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Portugal began to explore sea routes to the far east in the first decades of the 15th century, and Spain was not far behind them. Interestingly, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain regarded the exploration between the two monarchies as something of a contest. So much so, that they ultimately signed a treaty between them and Portugal to divide the New World evenly among them. In addition, it was not long after the exploration by Portugal and Spain that France and England joined in the discovery of the New World. However, there was a common denominator among these monarchies that led to their 'success' in their exploration and conquest of the New World, better technology. Between 1350-1450 each of these countries developed their map skills, navigational capacities (due to the northern point compass), and advancements in ship building. There is no doubt that these conditional components allowed Europe to engage in the New World.
The major condition in Europe that led to the original conquest of the Americas was peace. This applies mainly to Spain which, of course, was the country that was first involved in conquering the New World.
Spain came to be able to explore because of the coming of peace. Up until 1492, the Spanish had been involved in wars against the Muslims, trying to push them out of the Iberian Peninsula. But then the Spanish won that struggle and were at peace. At that point, they were able to put their money towards exploration. Once Columbus "discovered" the New World, the Spanish were able to send soldiers to conquer who were no longer needed for wars in Spain itself.
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