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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Exploration of the New World

- World History -
The Age of Exploration
Expansion of Western Europe
Portuguese Explorers


Take your time and try to draw a freehand map of the world. Do you think it's pretty close? Is the scale right - too big, too small? If this was the 1490s, do you think you could get others to go along exploring with you, based on your map?

The Expansion of Western Europe

Motives for Exploration
Trade and the desire for wealth.
Trade was controlled by Venetian and Muslim traders. European countries wanted to avoid the Italians and Muslims. Other Europeans wanted to bypass them to get to the silk, spices, and other luxury items in Asia.

Religious Motives
Christianity is a missionary religion.
With Europe Christianized, they wanted to spread the Gospel to the rest of the world.

Gold, Glory, and God
There were other motives including: riches and money, glory, and God. Plus, there was the adventure of it all.

Technological Advances
There were advances in ship construction (bigger, faster, and sturdier) and there were new navigation aids. Now, there was a new compass (in the 1300s they used a magnetized needle floating on a straw in a bucket of water). The astrolabe was used to determine latitude; longitude was less accurate.

Knowledge of Geography
In the 15th Century maps were still crude and inaccurate. Early explorers like Marco Polo added to geographic knowledge, but it was still limited. By this time, most people knew the earth was round - they just didn't know that the Americas existed.


Prince Henry the Navigator explored Africa and some of the Atlantic Islands (the Azores, the Madeiras, and the Cape Verde Islands). The Portuguese in Africa profited from the slave trade, gold, ivory, ebony, and exotic animals and birds. These profits distracted them from further exploration for awhile.

Portuguese Explorers

Diaz (1487 - 1488)
Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope. A storm at the bottom of Africa caught them and twirled them around to the East coast of Africa. When the storm was over, and the men saw that land was to the other side of them, they thought they had been thrown to another planet.

De Gama (1497)
De Gama made it to India and returned to Lisbon with his ship full of goods.

Cabral (1500)
Cabral set out for India, but instead, he reached the coast of Brazil. The Portuguese explorers also reached China and Japan.

Portuguese Ships
Portuguese Ships

Age of Exploration / Expansion of Western Europe
The Portuguese Explorers

The Spanish Empire in America

English and French Explorations

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Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | Renaissance and Reformation |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era

Cool Clicks & Related Links:
(Hit your "Back" button to return to this page)

Age of Exploration
The Explorers
The Age of Exploration
Christopher Columbus Controversy
Columbus and Other Explorers
Mariners Museum Ferdinand Magellan
Who Was John Cabot?
John Cabot
John Cabot's Landfall

The list of links will grow with student participation!
Please e-mail pertinent URLs to Mr. Sedivy at:



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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