In 1453, when the Ottoman Turks took control of Constantinople and the surrounding areas, trade between Europe and Asia came to a complete halt, prompting the European nations to seek another route to their Asian trading partners; thus, they began looking for a sea route. The trip had always been fraught with danger, but Europeans no longer had access to products they had come to enjoy.Continue Reading
The only viable land route from Europe to Asia went through the Middle East and Turkey. Going further north through what would become Russia was even more dangerous than braving the robbers who would attack caravans in the Middle East.
Pepper and silk were two particularly popular products from Asia. Silk had been in high demand in Europe since the journeys of the explorer Marco Polo, and a network of traders from China, India, the Middle East and Italy would transport silk all the way to the European markets. The land route that traders had to take was known as the "Silk Road."
While England, Spain and Portugal were some of the most enthusiastic sponsors of early exploration, some of the most famed explorers like Christopher Columbus came from Italian cities like Genoa, which had long sent ships off to make trading expeditions.Learn more about Exploration & Imperialism
Triangular trade, or triangle trade, involved companies, profiteers, slave traders and African slaves traded between Europe, Africa and the Americas from the 1600s to the 1860s. The system started in Europe when boats carried goods to Africa that were traded for African slaves. These slaves then made the perilous journey to America, while the third trade route shipped products to Europe, making a triangle-shaped round trip in the Atlantic Ocean.Full Answer >
Portugal gained control of the spice trade because of the country's strong presence on the water with its ships and naval command. Because of this, they were able to defeat the Muslims in the Indian Ocean and its control in the trade avenues.Full Answer >
The Dutch gained control of the Indian Ocean trade by creating a network of fortified posts that stretched from the Netherlands to the Horn of Africa, and further to the continent of India. The Dutch used these forts to protect shipping and monopolize the nutmeg and cinnamon trade.Full Answer >
Christopher Columbus explored uncharted areas to the west of Europe. He discovered many islands in the Caribbean Sea, South America and Central America. Some do not consider his acts to be those of "discovering," since people already lived on those islands. Although Columbus did not set foot on North America, his explorations resulted in the colonization of the New World.Full Answer >