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European Explorations

            European explorations from about 1450 to about 1525 were altered in many different ways. Traveling across a sea was a new concept for Europeans and many explorers like Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan. Specifically, economic, technological, political, and religious factors promoted European explorations.
             Many different economical factors helped promote the explorations. The discovery of America opened up new ground for the bourgeoisie. Christopher Columbus took a westward voyage and struck land. The people there were called Indians and the land where Columbus landed was soon called the West Indies. Trade began between Europe and America. Trade strengthened merchant groups, encouraged commerce and production for the markets. The trade of the Venetians was confined to products of the Near East only. The conquistadores came to the new lands. Cortes conquered the Aztecs and Incas. Mines were opened almost immediately for precious metals. American production of precious metals shot up and soon half a million pounds of silver and ten thousand pounds of gold flowed from America to Spain. The riches of Potosi financed the European projects of the king of Spain.
             Technological factors also promoted European explorations. Before the invention of clocks, mariners had no way of determining longitude. Many geographical experts made maps like Jacques Cartier for France, and Schoner. A Spanish expedition led by Magellan found a southwestern passage, sailed form the Atlantic into the Pacific, and discovered the Philippine Islands. The idea of the true size of the oceans was brought back to Europe. Schoner immediately incorporated the new knowledge to the maps that he had made in 1523. An English expedition discovered the White Sea and Archangel became an ocean port. In the fifteenth century, improvements in shipbuilding, the rigging of sails, and the adoption of the mariner's compass made it possible to sail on the open ocean.

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