What were the main reasons europeans sought new trade routes to asia, particularly to china and india? Historians generally recognize three motives for European exploration and colonization in the New World: God, gold, and glory.
During the Middle Ages, China and India were the wealthiest and most populous countries on earth. Products such as silk, spices, and porcelain were traded from China and India to Europe overland along a series of trade routes called the Silk Roads. However, with rare exceptions such as Marco Polo, who traveled to the court of Kublai Khan in China, Europeans had little direct contact with either China or India. In the fifteenth century, Europeans began to send out voyages of exploration in search of quicker, less costly ocean routes to Asia. Arguably, Christopher Columbus was the most famous of these explorers. Columbus, who sailed west from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492 aspired to find a new sea route to Asia. Inadvertently, he discovered the Americas in the process. He even died in 1506 under the impression that he had reached Asia. This essay will require you to reflect on the importance of Asia in the fifteenth century, including how it shaped the expectations and behavior of Europeans such as Christopher Columbus.
The year 622 presented a fresh trial for the followers of Christianity. A prophet called Muhammad said that he was in the region of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when he got a revelation that would later become essential to the practice of Islam. The revelations that Muhammad received were collected in a book called the Koran. Within that book, Jesus Christ was not referred to as God but as a prophet. Up to the year 732, Islam had already expanded across the Middle East and into Europe.
Soon after that, European Christians started the Crusades, which were a campaign of violence against Muslims to dominate the Holy Lands, which extended from modern-day Turkey in the north all the way along the Mediterranean coast to the Sinai Peninsula. This was partially a response to the continued control that Muslims had over Europe. There is evidence that followers of all three faiths were able to coexist peacefully in Jerusalem for hundreds of years, despite the city’s status as a sacred place for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. But in the year 1095, European Christians made the decision to not only wrest control of the holy city back from Muslim authorities but also to subjugate the all of the territory that around it.
The Christian philosophy that underpinned the Crusades also underpinned the Reconquista, which in turn spurred the colonization of the Atlantic. After the failure of the Crusades, a period of 800 years marked by bloodshed and the expulsion of Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula is known as the Reconquista, which literally translates to “reconquest.” Religious intolerance became more entrenched as a result of the Crusades and the Reconquista, and Christians turned to colonialism in part as a method of extending their religious conquests of other peoples. In particular in the countries of Spain and Portugal, which have a strong Catholic tradition, the religious fervour of the monarchs led them to convert the Native Americans and sanctify Christian dominion over the world.
In spite of the theological division that resulted from them, the Crusades significantly enhanced the amount of commerce that was conducted by nautical means between the East and the West. The Crusaders’ exposure to the texture of silk, the flavor of spices, and the practicality of porcelain stoked a demand among them for these things, which in turn opened up new markets for merchants.
Beginning in the 10th century and continuing beyond, ships carrying merchants traveled between the port towns of western Europe and cities in the East along routes that came to be collectively known as the Silk Road. These ships delivered rich products to the people of Europe. On the other hand, moving items over the Silk Road was an expensive, time-consuming, and loss-making endeavor. Taxes were collected from customers by Muslim intermediaries when the products changed hands. Bandits hid in the shadows, waiting to pounce on caravans carrying riches.
Sailors aspired to locate a path to the exotic and affluent Spice Islands in what is now Indonesia, whose existence was kept hidden by Muslim authorities. In addition to searching for a maritime passage to the wealthy cities of the East, this was a goal of their search. The promise of financial gain motivated early explorers to search for alternative ways to the Spice Islands for the purpose of cutting off Muslim middlemen.
Both the Portuguese and the Spanish were driven to conquer new lands as rapidly and fiercely as possible due to their rivalry with one another. In the 1400s, Portugal’s Prince Henry the Navigator was the driving force behind the country’s exploration of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The Portuguese were able to find and use an eastward route that led them to West Africa, where they established a commercial base. After that, Portugal expanded its empire down the coast of western Africa all the way to the Congo, then along the coast of western India, and finally all the way to Brazil and the Atlantic islands. Despite the fact that they did not reign over a particularly large continent, the Portuguese were able to exert an almost unmatched level of control over the maritime trade routes as a result of their strategic ownership of islands and coastal ports.
The African slave trade was already prevalent in West Africa at the time when Portuguese merchants traveled there, and it was subsidized by the sugar production on the newly acquired Atlantic islands. The Portuguese became familiar with the trade once their voyages brought them to western Africa. As soon as the Portuguese realized how large of a market there was for sugar across the world, they started shipping enslaved Africans across the Atlantic so that they could work on sugar plantations. As demand for slave labor increased in Europe and then in the New World, the Portuguese fort Elmina Castle, which is located in what is now Ghana, served less as a trading post and more as a holding pen for enslaved Africans from the interior of the continent. This occurred as the markets for slave labor expanded in both regions.
The beginning of the age of aggressive European expansion across the Atlantic was marked by the colonization of Brazil by the Portuguese in the 1400s. Because of the Portuguese’s monopoly on enslaved Africans and their growth in the Atlantic, the Spanish decided to begin their own colonial operation in 1492 with Christopher Columbus. The rivalry between the two countries persisted, which resulted in an increase in the number of Europeans migrating to the New World.
The primary purpose of the trade routes was to transport raw resources, foodstuffs, and luxury goods from regions that had surpluses of these items to regions that lacked sufficient quantities of them.
God, money, and glory are the three primary motivations that historians agree were driving forces behind European exploration and colonization in the New World.
They had the goal of finding new trade routes, but another one of their goals was to uncover new sources of gold, silver, and other treasures. In addition to this, the people who lived in Europe regarded travel as a chance to spread Christianity to those who lived in other regions and civilizations.
The goal of the Europeans was to establish a lucrative spice trade in the East. That would be a land route that would take you via Russia and/or the Middle East. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Turks demanded very expensive fees from Christian merchants in order to pass through their territory. As a result, new trade routes were required.