Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Age of Discovery...

The Age of Discovery or Age of Exploration was a period from the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century, during which Europeans explored the world by ocean searching for trading partners and particular trade goods. The most desired trading goods were gold, silver and spices. During this time Europeans encountered peoples and mapped lands previously unknown to them. Among the most famous explorers of the period were Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan.

The birth of the Age of Exploration was dependant upon new technologies and ideas growing out of the Renaissance. These included advances in cartography, navigation, military technology and shipbuilding. Western Europeans used these technologies to seek a viable trade route to Asia which would be uncontested by Mediterranean powers. In terms of shipping the most important developments were the creation of the carrack and caravel designs in Portugal. These vessels evolved from medieval European designs from the North Sea and both the Christian and Islamic Mediterraenan. They were the first ships that could leave the relatively placid and calm Mediterranean, Baltic or North Sea and sail safely on the open Atlantic.


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