Sahara coast. These improvements enabled explorations to penetrate farther
but had no part in its commencement.
So Davis says that neither ideological crusading nor technical changes can
account for the sudden 15
century achievement in exploration by a hitherto
insignificant nation. Portugal was a poor and small country with a
The extent of the export trade in oil, cork, fruit, wax and honey and the need
for corn fostered the growth of the Portuguese shipping industry. The
economical craft which it used found favor with the merchants of the great
Mediterranean trading cities-Genoa, Barcelona ,Florence-and were widely
employed in their carrying out trade.
Portuguese fisheries were well developed and extended far beyond native
waters to the North African and Irish coasts. Enterprise in Portugal was
directed towards the sea and adequate resources existed not only for
exploration but also for the vigorous exploitation of new discoveries whether
on the African coast or Atlantic islands.