What were the three major motivating factors that led to European exploration in the 1400s?

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The Age of Exploration was a period in history in which many European countries set sail in search of new lands to conquer and colonize. Historians believe that there are a number of reasons which explain this sudden interest in exploration, beginning first with a desire for gold and riches ....

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The Age of Exploration was a period in history in which many European countries set sail in search of new lands to conquer and colonize. Historians believe that there are a number of reasons which explain this sudden interest in exploration, beginning first with a desire for gold and riches. It was not only individual explorers who hoped to get rich by findings new lands; European monarchs, who sponsored these ventures, also wanted to stock up on gold and silver so that they gain prestige and build larger armies and navies which could dominate other countries.  

Secondly, innovations in science and technology were responsible for European exploration in the 1400s. Sail-powered ships replaced those driven by men with oars and map-making became more precise and accurate. Inventions like the astrolabe enabled explorers to work out latitude and the magnetic compass, which was developed in the twelfth century, was greatly improved.

Finally, the Christian desire to convert non-believers was another motivating factor for explorers. This had really begun in the Crusades of the eleventh and twelfth centuries but the desire to spread the word of God was just as strong in the 1400s. Like the Crusades, explorers concentrated much of their efforts on Muslims in the East but conversion extended to all peoples of all faiths.

 

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