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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 was an amazing empire of the early Americas. Their accomplishments rival those of many other great empires, but they were defeated by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in only a few years.

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

This lesson will focus on the Age of Exploration. It will explain the main reasons why Europeans explored the New World. It will highlight their spirit of adventure, the religious desire to see natives converted, and the chance to acquire wealth.

History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World

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

This lesson will discuss the history of gun powder and its effect on the New World. It will highlight the development of firearms, as well as the Europeans who used gunpowder to ravage the Americas.

Great Explorers of Spain and Portugal: Aims & Discoveries

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

This lesson will focus on the New World explorations of Spain and Portugal. It will list explorers from both of these countries while also highlighting the motivations behind European exploration.

Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy

5. Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy

This lesson will focus on the improvement of maps, the growth of seaborne commerce, and the piracy that occurred during the Age of Exploration. It will also highlight the famous Sea Dogs of England.

The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority

6. The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority

This lesson will discuss the Italian Wars and their effects on the Papacy and the political landscape of Italy. It will also highlight the power struggle between France and Spain, which dominated much of 16th century Europe.

Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars

7. Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars

This lesson focuses on Machiavelli and his views on governing, specifically pertaining to the actions of rulers. It will also highlight the actions of several countries involved in the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Michelangelo: Biography and Works

8. Michelangelo: Biography and Works

This lesson will focus on the life and works of Michelangelo. It will discuss his life in Florence, his dealings with the Medici family, his sculpture 'David,' the Sistine Chapel and many other of his awe-inspiring works.

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

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

This lesson will discuss the conquistadors of the New World. It will highlight Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro. It will also explain the encomienda system and its impact on the native populations.

Las Casas, Valladolid Debate & Converting the New World

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

This lesson will focus on Las Casas, a Spanish priest who fought for the rights of the native inhabitants of the Americas. It will also highlight the New Laws of 1542 as well as the Valladolid debates.

Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire: History, Culture & Exploits

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

This lesson will focus on Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. It will highlight his conquests of Eastern Europe and his wars with the Habsburg Dynasty. It will also discuss the cultural advancements of his rule.

Europe Battles to Claim North America

12. Europe Battles to Claim North America

From the Russians and Danes to the French and English, numerous European countries attempted to colonize North America. This lesson takes a look at many of them and explains why the English were ultimately so successful.

Colonies in Central & South America

13. Colonies in Central & South America

Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America were primarily moneymaking ventures, centered largely around the production of sugar and the mining of silver. This lesson explains the many consequences of European success in colonizing Central and South America.

The Slave Trade in Africa

14. The Slave Trade in Africa

The enslavement of Africans for work in American fields remains one of the darkest spots on the colonial period. This lesson explains how it evolved in the earliest days of the colonial period.

The Columbian Exchange, Global Trade & Mercantilism

15. The Columbian Exchange, Global Trade & Mercantilism

Along with opening up two new continents, the discovery of the Americas opened up brand new trade routes reaching around the world, with goods from every place imaginable, and the money to make it all happen.

European Exploration in India & Southeast Asia

16. European Exploration in India & Southeast Asia

While many in the United States focus primarily on the exploration of the New World during the Age of Exploration, a great deal of economic empire building was happening in the Indian Ocean.

European Exploration in East Asia

17. European Exploration in East Asia

Europeans faced significant difficulties when trying to trade with China and Japan. Much of this was due to preexisting notions that these East Asian societies held towards all outsiders.

Southeast Asia During the Spice Trade

18. Southeast Asia During the Spice Trade

Pirates, gold, and spicy food. The story of European involvement in Southeast Asia shows how the Portuguese inability to adapt, combined with the joint-stock companies of the Dutch, were able to change the face of Southeast Asia.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter 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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