How did the Crusades lead to exploration by Europeans?  

The Crusades led to exploration by Europeans in that they encouraged the development of trade between East and West. On their travels, Crusaders became acquainted with goods such as fine silks and spices that were unavailable at home. This led to a dramatic increase in international trade as well as further global exploration by Westerners.

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Whatever their original motives, the Crusades gave Westerners a taste for foreign goods. Items unavailable at home such as fine silks, spices, and precious metals were eagerly snapped up by the Crusaders on their travels. Once the Crusades ended, the opportunity was taken to develop trade routes between East and West that would allow a greater influx of luxury goods into Western Europe. In turn, this would stimulate the export of Western goods to the East.

Over time, however, the substantial gains from trade were not enough to satisfy the demands of a growing population. The buccaneering spirit that had animated the Crusades found a new outlet in the exploration of far-flung corners of the world. It is no accident, for example, that Marco Polo's epic voyage to China took place after the failure of the Ninth, and final, Crusade.

The energies that had previously gone into retaking the Holy Land from Muslims were instead channeled into a very different kind of conquest. The Crusades may...

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