AFAM 152 American History

AFAM 152 American History

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AFAM 152 American History

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AFAM 152 American History

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Course Code: AFAM152
University: The Pennsylvania State University is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United States


Identify and incorporate at least one outside source to support your discussion. In addition to the textbook, you may use any material outside of the textbook that is recommended in the Additional Reading section at the end of each chapter. You are also encouraged to do your own research and identify relevant sources.
The documents/textbook/other sources in which you analyze and discuss the material that has been assigned by addressing the following question:
Identify and discuss the factors leading to the Age of European Exploration and Conquest during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and discuss how any two of the following nations-the Portuguese, Spanish, English, or French- differed in terms of their motivations for exploration and their settlement patterns.


The age of European exploration and conquest
Back in the fifteenth century, many European states and nations started to embark on continuous worldwide explorations. This led to the new inauguration of new world history. In the historical records, this period has been termed as the age of discovery or rather an age for exploration. European, during this period, explored the world all the way from America, Africa, and the middle east as well as far east nations. They crossed seas and oceans like the Pacific and Atlantic in the quest for exploration. Many nations were involved in this series of exploration and conquest. Some of the nations that took part were the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French and Italians.  This essay is an attempt to explain some of the major reasons and factors that led to the age of exploration and conquest by these European nations. It also explains how these nations differed in terms of the forces that motivated each to explore the world. (canyon springs , 2013)
Factors leading to the age of European exploration and conquest

Empire and politics

The need to acquire power from a political angle and pressure led to the age of European exploration and conquest. Many Europeans moved all the way to Africa and middle east part of Africa in seek for power. The need to reach middle east made many Europeans travel and seek routes and way through which they could easily locate the Middle East. Some of the known historians during this age are, for instance, Vasco de Gama, Marco Polo. Most people who traveled to gain empires were from Spain and Portugal during this period. Most of these nations had the intention of conquering and colonizing the new territories they were discovered in the course of their explorations and that’s how this age came about and grew as well.

Strategic geographic locations and topographies

Strategic geographic locations and good topographies encouraged people to explore the world by the provision of easy access to routes and ways through which the could reach other regions. The launch of overseeing voyages of exploration by the Spanish and Portuguese greatly contributed to this.

Economic factors

 Another main factor that greatly contributed to the rise of this era is the growth of trade with improved technology and demand for luxury goods. Before the fifteenth century, Europeans nations greatly carried out a trade with middle east nations such as China and India. Most of the goods that were high traded were luxury goods. The increase in demand for such goods in European nations led to many European nations have to seek for the source of these goods. This contributed to many of them traveling to unveil the sources of goods such as sugar and cotton. One factor that facilitated such movement for trade purposes is the new technological advancement in the maritime navigation and ship construction as well. The factor; the need for trade and commerce greatly lead to the emergence of an era of exploration and conquest for a European nation.

Science and culture

The need and urge to explore the world beyond European boundaries led to the emergence of an era of exploration and conquest. Before this era, most Europeans had very little knowledge of the world outside their known borders. The opportunity led to many Europeans engage in science and culture related studies that contributed to their movement to some unknown regions like Africa and America which the Europeans were not aware of their existence earlier.

Religious factors

During the fourteenth century, an era before the exploration era was a period that was characterized by tenets of Catholicism and Christianism in European nations. The need to get more followers for each of the denomination led to an era where religious leaders and missionaries had to seek new places and people to join their movement. The act of seeking new places, holding crusades and centuries contributed a lot to the emergence and growth of the era of European explorations.  (Saylor org., 2018)
Comparison between the Portuguese and the Frances during the era of exploration
Portuguese motives and settlement

To prove that the shape of the world was round
They intended to establish their empires in India, China, and America
They aimed at eliminating the middlemen who were Italians and Muslim in the spice trade
To spread Christianity and thus settled in regions with Muslim followers(The library of congress, 2008)

Frances motives and settlement

to gain wealth and spread religion(Davidson, 2015)
to establish commercially viable colonial outputs and therefore settled in regions that allowed them to create extensive trading networks(US history , 2009)

canyon springs. (2013, May). world history. Retrieved from canyon springs high school:
Davidson. (2015). colonization and conflict in the north. The US a narrative history (pp. 1-24). Mc Graw hill education press.
Saylor org. (2018, July 2). The European exploration. Retrieved from The saylor foundation:
The library of congress. (2008, May 19). The Portuguese Role in Exploring and Mapping the New World. Retrieved from the Hispanic division:
US history. (2009, January 12). French and Dutch exploration in the New World. Retrieved from colonial America:

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