansion of Europe was connected to the growth of centralized monarchies during the Ren. ➢ Ren. Expansion was a state enterprise
➢ By the 2nd ½ of the 15th century, European monarchies had increased both their authority and their resources and were in a position to look beyond their borders
❖ Europeans had achieved a level of wealth and technology that enabled them to make a regular series of voyages beyond Europe. ➢ Potlolani - charts made by medieval navigators and mathematicians in the 13th and 14th which were more useful than their predecessors. They took no account for the curvature of the earth so were of little use for oversea voyages ❖ By the end of the 15thcentury, cartography had developed to the point that Europeans had accurate maps of the rest of the known world ❖ One of the most important world maps available was that of Ptolemy, who wrote Geography. It was available from 1477 on. It drastically underestimated the circumference of the earth, leading explorers such as Columbus to believe that he could sail to Asia
Ships and sailing
❖ Europeans developed seaworthy ships as well as new navigational techniques ➢ They mastered the axial rudder and learned to combine lateen sails with a square rig. They could then construct ships mobile enough to sail against the wind and engage in naval warfare and heavy enough to carry goods over long distances ➢ Only w/the assistance of the compass and the astrolabe they were able to sail w/confidence ➢ They gained knowledge of the wind patterns of the Atlantic Ocean
New Horizons: Portuguese and Spanish Empires
❖ Portugal took the lead in the European AOE when it began to explore the coastof Africa under the sponsorship of Henry the Navigator. ➢ His motivations were a blend of seeking a Ch. Kingdom as an ally for against the Muslims, acquiring trade opportunities, and extending chr.
The Development of a Portuguese Maritime Empire
❖ In 1419, p. Henry founded a school for navigation. Shortly after, P. fleets probed southward along the west coast of Africa looking for gold ➢ In 1441, p. ships reached the Senegal River and brought back slaves ➢ they gradually went down the coast and in 1471 they discovered a new source of gold along the southern coast of the hump of West Africa—the Gold Coast ➢ They leased land from local rulers and built stone forts along the coast The Portuguese in India
❖ In 1488, Bartholomeu Dias was the 1st to round the Cape of Good Hope ❖ 10 years later, Vasco da Gama rounded the cape then stopped at several ports controlled by Muslim merchants. They...