Age of Exploration
The definition of the verb "to explore" contains: To seek for or after, to search through or into, or to penetrate into or range over for purposes of geographical discovery. (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary) The explorers of the age of exploration met this definition, they were the reason it was made. All explorers sought to discover certain things, this was their motive. One reason some explorers explored was to escape something undesirable. Eric the red fled Norway with his family, including Leif Ericsson, to escape punishments for manslaughter. He wouldn't have left if he wouldn't be punished. He chose to leave Norway and explore instead of punishments for crime. Jaques Cartier faced something undesirable as well. In
and most of Europe, a son took the trade of his father. Carrier father was a weaver. That was the job society offered for him. He decided to explore and sail instead of weaving. I think neither choice was desirable to him, but it was either one or the other. Another motive was for wealth and power. This started Spanish exploration. Cortex, Pizzaro, and sailed to the west to find gold and spices, they wanted wealth for themselves and Spain. Cortex set up the Spanish Empire in Newfoundland. Pizzaro made a settlement in Peru. As it still is today, the more land a country owns, the more powerful it is. Other explorers were dying with curiosity. They had many theories they wanted to prove. But most of all they wanted fame, and a title. Samuel DeChamplain believed there was a North West passage to China. He wound up claiming land for France in Canada. He is a well known explorer of the time. He had a lake named for him, Lake Champlain. The most famous case of an explorer wanting a title is Columbus. He demanded that he be called the "admiral of the ocean sea". He was, and still is. Today there are many places name for him, like Columbus Ohio. All the explorers searched through their discoveries, they don't just find land and leave. Leif Ericsson explored the lands he found. Once he even found indian canoes. Henry Hudson found real natives. He tried to make peace with them. Some lands were indeed penetrated and ranged over for the purpose of geographical discovery. When Cortex settled Newfoundland, he destroyed the Indian's culture by trying to convert them to christianity. Eventually the natives died from disease brought by the Europeans. The Spanish did this to attempt to make a good christian environment. Leif Ericsson and his father wouldn't have found all these different places if they didn't have their type of ships. The technology in the ships is the bare minimum for that distance of sailing. The boats were like half ovals that swerve down in the middle. They received most of their power from the wind caught in the one large sail in the near center of the boat. If the winds were low, the Vikings could paddle the boat with long oars at the sides. During later years of exploration, around the 1500's, such devices and tools as, the compass,the astrolabe, the caravels, and the telescope were invented. They led to greater exploration. When Eric the Red fled Norway, he had heard rumors of land in the West. There was no point in going East. He could be found. West seemed like the best choice. These factors led to his discovery of Greenland. There are some bad, and some good effects to exploration. After Leif Ericsson settled Vinland, in fourteen years his brother was killed. They were forced to leave. As I mentioned before the tribe Cortex found died out. Champlain got stuck in a huge indian war, Hudson was killed by his crew, and Cabot disappeared on his second voyage. The good effects were that we received a full world view, and have been able to settle the Americas. The explorers each found something valuable, yet got something totally different than what they expected. Eric The Red only wanted a place for refuge. He got that. He probably feared Natives or fierce storms as well. Columbus thought he had reached India by sailing West when he reached America. Instead of India he found Native Americans and unclaimed land. If he knew what he actually found he would be shocked. Even though some explorers failed, others succeeded. Every discovery made then was a step toward today.