Ch 1: Europe's Age of Exploration

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn about European exploration around the world. Each lesson includes a self-assessment quiz so that you can measure your progress.

Europe's Age of Exploration - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Europe's age of exploration actually encompasses a broad spectrum of nations that carried out expeditions to New World locations as varied as North and South America and Asia. Any conversation about the era also includes elements of economics, politics, philosophy, culture and science.

In this series of lessons, you'll gain a better understanding of how and why countries such as England, Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands chose to seek out new lands. You'll also learn about key explorers and their contributions in fields like navigation. Exploration is about more than the Europeans, though - this chapter covers the native peoples of Central America, Southeast Asia, and more - and how they were affected by European trade and colonialism. In these lessons, you'll learn things like:

  • Which European nations participated in exploration and why
  • How the relationship between the Old and New Worlds changed and why
  • Who were the primary European explorers of the New World
  • The economic impact of exploration, both in Europe and the New World

Video Objective
The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America Describe life in South America before it was influenced by European explorers.
The Old World and New World: Why Europeans Sailed to the Americas Discuss how New World exploration benefitted and influenced Europe.
History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World Explain how gunpowder was used and why it mattered.
Great Explorers of Spain and Portugal: Aims & Discoveries List Spanish and Portuguese explorers, what they hoped to achieve, and their results.
Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy Explain Mercator map projections.
The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority Describe the results of war in Italy, and the overall effect on papal dominance.
Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars Identify who Machiavelli was and his philosophy.
Michelangelo: Biography and Works Identify Michelangelo; describe and discuss his major works.
Conquistadors and Encomienda System: Definition and Savaging of the New World Explain who the conquistadors were and how the encomienda system worked; discuss how it benefitted Spain at the expense of the New World.
Las Casas, Valladolid Debate & Converting the New World Discuss how Spain viewed the humanity of the indigenous peoples of the New World.
Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire: History, Culture and Exploits Understand the society and culture of the Ottoman Empire; explain how power was consolidated and exercised under Suleiman.
Europe Battles to Claim North America Describe the multi-national conflicts over North America.
Colonies in Central and South America Discuss the characteristics of Spanish colonies.
The Slave Trade in Africa Understand how the rise of European exploration and colonialism fed the slave trade.
The Columbian Exchange, Global Trade & Mercantilism Report on the role of trade in European expansion and vice versa.
European Exploration in India and Southeast Asia Discuss the activities of England, the Netherlands, and Portugal in India and Southeast Asia.
European Exploration in East Asia Explain how cultural differences affected European exploration in East Asia.
Southeast Asia During the Spice Trade Understand the conflicts between the Dutch and the Portuguese, and how those conflicts affected Malay.

18 Lessons in Chapter 1: Europe's Age of Exploration
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America

1. The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America

The Incan Empire in South America was defeated by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Explore pre-Incan civilizations, find out who King Pachacutec was, and discover how Francisco Pizarro led to the end of the Inca Empire.

The Old World and New World: Why Europeans Sailed to the Americas

2. The Old World and New World: Why Europeans Sailed to the Americas

During the Age of Exploration, Europeans risked passing the waters of the Old World to explore the New World. Explore the reasons Europeans sailed to the Americas, including a spirit of adventure, a religious motivation to save souls, and a desire for wealth.

History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World

3. History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World

Gunpowder emerged from China and began to spread around the globe in the 13th century, leading to advancements in the tools of war that wrought destruction in Europe and elsewhere. Explore the use of gunpowder in cannons by the Ottoman Turks, the evolution of guns and novel war tactics in Europe, and the early effects of gunpowder on the New World.

Great Explorers of Spain and Portugal: Aims & Discoveries

4. Great Explorers of Spain and Portugal: Aims & Discoveries

Spain and Portugal funded many famous explorers, including Christopher Columbus, on expeditions to numerous countries in their global expansion efforts. Follow the travels of several explorers into South America, Central America, and, ultimately, North America, resulting in profitable discoveries like gold, and violent conquests, such as Cortez taking Mexico from the Aztecs for Spain.

Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy

5. Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy

Mapping the New World was an important practice during the Age of Exploration, and its improvement led to improvement in other areas. Explore the growth in seaborne commerce during the Age of Exploration, and learn about the rise of piracy and early privateers like the English Sea Dogs.

