Prior to 16th century C.E Europe had no interest in venturing into the Atlantic Ocean. Trade and access to Middle Eastern ports containing goods from China, Indonesia, and Africa kept Europeans at bay. However, the emergence of trade blocks, the Black Death, and the Renaissance, pave the way for voyages of the Atlantic to commence.
Early on around the mid-1200s, Europeans in the west began experiencing economic prosperity. Agriculture was flourishing and as a result the population was growing. People were consuming more and more goods for larger families. Furthermore the textile industry was dominating as one of the primary staples of trade for Europe. The successful trade of the textiles led to more jobs, increasing employment, but the productivity began to stifle due to static trade stability in the Middle Ease. A struggle in dominance for commerce and freedom in the Mediterranean, led to religious ...view middle of the document...
From there the disease would travel via infested rats from European ports decreasing its population from 75 million to 45 million in 1400 C.E. The Black Death served as both a curse and a blessing for the European population, as peasants who survived the plague would enjoy liberation from labor services, wealth from land, and profit from demanding higher wages due to the shortage in workers. Socially, a reshuffling of classes would occur and the peasants became wealthy. In the aftermath of the epidemic the interruption of everyday life would also bring about a need for the birth of a new culture.
The Renaissance would bring about the new culture that Europe needed. There was a conception of Classical ideology in Europe involving the arts, literature, and manners. Nobles became patrons of the arts as well as churches who were increasingly wealthy around this time. Christian scholars in Spain began studying and translating Arabic texts in an effort to rekindle the Roman and Greek texts that had been so carefully preserved. Also during this period universities were built for the teaching and spreading of knowledge. Teachings there included legal, medical, and theological studies. With more knowledge and creativity came more technological advancements. Maritime enhancements such as lateen sails were intertwined with the straight sternpost and stern rudder of Northern Europe, and then topped with a square sail for greater speed in tail wind. The ships were further equipped with canons of which Europeans engaged in an “arms” race to create the most effective weapons. Gun artillery was also a plus providing jobs for manufacturers and weapons for war.
The rebirth of a productive Europe from the Black Death would mean a need for new trade routes around the Mediterranean trade blocks. Using their newly enhanced ships Europeans began voyaging new oceans including the Atlantic around the end of the 15th century. With newly acquired culture and technologies the Europeans would be able to spread globally with the eventual conquest of Christopher Columbus as the permanent contact between the Eastern and western hemispheres.