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Motives Of Exploration Of The New World

832 words - 3 pages


Until the late 1400's, Europeans did not know the existence of the two American continents ( North and South America ). To the European explorers, exploring the other side of the Atlantic was like exploring an entire different world, hence the name- the New World. In 1492, Christopher Columbus unknowingly discovered the new continent. His original motives for exploring was to find an easier route to Asia but instead, he discovered the New World. Thus; Spain, France and England began sending out conquistadors and explorers to the uncharted terrains of the new continent. Motives for the Spanish, French, and English explorers varied greatly, however, they were similar in some ways. The motives of the Spanish explorers were acquisition of mineral wealth, spread of Christianity, search of El Dorado, search of Northwestern Passage, and thrill of adventure. The treasures that Columbus brought back to Spain enticed many adventurous explorers and sent them searching for gold and silver. Missionary clergymen sought to serve God by converting the natives to Christianity. By 1634, the area of present-day Florida and Georgia was home to 30 Spanish missionaries, 44 missionary stations, and 30,000 Indian converts to Catholicism. Within a few decades, Spanish explorers became familiar with the northern coast of South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic shore of North America, the Isthmus of Panama, the Gulf of Mexico and conclusively- the general outlines of the New World. Despite their knowledge, the Spanish persisted in searching for a Northwest Passage. Some individuals were attempting to escape from religious, political, economic oppression and the seemingly endless number of wars in Europe. The New World offered ownership of land and thrill of adventure. During the 16th century, a great deal of exploring was spent on searching for the fabled ‘El Dorado,' which is defined as a place of vast riches or abundance. Like the Spanish power, France was impelled by a desire to spread Christianity, to find wealth, and to counter the efforts of other nations. France also hoped to find a new water route to the East through the North American Continent. French explorers sailed down the St. Lawrence, across the waterways of Canada, through the Great Lakes, and finally to the Mississippi River and its vast drainage system. They did not find the Northwestern Passageway but found endless forests filled with fur-bearing animals and Indians eager to trade instead. Using the animals as a resource, the French became prominent in the New World mainly with...

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