Identify and explain the causes of European exploration.    

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There was a myriad of factors that went into the successful navigation of new lands in the Fifteenth Century. The motivation for exploration was primarily economic . Here are some reasons for European exploration of new lands.

The Renaissance had given Europe a sense that humans could achieve outstanding things. There was a belief that people do anything and go anywhere. This attitude prevailed as the Portuguese and Spanish took to the high seas.

The technology of navigating and shipbuilding caught up to the spirit of achievement fostered by the Renaissance. Ships were designed with stronger hulls, sails that could drive the ship with and against the wind, and navigation capabilities not known a generation earlier. Cannons were mounted on ships for protection.

The demand for spices and luxury goods from India and the far east was at a fevered pitch after the Crusades. Merchants knew that with this demand, they could make a fortune by directly trading with these places. The explorers were motivated to find a direct sea route to India.

The rise of the Turks, a Muslim empire in Asia Minor, was also an important factor. While Europeans enjoyed access to land routes before the Turks, these lines were cut off as the Turks were hostile toward the West.  

There was also a religious motive for exploration.  There was a desire to stem the tide of Muslim influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Europeans believed it was their duty to convert people to Christianity on these missions of exploration.