Dbq on Exploration Essay
Imagine you are living in the 1400s in Europe. You are an explorer traveling the vast seas looking for uncharted territory. Your goal is to find new trade routes, goods, and land. This was the goal of many European explorers. Up until this point, the Vikings had developed trade networks. Leif Eriksson, a son of a Viking, sailed from West Norway to Greenland when heavy winds blew his ship to the coast of North America. It was not until 300 years later, in the 1400s, when people became interested in the discovery of new land and when Henry the Navigator advanced exploration by building a navigation school.
Advancements in technology and a desire for new goods and new trade routes helped bring about the Age of Exploration, while slavery, disease, and war were some negative effects of the colonization of the New World. Technology in Europe advanced the causes of exploration, while the desire for goods in Asia and Africa gave Europeans the determination to explore. A special type of ship called a Caravel was used in many European explorations. They were small, sturdy, and used triangular sails which allowed them to sail against the wind. Rudders at the back of the ship improved the ship’s steering.
With an improved ship design, sailors were able to sail longer distances with ease. Astrolabes also improved explorations. As stated in document 2, “The Mariner’s Astrolabe was used to determine the latitude of a ship at sea by measuring the noon altitude of the Sun or the meridian altitude of a star of known declination. ” Astrolabes improved explorations by charting the position of the stars, so sailors could measure how much longer they needed to travel by sea. Caravels and Astrolabes allowed sailors to travel to Asia and Africa. Europeans wanted Asian spices and they were interested in Asian culture.
When Europeans sailed to Africa, they negotiated for gold, ivory, and slaves. European explorers could not have used these goods for trade without finding new trade routes. New trade routes helped explorers discover uncharted territory. In 1488 Bartholomeu Dias led an expedition from Portugal heading south along the African coast. The southern tip of Africa became known as the Cape of Good Hope. Sailors used this route to obtain goods from Africa. Later, King Manuel of Portugal sent Vasco da Gama on an expedition around the Cape of Good Hope.
Da Gama arrived in southwestern India the next year, which meant that Portugal had found a sea route to Asia. Document 3 shows that prior to the new trade routes, the Muslims would distribute Asian goods to the Italians, who would then distribute the goods to North Europeans. Each time goods exchanged hands from Asia to the Middle East to Europe, the price would increase. Explorers were now able to obtain goods at a lower cost in greater quantity. New technology and a desire for goods and trade routes caused the Age of Exploration.
While many say this positively influenced colonization, there were also many negative effects, such as slavery, disease, and war. The Europeans needed slaves to do manual labor for them. These laborers had to be able to withstand hard working conditions and poor treatment. As shown in Document 1, the Spanish would cut off the hands of Natives for not meeting their gold quota. When slaves did not meet their requirements, it did not go unpunished. Slaves would also have to grow and harvest crops, since their main job was fieldwork which was very labor intensive. The spreading of diseases was another effect of colonization.
Europeans would become ill or even die because of diseases that slaves had brought over to the colonies by ship. As described in Document 4, “… The air [on the ship] soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died – thus falling victims to the improvident avarice, as I may call it, of their purchasers. ” These ships were extremely crowded, left no room to be comfortable, and, in many cases, led to death. Another way people died was from war brought about when the land that the Europeans once claimed was taken away.
As shown in Document 7, between 1689-1763, many wars broke out among competing countries. These wars included King William’s war, Queen Anne’s war, King George’s war, and the French and Indian war. Diseases and wars devastated colony population. Living in the 1400s as a European explorer had many benefits, and, unfortunately, many negative outcomes as well. The advancement of technology and the desire for goods and trade routes helped to advance the Age of Exploration. However, this brought about such negative effects as disease, slavery, and wars. Would you choose to sail the vast seas as a European explorer living in the 1400s?