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Elijah Whyte The European Age of Discovery I. A Snapshot of Europe, c.1450 A.1400-1600 AD is a period where Europeans began moving beyond the borders in Europe, into the Atlantic ocean. They were aware of many areas of the earth, but not beyond the Atlantic Ocean. Europeans discovered many island chains, and moved further down the coast of West Africa until they make it to two continents. It eventually led them to indigenous people of Africa, Asia, and etc. B.Why was there this hunger for Europeans to explore more? The 1300s were the Middle Ages. Two of the most powerful nations during this time, titled the Hundred Years war, was where France and England. It impacted all of Europe, and within the Middle Ages, the temperature dipped. The “little ice age” caused famine, due to crops not being able to grow from cold weather. They were desperate in search for food. Then, an outbreak goes out, called the “black death,” a disease originated from caravans through trade, and spreaded quickly. About ⅓perished in Europe because of this disease. This also caused trade to dwindle; goods sold less. C.The Ottoman Empire began expanding, and pushed into Europe. This threat were islamic turks (Muslim), so European Christians feared. D.Monarchies, or single rulers such as kings. The hierarchy functions from kings, to nobles, to peasants. Kings have judicial order, armies, and etc. There are four monarchies that were most powerful in this section. England, France, Spain and Portugal are the cream of the crop during this age of discovery. There are also smaller nation/states that have a republican government (Not a single ruler.) Italy was broken up initially, and they come out from Venice. Italian merchants became extremely wealthy. Luxury goods were prduced in Asia, gold found in Africa, and these goods are brought in by these merchants through on-land caravans. They had a great deal of power due to their wealth. E.These states are constantly competing. France tries to get the upper hand on England, England to Asia, so on and so forth. This competition was more fierce by age of discovery, since Europe was bouncing out of all of those tragic events. It was on the verge of becoming the most powerful continent on earth. II. Motivations for Overseas Expansion A.Why do Europeans want to expand? a.Trade. There was wealth to be made through commercial trade. They had long trade routes through Asia. Spices, gold, etc. The mediterranean was the hub for all trade systems. Beginning in the 14th Century, it became difficult… The Ottoman Empire continued to expand from Turkey outwards, and takes all over the Holy Land and push into Southeastern Europe. They will tax the Europeans to go through their trade routes since they’re observing. So the Europeans attempt to find alternate routes. It eventually leads them to aim west rather than
the eastern mediterranean. But once trade is oriented elsewhere, Italy cannot trade as easily. Europe’s supply of gold and silver was running out, so they begin looking for access to precious metals.