World History

Age of Exploration and Discovery of Renaissance

The 1400s marked the start of the Age of Exploration, often known as the Age of Discovery, and it lasted until the 1600s. It was a time when European countries started their global exploration. They found fresh ways to the Americas, much of the Far East, and India. The Renaissance occurred at the same time as the Age of Exploration.

Why explore?

An expedition’s gearing up could be costly and dangerous. Numerous ships never came back. What motivated the Europeans to explore, then? The easy response is money. The major goal of an expedition was to make money, even though some explorers aspired to become famous or have an adventure.

How were expeditions funded?

The main source of income for expeditions was the opening up of new trade routes for their countries. Numerous commercial routes to India and China were cut off after the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453. Due to the rich goods they brought in, such spices and silk, these trading routes were of great value. In search of ocean-going routes to India and the Far East, new expeditions were launched.

Some voyages, like the Spanish explorations of the Americas, were wealthy as a result of finding gold and silver. Additionally, they discovered additional territory on which to build colonies and cultivate crops like cotton, sugar, and tobacco.

The Navigator Henry

Under Henry the Navigator’s direction, the Age of Exploration got underway in Portugal. Henry dispatched ships to map and investigate Africa’s west coast. They explored a large portion of western Africa for the Portuguese and travelled farther south than any earlier European expedition. Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer, was the first European to round Africa’s southernmost point and enter the Indian Ocean in 1488.

Christopher Columbus

The Spanish were eager to establish a trade route to the East soon. Christopher Columbus believed he could travel to China by sailing west over the Atlantic Ocean. He turned to the Spanish when he was unable to convince the Portuguese to support his expedition. The kings of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand, consented to fund Columbus’ journey. Columbus made his discovery of the New World in the Americas in 1492.

Portugal and Spain

Early leaders in the Age of Exploration were Portugal and Spain. The two nations agreed to split the New World through the Tordesillas Treaty. Most of the Americas went to Spain, while Brazil, India, and Asia went to Portugal.

Conquistadors were sent from Spain to the Americas to discover the continent and subjugate its inhabitants. In Mexico, Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztec Empire, and in Peru, Francisco Pizarro overthrew the Inca Empire. With the gold and silver they discovered in the Americas, they made Spain wealthy.

Vasco da Gama was sent by Portugal to find a trade route around the southernmost point of Africa and to India. They also extensively explored the Far East, becoming the first Europeans to build a commercial colony in Macau, China.


Colonies were founded in the New World by other nations, including Great Britain and the Netherlands. In terms of the size of its global empire, including the thirteen colonies in the Americas that would later become the United States, Great Britain would eventually surpass all of the European countries.


One of the most significant periods in the history of global geography was the Age of Exploration. During this brief time, a sizable chunk of the uncharted earth was mapped. Additionally, significant advancements in navigation and mapping benefited upcoming explorers and travellers.

Facts Worth Knowing About the Age of Exploration

Southeast Asia and India as a whole were collectively referred to as the “East Indies” by Europeans throughout the Age of Exploration.

Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese adventurer, was in charge of the first mission to circumnavigate the globe. Sadly, Magellan died while on the trip and did not finish the journey.

Eastern Australia, the interior of Africa, the Arctic, and the Antarctic were just a few of the regions of the planet that were not properly surveyed or explored until well after the Age of Exploration.

A Northwest Passage to East Asia was sought for by numerous explorers, including Captain James Cook and Sir Francis Drake, but it wasn’t until 1906 that explorer Roald Amundsen made the route.