Gold, God or Glory?

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It’s 1491. You’ve just gotten out of prison after doing three years for taking part in burning a heretic. You’re not married, you have no kids and you don’t have too much going on for you right now. The minute you get out, you’re best friend is right there waiting for you. He’s got the let’s do something insane face you’ve grown to hate. You don’t know what he’s going to ask you but you know it’s crazy. He says, “Want to travel across the sea with me?” Through word of mouth, he’s been asked by a man, who goes by Christopher Columbus, to travel with him and eighty other men on a ship across the Atlantic. It’s crazy, it’s reckless but will you go? Why would a person living in Spain decide to pack up and leave everything he was use to in search for new lands? Did these men long to travel thousands of miles across the ocean facing and unknown death for simply religious reasons? Or was it because these men were willing to risk all, start a new beginning and take the chance at gaining massive wealth and glory? There is no doubt that for most men, gold was the main source of motivation for explorers, followed closely by fame and lastly God. Especially apparent in Aguirre, or the Wrath of God, the Spaniard’s risking travel across the Atlantic did so because they wanted to receive the ultimate reward, gold and lots of it. The myth of the riches is not a myth at all but rather can be presented as fact. The desire to travel in search of riches dates back to before Spain’s dominance as a nation during time when the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were still separated. Portugal’s ideal location near the Atlantic Ocean made it ideal for the country to travel up and down the cost of Africa. As a result, the Portuguese nation grew tremendously wealthy due to its easy sea access along the coast allowing the trade of products and slaves. “Arguably, the quest for direct access to West African slaves led directly to the Iberian discovery of the Americas.” The sudden...
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