MODERN WORLD HISTORY: Chapter 3 – An Age of Exploration
Motivated by Christian faith and a desire for profit, Europeans explore distant lands, while Japanese and Chinese rulers isolate their societies from Europeans.
Advances in sailing technology enable Europeans to explore other parts of the world.
Age of Exploration: 1400-1700. Time period when various different
countries sent out explorers to claim new land and
set up colonies. Colony=free money.
Tera Incognita: Latin for "unknown world".
Marco Polo: Travels to China in 1271. They travel ten miles a day
over land - it takes them 4 years. He goes home, but then
came back in 1297. Become advisors to the King of China
- The Travels of Marco Polo: A wondrous adventure narrative
describing things to the Europeans that they had a difficult
time believing (most Europeans dismissed the book as mere
fable). Chronicling the thirteenth-century world from Venice,
his birthplace, to the far reaches of Asia, Marco Polo tells of
the foreign peoples he meets as he travels by foot, horse, and
boat through places including Persia, the land of the Tartars,
Tibet, India, and, most important, China. There he stays at
the court of Kublai Khan, venturing to the capital of Beijing
and to Shangtu.
* The Travels is divided into four books:
^ Book One describes the lands of the Middle East and
Central Asia that Marco encountered on his
way to China.
^ Book Two describes China and the court of Kublai Khan.
^ Book Three describes some of the coastal regions of the
East - Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and the
east coast of Africa.
^ Book Four describes some of the recent wars among the
Mongols and some of the regions of the far
north, like Russia.
- Quote: “I did not tell half of what I told because I knew I would
not be believed."
- "Marco of the Millions": The nickname many people referred to
Marco Polo by. (They was making fun of
him.) They thought he was full of a
Main reason for exploration in the 1400's: To find a water route to Asia-
to make money from trade.
Major effect of exploration: It linked people from different cultures and
ended the isolation of the world’s major
Economics 101: Welcome to the wonderful world of CAPITALISM!
- Law of supply and demand: basis of all economic theories
↓ supply + ↑ demand = ↑ price
↑ supply + ↓ demand = ↓ price
↑ supply + ↑ demand = moderate price
Spices: They were introduced to spices from the Crusades, and/or from
people going on pilgrimages.
- pilgrimage: A trip to a religious spot.
- from where: India, China and the Middle East.
- 5 types: clove, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- 5 uses:
5.) Preservation of meats
- trade controlled by: Arab traders and Venetian Merchants.
- trade route: Chinese and Indian merchants sold to Arab
merchants. Arabs shipped spices from Arab lands to
Venice, Italy. Venetian merchants then sold spices
to other Europeans.
* "middle man": The Venetian merchants were the "middle
man", and that's who makes the largest profit.
2 reasons Europeans wanted a trade route to Asia:
1.) Because the land route was no longer a safe trip so they looked
for a sea route.
* Mongols: Had offered protection to people on the land route
but they lost control of some of that territory, and +
could not offer complete protection on the journey.
2.) To amass quick fortunes through direct trade (no “middle man”)
12 Reasons for exploration:
1.) To gain a better trade route to India and Asia
2.) To forward the country’s interests
3.) To forward an individual’s interests
4.) For curiosity (Increase knowledge)
5.) For adventure
6.) To spread Christianity (missionary spirit)
7.) To get the heavily sought after spices
8.) To find gold and become rich (greed)
9.) To become famous
10.) To conquer new lands and control them (Imperialism)
11.) To establish colonies
12.) To gain raw materials/natural resources
16 dangers of exploration:
1.) Sailing off the edge of the world
2.) Sailing into the sun and burning up
3.) Starvation/dehydration (running out of food and water)
4.) Drinking rancid water
5.) Being injured on board ship
6.) Falling overboard
7.) Being lost at sea
8.) Ship sinking
9.) Shipwreck/Being marooned
11.) Sea monsters
12.) Pirates (after the late 1500’s)
13.) Being eaten by wild beasts (the ones on land, of course)
14.) Being killed by native populations
16.) Scurvy (and other diseases)
2 effects of oversea voyages:
1.) Ended Europe’s isolation and set it on a path of world wide
2.) Prepared for the rise of the world’s first global voyage.
