The Age of Exploration
The World Beyond Europe
The Crusades – Success? Or Failure?
• The Crusades -Holy Wars between
Christians and Muslims – failed to regain
permanent control of Jerusalem.
• The Crusaders frequently showed the worst
traits of men, such as greed and the quest
for power. The wars left bitter resentment
of both sides.
• One positive outcome of the Crusades was
that the West became aware of the goods
and products found in the East and they
Marco Polo, born in Venice in
1254, was too young to travel
to China with his father,
Niccolo, and his uncle,
Maffeo, on their first trip, but
he returned with them in 1271.
Kublai Khan made Peking the
capital of his vast empire and he
asked Marco Polo to stay with him
and serve in his court as
ambassador to other areas. Polo
stayed in China for 15 years and
learned much about Japan, China,
The Travels of Marco Polo…
Marco Polo spreads the word…
• Western travelers, like Marco Polo,
explored the East and returned to tell
Europe about the wealth of exotic goods
produced in the East.
• At first traders tried going over land but
that was costly and dangerous.
• European leaders began to support voyages
to explore the possibilities of an “All-Water
Route” to the East – places like India, the
Spice Islands, Japan, and China.
Capitalism gets involved…
• Once other people in Europe learned about
the products and the riches that were to be
found in the East they all wanted more.
They saw that Europeans would pay dearly
for the rich fabrics and spices found there.
• Other adventurers began seeking ways to
get to the riches of the East.
• Investors were willing to back an
expedition with their money because the
return on their investments could be huge.
Europeans learned from Arab sailors…
• New sailing methods and better ships that
Europeans gained from Arab sailors made
travel and exploration safer and easier.
• A stern rudder and a lateen sail improved
sailing vessels and their abilities to sail in
all types of water and the astrolabe made
navigation more accurate.
• What they needed was more trained sailors
to get involved.
Early European exploration attempts
• 1419 – Prince Henry the Navigator
establishes a Naval observatory for
teaching navigation, astronomy, and
cartography. He brought scholars from all
over Europe to learn skills of navigation.
• 1432 - Portuguese navigators discover the
Azores off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.
• 1441 - Portuguese navigators cruise West
Africa and reestablish slave trade.
Prince Henry’s School of Navigation
Prince Henry was a man educated in the spirit of the
Renaissance. His curious mind wanted to know what lay
beyond the narrow confines of Europe.
Being a devout Christian, Henry wanted to contact the
gold-rich Christian kingdom of Prester John, supposedly
somewhere in Africa. Once contact had been made, Prince
Henry planned a new crusade against the Moslems.
The Spice Trade, was based upon trade with India and
"the Spice Islands". This trade was controlled by Arabs and
Venetians. If Portuguese sailors found a sea-route to India
they could bring the spices back directly to Portugal.
Portugal would then become the richest country in Europe.
Prince Henry wanted to explore…
• Henry was a Portuguese prince, the fourth
son of John I. He began a school for
navigators in 1419 and under his patronage
Portuguese sailors explored and colonized
Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and the
Azores; they sailed down the African coast
almost to Sierra Leone.
• Henry gathered mapmakers, ship builders,
mathematicians, astronomers, and scholars
to his court at Sagres on the coast of
Portugal and allowed them to develop new
methods and maps.
Prince Henry the Navigator in his Nautical School of
Sagres, Portugal, played an important role in the Age
of Exploration. Here the scholars created better
maps, faster ships, more efficient sails, better rudders,
and more knowledgeable sailors.
Portuguese Navigation successes…
• 1453 - Turks overrun Constantinople,
shutting off the overland trade route. This
means explorers will have to go by sea.
• 1470-84 – Portuguese explorations
discover Africa's Gold Coast and the
• Portuguese sailors establish forts and
trading posts all along the African coast to
protect their trade routes.
• 1487 - Bartholomew Dias sails around the
Cape of Good Hope proving that one could
get to the East by sailing around Africa.
Spain must choose another way…
• Because the Turks closed the land route to
China, and Portugal claimed the African
route, Spain had to find another way.
• Christopher Columbus traveled to Spain to
beg for Ferdinand and Isabella’s support in
exploration. They refused because they
were in a war with the Moors.
• When the Moors were driven out of Spain
in 1492, the Spanish rulers financed
Columbus’s first voyage.
Columbus sails with the help of Ferdinand and Isabella…
Columbus sails the ocean blue…
• When Columbus set sail in 1492, he had
three ships and about 90 crewmen, mostly
very young men looking for adventure.
• The journey took more than eight weeks
and many wanted to turn back, but finally
Columbus landed on islands in what he
called the Indies. He thought he had
reached islands off China or India and
claimed the land for Spain.
• The Portuguese claimed the land they
found for Portugal. Trouble was brewing.
• The Pope in Rome saw that there was
trouble brewing with two Christian nations
possibly claiming the same lands, so he
decided to draw an imaginary line in the
Atlantic Ocean dividing the claims.
• 1494 - The Treaty of Tordesillas divided
the world between Spain and Portugal for
the alleged purpose of spreading
Christianity. Spain received everything to
the west of the line and Portugal gained
everything to the east of the line.
The Pope finds a way to keep the peace…
Line of Demarcation (1493) – Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)
Magellan’s Long Voyage…
• Magellan was Portuguese but he sailed for
Spain when his own king would not sponsor
• In 1519, Magellan set out from Spain to sail
around the world, with five ships and a
crew of 250 men. Many times the crews
wanted to turn back. The voyage seemed to
be doomed. Many starved or died of
• Magellan was killed in the Philippines but
18 of his men got back to Spain in 1521.
The world was round but very large…
• Magellan’s voyage proved that one could
sail all the way around the world but that it
was very dangerous and took a very long
time. Circumnavigation was possible but
was not practical.
• Spain gave up the idea of sailing to the East
and concentrated on the wealth they found
in New Spain – known as Central and
South America today.
Motivations for Exploration…
• The Portuguese wanted to be rich and powerful.
Prince Henry wanted to find gold to finance the
fight against the enemies of Christianity.
• The Spanish were seeking “God, gold, and glory.”
They wanted to Christianize all they met and get
as much gold and glory as possible.
• The French were seeking an all-water route,
exploring the rivers of North America- fur trade
• The English came at first for gold but then
decided they wanted their independence and the
freedom they could find in the New World.