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3.7 Points To Remember

Importance of Geographical Discoveries

  • Geographical discoveries through sea routes revolutionized the way people traveled.  Thus new countries could be discovered.

Causes of Geographical Discoveries
  •  “Europe was hungry” for land as well as profit.  Adventure and conquests were other motives for setting forth to discover new lands.

  •  The fall of Constantinople into the hands of the Ottoman Turks was reason enough for the Europeans to seek alternative routes.

  •  Cities like Venice, that thrived on oriental trade, were envied and emulated.

  •  New discoveries (the earth is round not flat) and the adventurous spirit of explorers aided daring journeys.

  •  The spread of Christianity to nations far and wide served as an important factor.

  •  There were a number of inventions like the mariner’s compass that helped in geographical discoveries.

Early Travelers to the Far East
  •  The Polo brothers from Venice were the first Europeans to travel to China and visit the court of Kublai Khan, about 1260.

  •  The Polos laid out important routes that were followed by European merchants and missionaries who traveled to China.

Important Geographical Discoveries
  •  Portuguese and the Spaniards were the most adventurous explorers.

  •  Henry the navigator encouraged navigation by establishing a school for geographers.

  •  Bartholomew Diaz sailed to the “Cape of Storms” and  “The Cape of Good Hope”

  •  Vasco da Gama was successful in reaching Calicut in India.

  •  Goa was conquered by the Portuguese, who made it the capital of their Eastern Empire.

  •  Christopher Columbus patronized by Queen Isaballa f Spain set off on a voyage and reached the West Indies, thinking he had landed on India.

  •  Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513.
  • Amerigo Vespucci landed on the “New World”.  It was named after him.
  •  One of the ships belonging to Ferdinand Magellan conducted a voyage around the world.

  •  A Northwest sea route to the east was discovered.

Consequences of the Geographical Discoveries
  •  The “New World” was beginning to get ‘Europeanized’.
  •  Exclusive commodities that were scarce were easily available in abundance.

  •  It heralded an era of colonialism, imperialism and exploitation: countries like Portugal, Spain, England, Holland and France started establishing colonies over the newly discovered lands.  Colonies not only provided raw materials but also served as markets for the imperialist powers.

  •  Atlantic became the main highway of trade.  Cities like Lisbon, London, Antwerp and Amsterdam buzzed with commercial activity.

  •  The general standard of living of the people increased; migration increased the prospects of one’s life.  A powerful middle class emerged.

  •  Strong monarchies arose in countries like France England and Spain.

  •  New lands enabled persecuted people to migrate, thus in a way it fostered Protestantism.

  •  The church suffered a setback thanks to the introduction of a secular outlook.

  •  The gap between the east and the west was bridged as never before.


[next chapter]


3.0 Introduction
3.1 Importance of Geographical Discoveries
3.2 Causes of Geographical Discoveries
3.3 Early Travelers to the Far East
3.4 Important Geographical Discoveries
3.5 The Consequences of the Discoveries
3.6 Dates & Events
3.7 Points to Remember

Chapter 4


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