For success in exploration: ships had to be able to the coastal waters
and sight of land and to return home.
Navigation: It was a major problem.
Ancient sailors: stayed close to the coast, using landmarks to determine
Later sailors: traveled beyond the sight of land and used the position of
stars and the sum to determine in which direction they
- Dead reckoning: Captain had to be experienced to use this
method of navigation. (Columbus was probably
the best in history.) In this method of
navigation, we use a chip log (a piece of
2X4) attached to a rope with knots tied in it.
Toss chip log off the stern (back) of the ship and
measure how many knots come off the line in one
minute. Then we figure in the wind, direction,
and time, to plot our course on a map. Also
needed to figure in observations of cloud
formations, wave patterns and directions, look
for birds and insects, and floating debris, then
guess about where you are at using a map. This
method was not very accurate for most people.
* way they kept track of time: Used an hourglass
* Why it is called "dead reckoning":
If you reckoned (calculated) wrong….
you were dead.
2 major problems with navigation:
1.) The calculations they used to determine their location were very
2.) Maps were also terribly inaccurate.
Compass: Chinese in origin, this navigational instrument enabled sailors
in finding directions on the earth. It consists of a magnetized
pointer free to align itself accurately with Earth's
magnetic field. The cardinal points are north, south, east and
west. A compass can be used in conjunction with a clock and a
sextant to provide a very accurate navigation capability.
- 2 ways it greatly improved maritime trade:
1.) by making travel safer
2.) by making travel more efficient
Astrolabe: perfected by the Arabs, it was used to determine the altitude
of the sun or the other heavenly bodies. Astrolabes are used
to show how the sky looks at a specific place at a given time.
This is done by drawing the sky on the face of the astrolabe
and marking it so positions in the sky are easy to find. To use
an astrolabe, you adjust the moveable components to a
specific date and time.
- problem with: They were widely inaccurate. Trying to get
someone who could do everything was difficult.
Sextant: replaced the astrolabe in the mid-1700s as the instrument for
measuring the height of the stars above the horizon—to
determine latitude and longitude.
Cartography: The art of map-making. Most maps looked like
cartoons prior to the 1400's. Empty spots were filled in to
make maps more expensive.
- problem with: Most maps were widely inaccurate. What they had
was drawn from scattered impressions of travelers
- cartographers: mapmakers. Some were good, but others just
drew whatever looked good to them. Lots of
rumor and legend got translated into land
- by 1300: Most coastal charts showed the Mediterranean coastline
with a great degree of accuracy.
Ptolemy: Egyptian astronomer who made accurate maps of the ancient
Mediterranean world. His maps were later improved upon by
Byzantine and Arab scholars and the maps were introduced to
the Europeans during the Renaissance.
- major contribution: He introduced a grid system of map
references based on the coordinates of
latitude and longitude that are still in use
Shipwrights: Ship designers and builders.
- 3 innovations:
1.) triangle-shaped lateen sails,
2.) Multiple masts - made it faster to travel than with one large
mast and sail.
3.) rudder - moved the ships rudder from its side to the stern,
making the ship more maneuverable.
* triangle-shaped lateen sails: Made it possible to sail against
the wind not just with it.
Caravel: a small ship - about 65 feet in length, and carrying about 130
tons - that incorporated all of the above mentioned shipwrights
innovations. Very quick and maneuverable.
- date: 1400's
- 3 ways it was an improvement:
1.) This versatile ship had triangular sails for maneuverability
and square sails for power.
2.) The large cargo area could hold the numerous supplies
needed for long voyages.
3.) Its shallow draft allowed it to explore close to the shore,
and allowed explorers to venture up shallow inlets and
beach the ship to make repairs.
