The Reasons Underlying European Expansion and Exploration


Reasons Underlying European Expansion and Exploration

It remains unclear why humanity chose
a relatively spontaneous moment to matriculate from the sheltered semicircle
of Mediterranean lands, to expand to the farthest reaches of the earth,
with an inchoate disregard for personal welfare.

However, pretentious man feels the need
to speculate and impart drivelous reason, vain though it be: What
were the causes of European expansion? An anonymous author
proffers this model conjecture, "Western Europe’s outward expansion in
the 15th and 16th centuries was caused primarily by the unique brand of
centralized governments which developed in England, France and Spain."

The duressed reply to such a statement is of ardent disagreement.

European expansion was not spearheaded or enticed by these governments
primarily, though they were contemporaneous and conducive. And Portugal,
a prominent figure in the assimilation of the New Land, should also be
considered, although it was annexed with the rule of king Phillip II of

Spain. The factors which propelled the exploration of these real"nether lands" were desires driven by religious domination, advances in
technology, geography, and (I admit no concession) the "unique brand of
centralized governments developing in England, France and Spain", though
this was not paramount relative to the aforementioned variables.

The tumultuous state of the various religions
of the Old World was as antiquated as Jesus. However, the rise of
the middle class in the high Renaissance defined the empowerment of the
proletariat heterotheists who, provided with this via to [their] God’s
untouched asylum, began to emigrate in the 17th century. The irritating
obstinacy of the followers of Mohammed had also began to pall; conversion
was a messy and expensive process, and most of the crusades had failed,
leaving Christians a desire to proselytize to an ear not attached to such
formidable agents of resistance as the Muslims. A Genoan explorer,

Cristóbal Colón, discovered an Indian race heretofore unseen
in 1492. These unenlightened, "Indians" insisted on hopping around
silly fires in bird costumes and found the eucharist an appalling practice
in cannibalism. God’s will be done! These were quite apparently
poor destitute souls crying for salvation, which was readily provided,
regardless of whether the rude indigenions knew it. Lacking Christ’s
commodities like gunpowder and taxation, these eager souls were fairly
responsive to the edifying institutes of the christian religion; and those
who resisted were gradually but steadily decimated over the next 200 years.

In Prestatial America, the colonies along the east coast later brought
the indians into the religious conflicts of their patron countries, converting
them into valuable minions of catholocism, calvinism, and anglicanism.

Before Phillip II absorbed the Portuguese
coast into his vast empire (thus causing it to be centralized), Portugal’s
earliest expeditions served as a prelude to the rest of europe’s
explorations. Driven by greed for gold, spices, and slaves, and the
desire to convert infidels, the Portuguese landed sporadically along the
continent of Africa, rounding the dangerous cape of good hope. The
great Prince Henry "the navigator" served as an exemplar for future explorations,
making voyages to Africa and founding his own navigation school centered
in Portugal in the 15th century. His expeditions down the west coast
of Africa heralded the age now commonly called "The age of discovery".

By controlling the gold issuing from Ottoman Africa, the Portuguese were
able to finance extremely expensive voyages, prodding the coasts and inlet
until Bartolomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1487. Another

Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, reached India and returned with such
lucre that the Portuguese King Manuel cast a series of perilous expiditions
which resulted in landholdings in present day Brazil, Africa, Arabia, India,

Java, and Mallaca.

Proceding during this age of european expansion
was the Renaissance, a cultural binding of antiquated history and advanced
concepts that resulted in a blossoming of anthropos that are arguably unexeeded.

One of these flowers was the progression of technology. The technology
stoked the enthusiasm for such voyages, and enterprising in turn lead to
the development of more refined instruments; it was a cause and an effect
of european expansion. Caravels, used by Colón to reach America,
were valued by voyagers for their speed and ease of steering in contrary
winds. Prior to the development of the spanish galleon they were the foundation
of Spanish shipping. However, their small size meant that space was limited;
while only 3 men were necessary to guide it, it was impractical for hauling
the extravagant cargo demanded by the patrons of the ships, usually kings
or other nobility. This lead to the development of the galleons,
which, with their tri-masted rigging, relative agility, and a generous
cargo capacity made exploration much more accessable