Throughout the sixteenth century, expanding boundaries was an extremely prominent part of European culture. Although the movement technically started in 1492, when Christopher Columbus first discovered the Americas, the sixteenth century is commonly referred to as the Age of Expansion and Discovery. As historian Ian Morris points out, "The West has been the most developed region of the world for fourteen of the last fifteen millennia" (25). So what was it about about early European civilization that made it so developed and advanced? .
One major contribution was European Exploration. European Exploration brought about advancements that would prove to have rippling effects throughout Europe, such as the Columbia Exchange and the Triangular Trade Route. These advancements helped Europe to make great improvements as well as provide Europeans and Americans with hardships. European Explorers had very clear motives and causes for expanding, and many of these goals were achieved along with even more advancements and consequences. .
Early causes for European Expansion derived from many different aspects. European explorers hoped to find riches in far off distant countries as well as to discover a sea route to Asia. Through these sea-routes, explorers saw a future of economic wealth and power. Dealing with an increase in population from the sixteenth century on, Europe began to have limited resources. Europe also endured many poor harvests which caused inflation and plague. Basic resources like wool and leather became harder to access. Due to these circumstances, Explorers were on a search for spices like ginger, cinnamon, pepper and more domestic goods like gold, silver, silk, and ivory. .
Europeans also had clear religious aims in their expansion, which included the hope to spread Christianity to people around the world and drive Muslims out of other lands. Another driving factor towards expansion was the whole spirit and attitude towards discovery that had encapsulated the European mindset.