* draft: the depth of the ship’s keel below the water
- weapons: These ships carried new weapons - rifles and cannon.
1420-1500: Portuguese captains pushed farther and farther down the west coast of Africa in search of a sea route to Asia.
Prince Henry the Navigator: Heir to the Portuguese throne, he brought
together mapmakers, instrument makers, shipbuilders,
scientists, and sea captains gathered there to perfect their
trade in Portugal. He used his own fortune to organize more
than 14 voyages along the western coast of Africa, which was
previously unexplored by Europeans. Although he never
made an ocean voyage himself, his explorers discovered
1.) He brought together mapmakers, instrument makers,
shipbuilders, scientists, and sea captains
2.) Sponsored many exploratory voyages westward into the
Atlantic Ocean and southward down Africa's west coast.
- 5 types of people he brought in: mapmakers, instrument makers,
shipbuilders, scientists, and sea captains
- 3 places “his” explorers discovered: Azores, Madeira Islands, and
the Cape Verde Islands.
Bartholomeu Dias: an early Portuguese explorer who discovered the Cape of Good Hope.
- date: began in 1487
- goal: To find the southern tip of Africa
- 1488: Discovered Caped of Good Hope
* Cape of Good Hope: the southern tip of Africa
- What his voyage proved: Ships could reach Asia by sailing
Vasco Da Gama: Portuguese explorer who began exploring the east African coast.
-1497: He sailed from Portugal for India
-where: He sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, made stops at
trading centers along the east coast of Africa, and landed
at Calicut on the SW coast of India in 10 months.
- 3 goods traded by the Hindus and Muslims: fine silk, porcelain,
- Calicut: Da Gamma tried to persuade the rulers of Calicut and the
Muslim merchants in India to trade only with the
Portuguese - trying to create a trade monopoly for
Portugal. They did not buy it. A treaty was never
* result of his actions: In Portugal he was regarded as a
- as a national hero: Although he did not secure an exclusive trade
agreement, he had pioneered a water route to
India and had provided a glimpse of the riches
that could come from direct trade with the
4 results of de Gama's voyage:
1.) Opened direct sea trade with Asia.
2.) Also opened an era of violent conflict in the East.
3.) European nations scrambled to establish profitable trading
outposts along the shores of South and Southeast Asia.
4.) They battled native populations and each other
Ferdinand & Isabella: Entered Spain in the race for Asian riches by
backing the expedition of an Italian navigator
named Christopher Columbus.
Christopher Columbus: Italian navigator who had been asking monarchs
to back a voyage for years. Everyone had turned
him down because of his idea that one could
reach India/Asia by sailing west. He was very
intelligent, aggressive, an exceptional navigator
(especially by dead reckoning), highly curious,
and could be very intolerant with people or ideas
that didn’t match his.
- 1492: He asks Ferdinand and Isabella once again for money to
launch a voyage west. Ferdinand was against it, but Isabella
finally granted his request. Most every one thought it would
end in failure.
Line of Demarcation: an imaginary line running down the middle of the
Atlantic Ocean from the North to the South Poles.
- Alexander VI: The pope who, in an effort to keep peace between
Spain and Portugal, suggested an imaginary dividing
line through the Atlantic Ocean.
- date: 1493
* Spain's "side": All the lands west of the Line of Demarcation.
(Obviously, they got the better deal.)
* Portugal's "side": All the lands east of the Line of
- Portugal's fears: Their line was so far to the east that Spain might
overtake their Asian trade.
Treaty of Tordesillas: Spain and Portugal signed an agreement to move
the line of Demarcation further west.
- date: 1494
- Problem 1: An imaginary line was supposed to equally divide the
world between Spain and Portugal??? The line was
imaginary, so it was totally unenforceable.
- Problem 2: It was only recognized by Spain and Portugal.
11 points on Portugal's trading empire:
1.) In the years following da Gama’s voyage, Portugal built a
bustling trading empire throughout the Indian Ocean.
2.) As the Portuguese moved into the region, they took control of
the spice trade from Muslim merchants.
