What European conditions led to the exploration of the outer world?

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There were many conditions in Europe that led European nations to explore the world.  These conditions differed between countries and over time.  They range from religious reasons to reasons of temporal wealth and power.

  • Exploration requires resources.  One major condition that allowed European nations to go exploring was an improvement in economic conditions around much of Western Europe.  The Black Death had disrupted the economy in the 1300s, but countries had bounced back from that and become much more prosperous.  This allowed them to have the resources to spend on exploration.
  • Exploration requires technology.  Technological improvements were another condition that allowed exploration to happen.  Europeans (in part through contact with the Muslim world) had new types of technology that improved navigation.  They had also devised ships that were better for long-distance travel on the open ocean.
  • Exploration requires motives.  There were many motives coming out of the conditions in Europe.  There was the desire for economic gain.  Countries felt that they could become richer by finding new trade routes.  There was a desire for the glory and power that discovery could bring.  There were also the remnants of the spirit of the Crusades that led people to want to Christianize lands where the faith had not yet been introduced.

All of these conditions helped cause Europeans to explore the world.

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