Age of Exploration
At the same time that the Renaissance was reinvigorating European cultural life, a desire to explore the world abroad was growing. Indeed, the ability to make long voyages was facilitated by the advances in navigational technology made around this time. The main reason for exploration, however, was economic. Europeans had first been introduced to eastern goods during the Crusades, and the exploits of Marco Polo in the 13th century had further whetted the western appetite for contact with distant lands. This increasing focus on exploration and trade caused a general shift in the balance of power in Europe. Land-locked countries, like Germany, found that they were excluded from participating in the lucrative new economy. On the other hand, those countries which bordered the Atlantic (England, France, Spain, and Portugal) were the most powerful players.
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Last updated: 12/29/2017
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