Explain how the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks led to great discoveries of new routes ? 

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mrkirschner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Throughout history, wealth and prosperity has been a strong motivator for mankind.  During the early 1400's, a lucrative trade network existed between Europe and the Far East.  European goods were delivered over the Silk Road to India for spices and perfumes.  The road went to China for silk.  The path from Europe went through the Christian Byzantine Empire.  That is until 1453 when the Muslim Ottoman Empire captured the city of Constantinople.  The Christian kingdoms of Europe distrusted the Ottomans and would have liked to marginalize the empire if it could.  But more importantly, the Ottomans began to charge tolls and taxes for goods along the Silk Road.  This excise greatly harmed commerce in both directions.  Wealth and prosperity is a great motivator. European merchants, especially those from Spain and Portugal felt that they could navigate the seas to get around this tax and arrive at ports in India to secure their valued spices.  They could ship these spices back to Europe and make great profits.  These were the grounds for monarchs to fund overseas expeditions in the latter part of the 15th Century and the primary reason for the age of exploration.

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