Prompt: Describe and assess the various motives for renaissance exploration.
Throughout the European Renaissance, many ideas and factors caused a shift in society allowing civilizations to look outward and explore other parts of the world. Several aspects of medieval culture acted as catalyst for Renaissance exploration such as social, political, and cultural influences, however, the influence of economic factors greatly outweighed that of any other stimuli.
Socially, the motives for exploration primarily pertained to one’s class, and the statues one could achieve in society. The fluid nature of the European society left its population, especially that of middle class looking to make profits through arising opportunities, such as exploration of the New World, including acquisitioning income from the movement of goods to and from the New World. This large middle class greatly increased consumption and the number of investors who put forth their economic means, allowing the great fluidity, which socially drove this prosperous middle class to take risk, resulting in obtaining higher statues in medieval society.
Political incentives for exploration are woven together, one pulling on the others in such a way that a seemingly minute occurrence sways the whole political structure and actions of medieval society. Many new nation-states increased their focus of trade in search of power and land. Prince Henry the Navigator from Portugal sponsored voyages and schools for navigators, thus allowing and influx of sailing based trade influences into European society, especially those of Portugal and Spain. These monarchs supported the middle class with the intention of expanding trade through the use of expensive voyages funded by wealthy patrons. However with common political interest comes the possibility of conflict. The Treaty of Tordesillas mitigated potential conflicts with Spain and Portugal by dividing the southern latitudes, especially the waterways...