The Age of Exploration

Topics: Europe, Americas, United States Pages: 3 (1090 words) Published: April 29, 2005
The desire to explore the unknown has been a driving force in human history since the dawn of time. From the earliest documented accounts, ancient civilizations have explored the world around them. Early adventures were motivated by religious beliefs, a desire for conquest, the need for trade, and an unsatisfying hunger for gold. The great Age of Exploration, beginning in the late 1400s, was an important era in the discovery and development of lands yet unknown to the Europeans. During this period, Europe sought new sea routes to Asia in pursuit of economic gain, increased glory, and opportunities to spread Christianity. Although these were motivations for explorers, the impact from the discoveries resulted in significant changes and achievements that created possibilities and opened a window to a new world for all of Europe. If were not for the superpowers of Spain, Portugal, England, France, and the Netherlands, the world as we know it would not exist.

Leading the way in the exploration of the world was the nation of Spain with a man named Christopher Columbus. Originally intending to find an eastwardly trade route to Asia, Columbus accidentally discovered the Americas instead. When word of this "New World" reached Europe, it virtually started race between the Nations there to claim there own piece of it. Spain continued their exploration there and rapidly claimed many resources and lands, but one thing was hindering them. The native Populations of the New World were getting in their way. They soon initiated a campaign of systematic anhilation of the Natives. Conquistadors soon flocked from Spain to rid the world of these savages. Soon, Hernan Cortez had conquered Mexico and the Aztecs, while Francisco Pizarro conquered Peru and the Incans. The Spanish armory was far greater then that of the Indians, but these explorers had another weapon far more superior. The weapon they had was known as disease, which included the Small Pox and measles. Their prize for...
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