Age of Discovery

During the 15 century, the commercial economy of Western Europe had rapidly developed, which caused a dramatically increasing demand for gold in the region. However, there was a serious lack of gold in Western Europe. The book Travels of Marco Polo recorded that European treated eastern country as an earthly paradise full of gold.

Due to that fact, the European desired to eastern to achieve their gold dream1. Thus, during period between the 15th and the 17th century, fleets of European vessels started appeared in the ocean around the world. In order to develop new capitalism of Europe, the European wanted to explore new oceanic routes and seek potential partners. The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus was the first step to the Great Geographical Discovery.

In 14922, the Spanish Queen had successfully united the country,  the Queen hoped to rebuild a strong Kingdom and felt like exploring other new routes to Africa. Therefore, Spanish Queen became a sponsor who supported Columbus’s voyage. In 1492-1493, with the support of the Queen, Columbus and his crews set sail heading directly toward the west starting from Spain’s Barron Port for the first time. Columbus and crews reached the Bahamas, Cuba , Haiti and some small islands in the American eastern middle part. Therefore, Columbus pulled open the drapery. In order to confirm the routes, Columbus led his crews to voyage three times in 1493, 1498 and 1502. This time, he and crews had thus discovered other untouched lands such as Jamaica, Puerto Rico.3 What’s more, after a total four times of adventures, Columbus opened up a secure and brand-new transatlantic route from Europe voyaging across the Atlantic to America, which closely linked the Europe and America together. More importantly, a tightly close connection had begun to intertwine between the two continents.4

American museum

Image source:  http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437645

This article is written by Cuiyun Wu and Huishi Mai.

  1. Spufford, Peter (1989). Money and its Use in Medieval Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37590-8. Retrieved 2011-06-16. []
  2. Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999. []
  3. Levinson, Nancy Smiler. Christopher Columbus: Voyager to the unknown. Dutton Adult, 1990. []
  4. Washburn, Wilcomb E. “The meaning of” discovery” in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.” The American Historical Review (1962): 1-21. []

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