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 Technological Advances and the Age of Exploration
We Spaniards know a sickness of the heart that only gold can cure.
—Hernán Cortés (c. 1485–1547)
 Essential Question: What were the technological factors that contributed to European exploration and expansion from 1450 to 1648?
 Essential Question: What were the motivations and effects of European exploration and expansion from 1450 to 1648?
During the Renaissance, Europeans became more interested in the world around them. Intellectuals of the time studied classical texts and observed the natural world in order to understand it better. By the late 15th century, educated Europeans knew that the earth was round. Yet, they had little understanding of the size of their world, as few Europeans had traveled beyond their own region. This new era of exploration and expansion had profound effects on Europe and the rest of the world. However, it was more than curiosity that sparked the era of exploration and colonization beginning in the 15th century and continuing well into the 19th century.
Motives for Exploration
In the 15th century, Europe was not a particularly wealthy or intellectually advanced region of the world. Two overarching reasons historians sometimes give to explain why European states took the lead in exploration were “God and gold.” Yet behind these reasons also was the desire to gain power and glory for monarchs and emerging centralized states.
Christianity Stimulates Exploration
The desire of Europeans to spread and strengthen the Christian faith affected events both within and beyond the continent. Between the birth of Jesus and 1492, Christians had spread the faith throughout the Mediterranean world and into northern and eastern Europe.
Catholics React to the Reformation As Europeans began to explore the world, many wanted to spread Christianity. The split in Europe resulting from the Protestant Reformation (see Topic 2.2) increased the desire of some
TOPIC 1.6 TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THE AGE OF ExPLORATION 35
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