European Explorers

By: Kara Shepp

This is a map of the early European voyages that explorers like Chirstopher Columbus and John Cabot went on.

Why did Europeans want to explore America and other lands?

Places in America, like Manhattan, had an abundance of resources and new species that had not been discovered. Manhattan was covered with the chestnut, oak, and hickory trees. There were also salt marshes and grasslands that were filled with different animals like turkeys, elks, and black bears. Explorers were also looking for goods like spices, silk, silver and gold. These were valuable items and would help show their wealth. Spices were used to preserve food and to add flavor to the meals. Also, spices were used for medicines and perfumes. The Europeans wanted to gain direct access to the riches of Asia and they wanted to learn about the lands beyond Europe. Plus, traveling goods by sea was far less expensive than by land.

Portugal's Success

Portugal led the way in exploration and was the first major successful voyage. Prince Henry wanted to expanded Christianity and find the main source of African gold. Prince Henry got scientists, cartographers, and other experts to redesign his ships, prepare maps, and train captains and crews for their long voyages. After Portugal's long journey, they found a large spice port in India. Portuguese's successful voyage cause other nations to look for a sea route to Asia. This inspired other people to go on voyages to discover their own land and resources.

Improvements in Technology

Exploring helped improved technology in many ways. The more voyages explorers went on, the more accurate and detailed maps got. Cartographers were map-making people and they began to create more accurate maps and sea charts. Also, European sailors learned to us the astrolabe which was an instrument that helped determine the latitude of the sea. Another instrument that helped explorers determine latitude was the quadrant. They would use these instruments by looking at the sun and the stars. The compass was also invented and allowed explorers to determine basic direction. Ships also became larger and more advanced. Caravels were square sails that European ships used combined with Arab lateen sails. These made it easier to sail across and into the wind. This made sailing much smoother and easier. The European ships advanced by adding more weaponry and sturdier cannons.

Hardships of Traveling

First of all, explorers often lacked money that they needed for a ship, supplies, and a crew to get started on their journeys. They would then turn to their governments and ask for money and support for their voyages. explorers died of hunger and thirst. They would run out of food and water on the long voyages which decreased he health in the sailors. Scurvy was also another struggle. It is caused by the lack of vitamin C. Sailors struggled with the weather and trying to sail through it. They would have to go through harsh storms and tropical heat.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was from Spain and was one of the many explorers during this time. He had three different ships that he used on his first voyage. The names of these ships were the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He did not have enough money for the voyage so he went to the King and Queen of Spain for help. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain gave Columbus the money and ships for his expedition. His goal was to sail to the west to Asia and then sail around the globe. He reached America and discovered a vast amount of land.

Works Cited

"The Age of Exploration." The Age of Exploration. Teaching American History, 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2014. <>.

"The Age of Exploration." The Age of Exploration. W.J. Rayment, 1999. Web. 01 Dec. 2014. <>.

Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor., and Anthony Esler. World History: Connections to Today. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. Print.