motives for european expansions

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The Europeans were motivated to embark on voyages for discovery had many motives. One motivation was to find the fantastic lands described in works such as the Travels of Mandeville and the legends of the magical kingdom of Prester John. Columbus even took a copy of Marco Polos Travels with him on his voyages. The most important motive was economic. The conquests of the Ottoman Turks had cut the Europeans off from trade with Asia. The overland trade routes were controlled by the Arab Muslims who functioned as middle men who marked up the prices of spices and other goods coming from Asia. Therefore, many Europeans became interested in finding a sea route to Asia which would by-pass these intermediaries. In addition, the Portuguese and the Spanish had been fighting to expel the Muslims from Portugal and Spain for many years. Consequently, the Spanish and the Portuguese became religious zealots and consequently sought to convert other non-Christians they encountered. In addition, advances such as navigation charts (portolani) and the recently translated edition of Ptolemys Geography made navigation easier. New developments in ships, such as the axial rudder and lateen sails, allowed sailors to sail against the wind while the compass and astrolabe made navigation easier. How did Portugal and Spain acquire their overseas empires, and how did their empires differ The Portuguese voyages of exploration started with Prince Henry the Navigators exploration of the west coast of Africa. In addition to exporting African slaves to Europe, the Portuguese found large deposits of gold which enriched their nation. This success spurred further exploration, this time to India when Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope allowing the Portuguese access to the east coast of Africa and India and the highly profitable spice trade. They eventually set up trade as far as China, but did not colonize these regions. Their superior ships enabled them to easily defeat their Arab

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