what drove some european rulers to send explorers in search of a water route to asia?

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  • 1 month ago

    The spice trade. In 1453, the Ottoman Empire took control of the sole spice trade route that existed at the time after the fall of Constantinople, and were in a favorable position to charge hefty taxes on merchandise bound for the west. The Western Europeans, not wanting to be dependent on an expansionist, non-Christian power for the lucrative commerce with the east, set out to find an alternate sea route around Africa.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Many europeans were opium addicts and especially european royalty were opium addicts. Christopher Columbus was an opium addict and the two royal family members who sponsored columbus'  voyage were both opium addicts as well. If europeans had never gotten addicted to opium they would have never wanted to sail around the world to get opium. The Crusades were also about opium addicted europeans invading the Middle east to get opium.

    https://biography.yourdictionary.com/articles/some...

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/her...

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    To add to Joseph's excellent answer:

    When the Europeans realized that Columbus had not discovered some offshore islands of Japan and China - that there was a landmass containing gold but not spices and silks in the way - they sought out where to get around it.  Very, very frustrating it must have been. Ferdinand Magellan finally found the southern passage. Too long, cold and stormy.  Henrik Hudson found the Hudson River.  Temperate climate but it didn't go far enough.  He thought he may have found it by going down what would be called Hudson's Bay and James Bay. The poor man died from trying that hunch.  The French explorers tried the St  Lawrence River. Not as cold as Hudson's Bay but still a cul de sac.(The lake was Superior.)  Francis Drake explored the Pacific coast but found it became too long, too cold, and too mountainous.

    All those men trying for centuries to find a water route to the orient that did not freeze off one's toes or smash the ship on Cape Horn. What a struggle.

  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Money.  Asia was the source of silks, precious stones, ivory, spices and other luxury goods.  The Great Silk Road was a system of land and sea trade routes that transported these goods to the Middle East and from there to Europe. 

    However, it wasn't some merchant in China or India sending a caravan of goods all the way to Europe.  Instead the Great Silk Road was more like a network of merchants buying goods in the next town to the east and selling them in the next town to the west, making a handsome profit in the process. 

    Portugal was at the far western end of this chain and was paying the highest prices.  Understandably, the Portuguese were eager to cut out all the middle men.  In the early 15th century Prince Henrique, a younger brother of King Duarte of Portugal, started sending expeditions to explore the west coast of Africa with a long-term goal of finding the sea route to India and China.  It took over 70 years but in 1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope and reached the Indian Ocean.

    Dias returned to Portugal just as Spain, its next door neighbor, was completing the Reconquista, a 780 year war to drive out the Moorish invaders who captured most of the Iberian Peninsula in 711.  King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain saw the wealth flowing into Portugal from its colonies in West Africa and were eager to get in on the action.  They, therefore, were willing to listen when a guy come into their court claiming that he can reach Japan and China which, according to his calculations, lay mere 3,000 miles away by sailing West instead of East.

    The Spanish Crown wasn't risking much in sponsoring the expedition.  They guy already raised almost half the needed funds from the Italian investors.  A Spanish town owed the Crown a fine which it collected in the form of two caravels and a carrack and the men to crew them.  The guy wanted a share of the wealth from his discoveries, but he had to make the discoveries and survive the expedition to collect his rewards.  And so in 1492 Christoper Columbus sailed the ocean blue.   

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  • Tina
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Dave currently 'nonpartisan'

    No, no one who actually thought it about it thought that the world was flat - they knew it was round in Ancient Greece. What they did think was that the next bit of land was so far away that ships would not be able to carry enough provisions to see them through the long voyage.

    It is rarely a good idea to take your history from popular song. No, they did not "all laugh at Christopher Columbus."

  • John P
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    They sought a shorter route to the Pacific, from where the riches of the far east of Asia (chiefly spices) could be shipped directly to Europe without passing overland through the hands of many (mostly Asian) merchants on the way, and thus having high prices in Europe. The alternative sea routes for Europeans to the Pacific were via the southern tips of South America or of Africa - very long sea voyages. Look at a map of the world, or better a world globe to get an idea of things.

  • 1 month ago

    Land routes were not only longer, but more treacherous. At the time, most were flat-earthers. Columbus thought the world was round and that by sailing west, he could eventually reach Asia. 

    Fortunately for history, he came upon the Caribbean Islands and South America (he never ventured into what is now North America). Had this not happened, he might have been lost at sea because cartographers hadn't mapped the Western Hemisphere, and so he had no real idea of how big the earth really was.The story of Columbus is a rather interesting tale...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL1Nh57sE_w

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  • 1 month ago

    They wanted a direct route to Asia because this would allow them to import goods much cheaper, and they also didn't want to have to deal with the Muslims anymore. Muslims would buy the goods from Asia and then increase the price of the goods so that they could make a profit. A direct route to Asia would cut out the middle man.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The high price of spices. They wanted cheaper spices and they thought a water route would be a way to lower the cost of transporting spices. 

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