The Age of Exploration
The Renaissance brought an array of changes to the European continent. New innovations in the fields of science, math, arts, and literature were sparked during this time period. With the growth of humanism, secularism, and individualism, a spirit of curiosity and adventure developed amongst Europeans. As new innovations and ideas were forming during the Renaissance, it gave humans the ability to explore and travel to other parts of the world. The development of the compass, the lateen, and the astrolabe, coupled with a better understanding of the geography of the world, allowed Europeans to better navigate the oceans. With the development of gunpowder, humans were also able to protect themselves as they traveled. The advancement of technology played a key role in the Age of Exploration, however, the primary factors that started the surge were due to religious, economical, and social pursuits of power.
An important factor for the surge in exploration in Europe can be linked to the desire to spread Christianity. The monarchs of both Spain and Portugal financed their expeditions with the goal of spreading Catholicism to the New World. The foundation of Catholicism is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even Columbus himself had religious ideals while making his journey to find new lands. Columbus “believed he was a divine agent: ‘God made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new Earth of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John…and he showed me the post where to find it’ “ (McKay 499). Explorers Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama also had religious aspirations as they searched for a trade route to India. On every expedition, several missionaries were brought along in order to help convert the natives of the land to the Christian faith.
It was not only curiosity that led to the exploration of the new world, but instead dreams of riches, lands, and commerce. After the Black Death that decimated the population of...
Cited: McKay, John P, et al. A History of Western Society. New York, New York. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. Print.
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