The Age of Exploration, also identified as the Age of Discovery, started in the 1400s and lasted through the 1600s. It was a time when the European nations were beginning to discover the globe. They explored new routes to India, to most of the Far East, and also to America. The Period of Discovery was conducted in parallel with the Renaissance.
History of Exploration
- The Era of Discovery started in Portugal, under Henry the Navigator’s leadership. Henry dispatched ships to chart and discover Africa’s west coast.
- They went further south than any previous European expedition and the Portuguese explored most of West Africa.
- Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer, was the first European to sail across the Southern tip of Africa and then into the Indian Ocean in 1488.
- The Spanish were able to find a trading route to the Far East.
- Explorer Christopher Columbus felt he might sail west to China, across the Atlantic Ocean.
- He was unable to get the Portuguese to finance his expedition, so he went to the Spanish.
- Spanish monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand decided to pay for their travel to Columbus. In 1492 Columbus discovered the New American World.
- In the Age of Discovery, Portugal and Spain were early leaders.
- The two countries have agreed to break up the New World through the Tordesillas Treaty. Spain got most of the Americas when Brazil, India, and Asia were in Portugal.
- Spain sent conquistadors over there to settle the Americas and conquer the populations.
- Hernan Cortes conquered the Mexican Aztec empire and Francisco Pizarro conquered the Peruvian Inca empire.
- They made Spain wealthy with the gold and silver found in the Americas. Portugal sent out Vasco da Gama, who discovered a trading route through Africa’s southern tip as well as to India.
- They also explored most of the Far East and were the first Europeans to set up a trade colony in Macau, China.