The Spanish and Portugese Motivations

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The Spanish and Portuguese motivation for exploration during the maritime revolution from 1400 to 1550 was to expand Christianity and gain new markets and territory, however, differ in Portugal wanted new resources and Spain wanted to make contact with East Asia and lands for further exploration. Both the Portuguese and the Spanish each wanted to acquire new land and establish new trading routes as well as shorter routes leading to the Indian Ocean and Asia. Both of the motivations followed four trends – revival of urban life and trade, the unique alliance between merchants and rulers in Europe, struggle for dominance of the Mediterranean, and growing intellectual curiosity of the outside world. The Portuguese had already found a new route to the Indian Ocean, before the Spanish did because they had improved navigational instruments including the compass. The Portuguese didn’t want to be the underdog in the rich trade of the Indian Ocean. One way they increased their trade was by finding a trade/ocean route that shortened their travel time because they were traveling with a prevailing northeast wind. This wind allowed them to go from Africa to Portugal making their return trip faster. Both the Portuguese and Spanish wanted to convert Africans to Christianity, and they made contact with Christian rulers in Africa in order to do this. The Portuguese wanted to acquire slaves. Portugal’s decision to invest significant resources in new exploration rested on the well- established Atlantic fishing industry and anti-Muslim warfare. The Portuguese captured slaves from Africa and traded them in the Northwest coast of Africa and the Canary Islands during the 1440s. The number of slaves captured and purchased on voyages exceeded 80,000 by the end of the 15th century. After the Portuguese had contact with West African trade routes, gold became a sought after commodity from this region. After conquering the city of Ceuta in 1415, Portuguese exploration of the West...
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