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APUSH Notes – Motives for European Exploration 1400-1700
A) Expansion of Trade
1. Crusades opened Europe up to the riches and technology of the Far and Middle East.
2. northern Italy – Venice, Genoa dominated Far East trade
3. Travels of Marco Polo (not the swimming pool game) stimulated interest in Asia
4. Hanseatic League – German and Scandinavian cities along the Baltic Sea
5. Products and profits from Asia (silks, spices) spurred interest in Far East trade. Remember the Silk Road
from World History class
6. Expansion of the Merchant Class in Europe – new source of wealth and power to support kings which
assisted in weakening the power of feudal lords.
B) Technology
1. Compass – navigation tool for finding direction on the ocean
2. Gunpowder – military advantage for subduing native peoples
3. Astrolabe – navigation tool using the stars to locate ones’ position in the ocean
4. caravel (ship) – hull design and sails allowed ships to sail the oceans
5. moveable type – Gutenberg press allowed information to spread more easily
6. cartography – map making improved
7. Prince Henry (Portugal) – founded a navigation school
C) Rise of Nation States
1. Spain – Ferdinand and Isabella (Reconquista 1492)
2. England – Elizabeth I
3. France
D) Reformation and Counter-reformation
1. Luther in Germany
2. John Calvin (Calvinism) in Geneva – later to Scotland (Presbyterians) and England (Puritans)
3. Henry VIII in England – Church of England or Anglican Church
4. Catholic Church encouraged conversion of native peoples by Spanish and French missionaries
E) Geography – Atlantic replaces Mediterranean as center of trade
Nations involved in global exploration and trade all had Atlantic Ocean ports – Spain, Portugal,
England, France,
Netherlands (Dutch)
F) Renaissance and Humanism – revival started new way of thinking that human possibilities were unlimited,
spurred new schools
G) Portuguese Explorers – African gold and slaves
1. Bartholomew Diaz – Cape of Good Hope
2. Vasco da Gama – India
3. Portugal led the way exploring Africa and were first to discover all water route to India (Far East)
H) Columbus – “Enterprise of the Indies”
1. Reconquista 1492 – Spain rids the Iberian peninsula of the Moors (Muslims) and creates a Catholic
2. Spain financed the voyage of exploration in an attempt to establish trade route to Asia
3. four voyages (Caribbean)
4. reports of wealth and slaves (Indians) spurs the Spanish invasion of America
5. Intercontinental Exchange or Columbian Exchange
6. Amerigo Vespucci – Italian geographer whose name is the source of the word America, one of the first to
theorize that the New World was not part of Asia.
Spanish invasion of the Americas
1. Ponce de Leon – Florida (1513)
2. Vasco Nunez de Balboa – Panama (1517)
3. Hernan Cortez – Mexico and The Aztecs (1519-1521)
4. Hernan de Soto – Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi River (1539 – 1542)
5. Vasquez de Coronado – Southwestern U.S. (1541)
6. Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)
7. “Black Legend”
8. Las Casas, The Destruction of the Indies
9. Encomiendas- Mining, ranching and agriculture
10. Intermarriage common “frontier of inclusion” mestizo and mulatto
11. Council of the Indies – kings advisors ruled New Spain, bureaucratic and centralized
French and English Exploration
1. French concentrated on St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes region, and upper Mississippi River
2. English concentrated on U.S East coast to stop Spanish push into North America
3. Reformation created religious conflict in France (Huguenots) and England (Puritans)
4. French driven out of Florida (Ft Caroline) 1565
5. Fishing and Furs were main economic activity for early French and English
6. John Cabot (English) 1497 explored American coast looking for NW Passage
7. Giovanni da Verranzano (French) explored New England coast and St. Lawrence River
8. Jacques Cartier (French) 1534-35 claims Canada for France
9. Henry Hudson (Dutch) 1609 explores Hudson River (New York) looking for NW Passage, and (English)
1610 explores Hudson Bay.
10. French establish fur trade relations with Indians in St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes region.
11. English Privateers (Sea Dogs) Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake
12. Sir Walter Raleigh – Roanoke 1584-87 failed (Lost Colony)
13. Spanish Armada – defeated in 1588 by Drake, Spanish monopoly in the New World is broken