The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority

6. The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority

The Italian Wars were a series of 15th- and 16th-century wars that were fought over the city-states of Italy, eventually weakening the office of the Pope, otherwise known as the Papacy. Learn more about the important battles in the Italian Wars, the alliances, strategies, and the roles of the key figures involved.

Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars

7. Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars

Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher, diplomat, and writer known for his political essay, ''The Prince.'' Learn about Machiavelli and the lessons of the Italian Wars, and explore Machiavelli's musings, including 'expect the worst,' 'the ends justify the means,' 'it's better to be feared than loved,' and 'when all else fails, lie.'

Michelangelo: Biography and Works

8. Michelangelo: Biography and Works

Michelangelo was a historic sculptor from Florence, born in 1475. Follow the biography of this prolific artist in his early work and apprenticeship under Lorenzo de Medici, learn how he produced 'Bacchus,' 'The Pieta,' and 'David,' and explore his complex relationships with the Sistine Chapel and the Roman Catholic Church.

Conquistadors and Encomienda System: Definition & Savaging of the New World

9. Conquistadors and Encomienda System: Definition & Savaging of the New World

The Spanish government employed conquistadors, or 'conquerors,' to ravage the Americas with violent piety and instill the encomienda system as their structural rule over the indigenous people. Learn about Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizarro, and other conquistadors who enacted the encomienda system of control in the Americas.

Las Casas, Valladolid Debate & Converting the New World

10. Las Casas, Valladolid Debate & Converting the New World

Bartolome de Las Casas advocated for the Native American peoples who were brutally mistreated by 'conversion' efforts during the Age of Exploration. Explore the Las Casas family tree, examine the reformation that Bartolome sought to instill in the early 1500s, and learn about the peaceful Verapaz experiment and subsequent Valladolid debates.

Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire: History, Culture & Exploits

11. Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire: History, Culture & Exploits

Suleiman rose to power as a sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1520, renowned for his successful rule and reign. Learn about the transition of power to Suleiman from his father, and explore his military exploits against Belgrade, Rhodes, and the Habsburgs, leading to cultural domestic prosperity.

Europe Battles to Claim North America

12. Europe Battles to Claim North America

Many European nations attempted to colonize North America in its early days. Explore the reasons why the French, Spanish, and English were successful while the attempts by the Russian, Swedish, and Dutch were less effective.

Colonies in Central & South America

13. Colonies in Central & South America

European expansion in Central and South America involved exploitation for economic growth that had devastating consequences on native societies such as the Inca and the Aztecs. Explore the ruthless economic pursuits and religious justifications of the Spanish and Portuguese in establishing colonies in the New World.

The Slave Trade in Africa

14. The Slave Trade in Africa

The Triangular Trade was the result of Europeans finding little success in the free labor provided by Native Americans and European indentured servants. Learn how enslaving individuals from Africa became the answer for European economic success in the New World.

The Columbian Exchange, Global Trade & Mercantilism

15. The Columbian Exchange, Global Trade & Mercantilism

The new global trade routes, established after the Americas were opened up to exploration, drastically changed the global economy. Learn about the Columbian exchange, the new global trade, and merchantilism, and examine their effects on global economics.

European Exploration in India & Southeast Asia

16. European Exploration in India & Southeast Asia

As European explorers landed in the Americas, they also expanded their influence in India and Southeast Asia. Learn about Portuguese efforts in Asia, discover where their bases were located, and explore what happened when the English arrived in India.

European Exploration in East Asia

17. European Exploration in East Asia

Before learning how to facilitate relations with East Asian nations who were their trading partners, European countries experienced resistance due to cultural factors. Learn about the indigenous customs and cultural barriers faced by European trading companies and the influence of explorations by Chinese admiral Zheng He in breaking down barriers to trade.

Southeast Asia During the Spice Trade

18. Southeast Asia During the Spice Trade

The Spice Islands, known today as Indonesia and Malaysia, were the epicenter of the spice trade. Learn how Southeast Asia was affected by trade in terms of Portuguese and Dutch presence and the impact European powers had on Malay areas.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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