Europe before 1492 and the Reasons for Exploration
European Social Organization A Hierarchical Society Monarch Greater Nobles Lesser Nobles and the Church Peasants made up more than 90% of the population
Peasants - tied to their noble’s land - could not freely leave - heavily taxed by their ‘Lord’ The Church supported the feudal system and had its own wealth and had power over Kings and the nobility A Feudal Political & Economic System - Those on top of the system offered land and protection - Those below gave loyalty and military support
Factors encouraging European Exploration The Crusades - Between the 11 th and 13 th centuries Europeans, directed by the Church, Europeans unsuccessfully attempted to conquer the Near East, ‘the Holy Land’, from the groups who occupied the region. - Exposure to the East increased the demand for eastern goods, decline in church influence, and a decline in the noble classes
Population Recovery and Growth - the end of the Hundred Years War in Northern Europe and the end of the Plague led to a rise in population and the need for more territory
Renaissance Spirit - a ‘rebirth in learning’ that began in Italy during the 1300’s - led to increased interest in classical Greece and Rome - a focus on individual achievement - a desire to gain knowledge about the world, which encouraged exploration
Prince Henry the Navigator in Portugal - beginning in the early 1400’s - he supported the education of navigators - Encouraged the development of improved sailing technology - pushed for exploration of African coast
Growth of Commerce - wealth generated by trade instead of land ownership - an emerging merchant class, outside the feudal structure - led to a desire for new routes to the East, more natural resources and markets for trade
Rise of the Nations and Monarchs - European Monarchs had increased power, and with it an increased desire for more wealth & land Henry VIII of England Francis I of France
Fall of Constantinople - Constantinople was at the crossroads of Europe and Asia - The Ottoman Turks captured the city in 1453 - they limited Europe’s overland access to the Far East - this encouraged exploration for new routes to Asia by sea . - Classical texts recovered by fleeing scholars further spurred the Renaissance in Italy.
<ul><li>Advances in Sailing Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Advances in navigation: compass and astrolabe </li></ul><ul><li>Advances in ships: the lateen sail, ballast, bilge pump </li></ul><ul><li>A new kind of ship, the caravel, incorporated these advances </li></ul><ul><li>- These improved ships were able to travel along coastlines and across open water </li></ul>
Reformation - In 1517 Martin Luther began the division of the Christian Church. - The divided church led to: a decline in Church influence in many governments, religious conflict, & a desire for more religious freedom
<ul><li>Together these factors encouraged Europeans to explore the African coast and then venture across the Atlantic Ocean. </li></ul><ul><li>- This would lead to the opening of the Americas to exploration and colonization </li></ul>
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