Why were European explorers interested in exploring the world?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The typical answer to this is that European explorers were interested in exploring for “God, gold, and glory.”  Different explorers could have had different mixes of these motivations, but these were the basic things that motivated them.

“God” stands for the idea that some explorers were motivated by the desire to spread the word of God around the world.  Christians of that era believed that people would be damned if they did not become Christian.  They felt that God would be happy if they spread Christianity around the world and thereby saved people’s souls.

“Gold” stands for the wealth that could be gotten through exploring.  Some of this wealth would be given to the governments that sent the explorers, as was the case with the gold and silver of South America.  The explorers themselves would also stand to benefit as they would typically be richly rewarded for discovering new lands.  For example, they might be allowed to govern those new lands, which would give them many opportunities to make money.

“Glory” stands for the individual fame that explorers could get and the prestige that their nations could acquire.  An explorer who discovered a new land would become famous and (as we now know) would have their name remembered hundreds of years later.  A country whose explorers found and claimed new lands would seem more important because it had a big empire.  In these ways, exploration brought glory.

Please remember, then, the phrase “God, gold, and glory” to help you remember why European explorers wanted to explore.

shellbz | Student

From the beginning of time travel and exploring have been something people love to do. Whether it's for gold or something else it is up to those traveling but Europeans wanted to.expand the same as any nation so.finding new land and building more was always a part of every countries structure.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question