Renaissance: An Age Of Colonization?

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History Essay – Renaissance

Was the ‘long’ 16th century rather an age of exploration or an age of colonization?

The 16th century in Europe – the early Renaissance - was a rich period that saw extensive cultural and scientific exploration and resurgence. This was a time where unknown lands were being discovered and colonized by Europeans, as they were trying to find more expeditious trade routes by sea. Consequently, there was renewed interest in Geography, for example, with the revival of Ptolemy’s – a Greco-Egyptian scholar – Geography, a compilation of geographical knowledge to which manifold navigators referred to. The exchange of goods between Europe and its newly acquired territories, as well as the benefits of having colonies, is what led Europe to be wealthy and powerful from the 16th century onwards. Though both exploration and colonization were consequential during the 16th century, in this essay we will argue that “age of exploration” is more relevant when one is characterizing the 16th century, as it prompted colonialism and is of more significance in this time period.

With the Renaissance came an increased avidity for science and trade. New technologies and theories in geography led to interest in navigation. Additionally, increased trade between Italy and the Middle East led to rivalry with other European states such as Portugal and Spain, who sought to out superior trade routes. Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator, discovered the Americas under
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