3.) In 1509, Portugal extended its control over the area when it
defeated a Muslim fleet off the coast of India, a victory made
possible by the cannons they had added aboard their ships.
- 1509: Portugal defeated a Muslim fleet off the coast of India
- cannons: were never used on ships before this time.
4.) Portugal strengthened its hold on the region by building a fort at
Hormuz in 1514.
- Straits of Hormuz: waterway that connects the Persian
Gulf and Arabian Sea
5.) It established control of the Straits of Hormuz, and helped stop
Muslim traders from reaching India.
6.) In 1510, the Portuguese captured Goa. They made it the capital
of their trading empire.
- Goa: a port city on India’s west coast
7.) They then sailed farther east to Indonesia, also known as the
8.) In 1511, a Portuguese fleet attacked the city of Malacca on the
west coast of the Malay Peninsula.
9.) Portuguese seized control of the Strait of Malacca. Seizing this
waterway gave them control of the Moluccas.
- Strait of Malacca: connects the Maylay Peninsula and
- Spice Islands: what they called the islands of Moluccas
because they were so rich in spices.
10.) Portugal did break the old Muslim-Italian domination on trade
from the East, much to the delight of European consumers.
11.) Portuguese merchants brought back goods from Asia at about
one-fifth of what they cost when purchased through the Arabs
- result: more Europeans could afford these items.
Afonso de Albuquergue: Portuguese sea captain who stressed his
country’s intense desire to crush the Muslim-
Italian domination over Asian trade. He is also
the captain that took Goa and the Strait of
- "the Portuguese Mars": nickname in reference to Mars
* Mars: Roman god of war.
1521: a Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the
- Ferdinand Magellan: Portuguese soldier of fortune who led a
voyage in 1519 that was the first to circumnavigate the
globe, although he did not live to see it. He also
renamed the South Sea the Pacific Ocean.
1565: Spain claimed the Philippine Islands and began settling them.
By early 1600's: the rest of Europe had begun to descend upon Asia
wanting to establish their own trade empires in the East.
3 other countries that started exploration: Netherlands, France, and
Dutch Republic: also known as the Netherlands, was a small country
situated along the North Sea in northwestern Europe.
Quickly becomes a world sea power.
- fleet: By 1600, the Dutch owned the largest fleet of ships in the
Dutch and English pressure: Their pressure eroded Portuguese control of
the Asian region. Then Dutch and English
then battled one another for dominance of
East India Company: A joint trading company.
- owned by: England and the Netherlands
- purpose: to establish and direct trade throughout Asia.
- 3 powers: could mint money, make treaties, and even raise their
Dutch East India Company: a company founded by the Dutch in the early
17th century to establish and direct trade
throughout Asia. Very wealthy and powerful.
- in comparison to England's: The Dutch had much more power.
- 2 results:
1.) The Dutch eventually drove out the English.
2.) They established their dominance over the region.
1619: the Dutch established their trading headquarters at Batavia
- Batavia: city on the island of Java.
Malacca: port was seized by the Dutch. Now they control the Spice
1600's: the Netherlands increased its control over the Indian Ocean trade.
Amsterdam: the capital of the Netherlands. It quickly became a leading
By 1700: the Dutch ruled much of Indonesia and had trading posts in several Asian countries.
Cape of Good Hope: Controlled by the Dutch. A very useful property.
- resupply stop: Ships stopped here to purchase food for longer
Britain and France: By 1700, they had gained a foothold in the region.
English East India Company: focused much of its energy on establishing
outposts in India.
1664: France also entered the Asia trade with its own East India
French problem: it faced continual attacks by the Dutch.
Result of French outposts: They established an outpost in India in the
1720s. However, it never showed much of a
Effect of European influence: Their influence in Southeast Asia remained
limited. European traders did take control
of many port cities in the region. But their
impact rarely spread beyond the ports.
1500-1800: Time when Europeans began to conquer much of the region,
the peoples of Asia remained largely unaffected by European