Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration

The Age of Exploration, which began in the 1400s, was a significant era where Europe discovered and colonized unknown lands for the benefit of riches, religious beliefs and the desire to conquest. Europe had suffered great consequences after the Ottomans had taken control over their empire and later on when their capital, Constantinople, had fallen. Trading helped Europe establish a connection between different countries and had a major impact on its citizens. The European countries traded and traveled to different countries to gain riches, spread Christianity and increase power.

Exploring improved Europeans economically because of the valuable riches and gold that came from trading. Europe competed for control over the western trade routes to the east and resulted in wars between the Turkish empire. Those wars were expensive and they lost precious resources. They need to find lots of golds, silver, and stones in order to recover and grow as an empire. They believed that Asia contained precious gold that finding a trade route was positional. When they gained a trade route, Thomas Mun, an English economist, and mercantilist, describes how it had a positive impact on Europe’s economy. In the document, called “Thomas Mun”, it states, “…Behold the true worth of foreign trade, which is the great revenue of the king, the honor of the king… the supply of our wants, the employment of our poor, the improvement of our lands…’’ Those valuable goods gave them more power, resources, and advanced technology.

Trading helped spread Christianity to other nearby lands, like India and North America. With new lands to explore, the Christians missions were to spread Christianity to the native people living in those areas. They believed that they must spread their religion to the people of America and that God will reward them in doing so. In the document ‘‘Christopher Columbus’’, Christopher Columbus was sent by the Queen of England to go explore India and ‘‘to see the said princes, people, and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith;…’’ Christopher Columbus is going to travel to different lands, specifically India, to promote their Holy Christian faith. They were determined to convert the indigenous people of the lands to Christianity and turn them against the doctrine of Mohammed. Turning people into their Christian faith means more support to Europe and to take control over them. Especially, since before, the Ottoman Empire had controlled the sea route in the eastern Mediterranean, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, etc., and over Europe. When the empire fell, they needed as much support to gain wealth and power and one of the methods was to convert people to Christianity. Traveling and trading help spread their religion and gain more power.

Traveling gave rulers more power and glory. Some European rulers, like the King of Spain and the King of Portugal, wanted to claim as much land as possible. They sent out explorers to take all the natural resources from the lands and take people as slaves. Christopher Columbus, especially when traveling, saw conquering land as a way to gain power and recognition for himself. In the document written by Bartalome de las Casas, a 16th-century Spanish colonist describes how the Christians ultimate goal is to take over the land and take their gold. In the text, it states, ‘as their ultimate end, the Indians’ gold of them, and to stuff themselves with riches in a very few days, and to raise themselves to high estates without proportion to their birth or breeding.” This was common for people to set out an adventurous voyage to open seas to see what they can find to raise their ‘celebrity status.’ Christopher Columbus as an example of that. He controls any land, no matter what class he is, as long as Europe benefits from it. Moreland to control means more power to the nation, Europe.

Europe had many reasons to travel and all of them focuses on the benefits economically, politically, and socially. Economically, traveling lead to a world of trading which benefits everyone, especially to the rulers who conquer for gold and riches. There are more jobs for the poor, more land  

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Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration. (2021, May 31). Retrieved December 5, 2021 , from
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