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Jenny Stevens

Pre-AP World History


Tierney Pd.7
9/10/12

Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration was a two hundred year period of Europe broadening horizons.
Literally, this was when Europeans began sailing and exploring new places. It began as a result
from three main causes: the desire to find new wealth, desire to spread Christianity, and
technological advances. Many effects came out of this evolutionary time, including wealth,
genocide and slavery, and the spread of European culture.
European explorers strived to find great wealth in oversea explorations. Europeans
demanded trade of spices and luxury goods from Asia which had been introduced to Europeans
during the Crusades. Europeans originally bought and traded with Muslim and Italian
merchants, but when their prices became too high, Europeans sought ways to trade with Asia
and bypass Italians. Portugal was also quick to discover new lands. Around 1500, Portugal
sailors captured the cities in India and the Malay Peninsula. Portugal now had power over
islands that were so rich in desirable spices that they were called the Spice Islands, resulting in
wealth. The Dutch soon became interested and began sailing with the largest fleet in the world,
consisting of twenty thousand vessels. They developed the Dutch East India Company in early
1600, a company that minted money, made treaties, and could raise an army. The Dutch seized
the port of Malacca and the Spice Islands from Portugal, and later controlled most of Indonesia
and the Cape of Good Hope. Each country that participated in this new desire to explore and
grow in wealth became very successful.
On a sadder note, slavery and genocide became an issue. The Atlantic Slave Trade was
developed by the European empires which lacked labor force. Slavery was nothing new to
Africa, but this was a new extreme. Millions of slaves were crammed into European ships,
suffering from various diseases and starvation. Hundreds of Africans died just from the trip to
the Americas. Christopher Columbus contributed to the killing of hundreds of Native Americans
when he arrived in the Americas. From the time he landed to the 20
th
century, the indigenous
population decreased by ninety six percent from massacre and foreign disease. In Christopher
Columbus, Mariner, author Samuel Eliot Morison accused Columbus of torture, rape, murder,
and enslaving Indians. Columbus also claimed to discover various medicines and methods that
have been proven to already exist before he arrived. It is debated today if Columbus was a true
hero, or really just a villain. The slavery and genocide that caused many deaths during the Age
of Exploration was a negative effect that is always remembered.
Through the Age of Exploration, many European influences were left all over the world.
Much of the European population spread across the world to places like the Americas and
India, beginning new civilizations. The English language spread to these places, making them
common languages still today. This time also influenced the admiration of art. Greek art
became very popular in India.
The European Age of Exploration was a very significant time in history. With all its pros
and cons, new worlds and trade routes were discovered. Without it, the world may not be
where it is today, the United States could be ruled by a completely different country. Although
millions of innocent people were hurt in the process, it is best to enjoy what is here today and
the incredible explorers who had the courage to make new discoveries.