The Age of Discovery, also known by others as the Age of Exploration, was a specific era of history which started in the 15th century and lasted for over 200 years. Conceived by the pioneer Portuguese and Spanish explorers in their search for precious metals and costly spices (such as saffron and cardamom), this expansion of knowledge about the world was well-intentioned. Ultimately, this turned out to have severe consequences, with its effects persisting even to this day!
First of all, Why were there consequences in the first place? During the Age of Exploration, there were treacherous governments and inside them, fraudulent and crooked officials. These greedy, nefarious bureaucrats were responsible for the driving force behind searching not only for spices, but for precious metals as well (Arnold 405). Why did this driving force exist? Europe's sole source of any kind of spices were Byzantine and Syrian traders that transported cloves from the Maluku Islands, nutmeg from the Banda Islands and cinnamon from Sri Lanka (Arnold 349). During the fifth and sixth centuries(also known as the beginning of the Middle Ages of Europe), the traders started to transact more with Asian countries (Turner 90). With this drastic loss, European leadership began to search out and explore other options, such as the so called New World. Gold, jewels, silk, and spices set up a fantasy across Europe, but especially on nobility, and kindled the first of many voyages in the
name of Discovery (Arnold 341). One particular reason for these voyages was because of the
Ottoman Turks. In 1453 A.D., the Ottoman Turks captured Byzantium, the crown jewel of the Byzantine Empire, and renamed it Istanbul (Aronson 11), based off the Greek phrase istanpolis, meaning “to go to the city”. With Byzantium taken, the Ottoman Empire controlled all the known trading routes to Asia (Rosenburg 2) (Aronson 11) and now could charge as much as they desired for the spices that was increasingly crowd-pleasing in Europe and had extreme importance (Arnold 357). During that time, spices were considered at the minimum, their weight in gold (Arnold 364) (Aronson 11). Because of the colossal amount of wealth that would come to the nation that controlled a cheaper spice route, many, if not all of the European countries raced with explorers, geographers, and etc. to find an unknown route. Why were spices used and valued so highly? First recorded around 1200 B.C. with the Egyptians, spices were used for a variety of purposes. The Romans and the Jews used spices for burial, which helped preserve corpses. Others, like the early Anglo-Saxons in modern Great Britain, used them to cover the bad taste of spoiled food. With this extreme demand, the number of spice traders and sailors grew exponentially over time.
Portugal began exploring in 1419 for several main reasons, like their economy, which was only stable enough to support a modest agricultural economy (Arnold 511) and their geographical...