April 29, 2011
World Civilization I
After the year 1400 the Europeans began exploring the world. There were several causes for this. This essay will attempt to explain a few of them.
There were several reasons that the Europeans began exploring the world after the year 1400. Some of these reasons include trade routes, rivalries, and expansion of empire.
In the 1400’s there was no refrigeration. Meats were dried and salted. Often they became spoiled and tasted bad. Food in general was bland. Then spices were introduced from Asia and India. Spices made food taste good. Spices made rotten, spoiled meat palatable. Europeans wanted and craved these spices. However, these spices could not be grown in Europe because of the climate. So spices were shipped overland through Asia and Turkey. Often these caravans of traders carrying the spices were robbed by bandits. It was difficult to bring the spices to market and they were expensive. Spices could be shipped via ocean route around the tip of Africa but this was very dangerous due to weather and pirates. Silk was another commodity originating in Asia which found a market in Europe. The Silk Road was an overland route from China stretching through the Middle East. Silk fabric was very expensive and prized in Europe. In 1453 these commodities became even more difficult to obtain because of the formation of the Turkish Empire. The Turks cut off the major overland trade routes to Asia and India. The Europeans tried several times to defeat the Turks in battle without success. Something had to be done. Another route had to be found. Thus, the European explorers of the era were funded by their respective King or Queen to try to find another way.
The war with the Turks and often each other left European coffers empty. These wars were expensive. There were several major European powers and rivalries. The push was on to find the riches of the new land and to...