Explain the rivalry between Spain and Portugal during the fifteenth century in the "Age of Discovery."

The rivalry between Spain and Portugal in the "Age of Discovery" caused Spain, a rising power, to seek a new route to Asia like the one Portugal had found around the southern tip of Africa. This led Spain to be receptive to the claims of Christoper Columbus that he could get to India by sailing west. The rivalry between Spain and Portugal, therefore, led to Columbus's arrival in America.

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The defeat of the Byzantine Empire by the Muslim Ottoman Empire was a great blow to European trade with Asia. The Byzantines, who had been friendly towards European traders and charged reasonable tolls for overland travel through their territories, were replaced with a more hostile group. The Ottoman Empire demanded tolls for passage so high that they were taking the profit out of trade with India and China. Further, Barbary pirates now roamed the Mediterranean Sea, greatly adding to the risk to Europeans of sea passage to Asia.

The European nations were desperate for goods from the "Orient," such as spices and textiles which they could not produce at home. Portugal, which had been improving its navigation technologies, decided to find an alternate route to Asia that would avoid the Ottomans entirely. They managed to discover a route around the southern tip of Africa and across the Indian Ocean to India. This made them a very wealthy and powerful nation.

Spain, at this time consolidating...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 918 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on September 3, 2020