What three factors led to Europe's "Age of Exploration"?

The three factors that led to Europe's "Age of Exploration" are commonly identified as God, gold, and glory. Missionaries often closely followed explorers in order to spread Christianity, and European countries hoped to acquire wealth, such as through finding a direct route to the Spice Islands of Asia, and glory, such as through finding new lands to add to an empire.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There were many factors that led to the European Age of Exploration. Three of the major ones had to do with the advent and adoption of new technologies, a desire to improve trade by discovering new routes, and a yearning to spread their religion to new lands.


Before the fifteenth century (with the exception of the Vikings), Europeans simply did not have the technology or seafaring knowledge to make long ocean voyages. However, the Renaissance was a time of new learning and advancements in understanding the sciences.

By studying the Ancient Greeks, Europeans unlocked knowledge that had been unstudied for centuries. For instance, Ptolemy had written a guide to cartography in the second century CE. Italian scholars translated this work and used it to help sailors explore new shores. European mapmaking only got more sophisticated from there. German cartographer Gerardus Mercator added lines of latitude and longitude to his famous map, making it easier for navigators to explore.


(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1040 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team