What was the main problem that Europeans encountered when sailing in the 1400's? Thanks in advance 

Expert Answers
hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the 1400s, explorers went out into the unchartered waters, despite the numerous harsh conditions they experienced. In the 1400s, many countries wanted to find a faster and more convenient way to trade with India; thus, they sent out explorers to see if they could find a way from the West. These explorers overcame many barriers, including insufficient knowledge about the ocean, inadequate food supplies, and disease.

Foremost, the European explorers lacked adequate knowledge about the ocean. During this time period, many individuals thought that the ocean was actually much smaller than it actually is. For example, they did not know that the Americas existed or even Australia. Furthermore, they did not have any maps of the area and were forced to rely on sailor’s tales about the water or weather.

Subsequently, the explorers lacked sufficient food supplies for the sailors. As a result of the ocean being much larger than they originally believed, the ships lacked ample food to get the sailors all the way around to India. As a result, the sailors were forced to eat whatever they could find (including the rats on the ship).

As a result of the poor food supplies and bad living conditions, much disease and sickness plagued the sailors. Scurvy was a common sickness that afflicted the sailors, which originates from a lack of Vitamin C. Unfortunately, many of the sailors died from the diseases and sicknesses simply because there was inadequate supplies to treat or prevent them.

Consequently, numerous hardships arose for explorers during the 1400s. Although the idea of adventure and exploration excited many, the hardship of travelling in such poor conditions caused many recruits to be the ones desperate enough to make the journey. Fortunately, some explorers were able to overcome these odds and discover the New World (America) and make it back home safely.