Examples Of Marco Polo's Motivation For American Exploration

Words: 1103
Pages: 5

The curiosity of human nature might spark adventure, but every journey needs a purpose. The Age of Exploration was a time period during the fifteenth to eighteenth century, when many Europeans made countless voyages overseas to explore new lands. It is overwhelming to realize that without the specific purposes for these journeys, the culture of America would be completely different. Although some may relate the spread of Marco Polo’s works to the motivation of European exploration, it it clear that fame, fortune, and faith encouraged the Europeans to explore; gaining fortune was paramount in the beginning, and faith was the superior motive in the end.
During the Age of Discovery, Europeans were motivated by fame, fortune, and faith. More specifically,
…show more content…
For example, in the late 1400s before European countries decided to explore America, Columbus was in search of a sea route to Asia. In his letter to the treasurer of the king and queen of Spain during his voyage Columbus wrote, “When I reached [Cuba], I followed its coast to the westward, and found it so large that I thought it must be the mainland—the province of [China]” (Textbook 407). In other words, Columbus was seeking a trade route to Asia, and due to this he assumed that the first large land mass he hit was China. Moreover, Spain wanted Columbus to find an efficient trade route to Asia, so they could control trade on their discovered route. This would allow Spain to tax and price items exchanged between Europe and Asia, hypothetically resulting into Spain making a fortune off of the route. Furthermore, other early European explorers such as Sir Martin Frobisher made attempts to find a sea passage to Asia before the 1500s, by going around Africa. For instance, Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer who set sail in 1492, “Arrived off the port of Calicut, where he took on a cargo of spices. He returned to Portugal and made a profit of several thousand percent” (Textbook 409). This quote highlights the fact that fortune fueled da Gama’s desire to explore, for when he returned to Europe, da Gama immediately sold spices to make a profit. Based off of the actions of early European explorers including Columbus and da Gama and their desire to find a trade route to Asia, one can conclude that in the beginning of the Age of Discovery, fortune was the most prominent