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European Spices

Essay by   •  April 17, 2011  •  Essay  •  832 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,436 Views

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Many Europeans risked their lives and the lives of their crew in order to explore the new world. It is widely known that Europeans made it their goal to explore the world and all that they did not know, but the reasons for these explorations are commonly overlooked. One of the many reasons for European exploration was to find a sea route to Asia to enable the purchase and trade of valuable salts and spices. Christianity was the dominant religion in and across the European lands, and they had a strong desire to spread their beliefs and convert all people to Christianity. Europeans had a craving to discover the foreign lands all around the world that were previously unknown about and led many explorers out in search of newfound land. The Europeans sought out new land to find trade routes to Asia for lavish spices, to spread their ideas or Christianity to all other civilizations, and to expand their knowledge on their lack of knowledge of the unknown world.

Spices were a highly traded and very pricey luxury in the 1400's. Unfortunately for the Europeans, "these spices did not grow anywhere in Europe" so it was important to the Europeans to attempt to find a trade route to get them a more direct route to Asia (Oracle). It was dangerous for spices to be brought by land because one had to travel thousands of miles over treacherous lands. Traveling by land also brought the risk of bandits into play so it was vital to find a route to the east by the water. Vasco de Game was the first to circumnavigate Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, landing in India. This act meant "the wealth of the Indies was now open for the Europeans to explore" (Delpar 105). This created a tremendous opportunity for the western world to create wealth and spread the culture and religious beliefs of Europe. Ferdinand Magellan sailed west through the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Magellan leading him to the spice islands creating yet another opportunity for Europe to trade for spices and spread their illustrious culture.

The ideas of Christianity spread all across Europe and the Roman Catholic Church became the dominant institution in western civilization. Europe decided that is was necessary to spread the ideas of Christianity to all non Christians around the world. European leaders were very religious and because of that, "they wanted to convert everyone to Christianity" (Oracle.) This led to conquests around the world to attempt to convert those of other religions to the newer ideas of Christianity. Missionaries sailed around the world to places such as Asia in order to "convey the ideas of Christianity and promote the spread of it" (Morison 78).

In the mid 1400's, many Europeans still believed that the earth was flat and even that the sun revolved around the earth. Explorers were very curious, and attempted to make names of themselves by discovering other lands and claiming them for themselves or

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