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Age of Exploration

The Age of Exploration was a period from the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century, during which European ships traveled around the world to search for new trading routes and partners.
They were in search of trading goods such as gold, silver and spices. In the process, Europeans met people and mapped lands previously unknown to them. Among the most famous explorers of the period were Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Captain James Cook.
Also during the Age of Discovery were the famed voyages of Christopher Columbus. These voyages started as an attempt to find a trade route to Asia by sailing west. However, he reached America in 1492 and shared information on this newly found land with Spain. The Portuguese sailed out of sight of land and discovered the Madeira islands in 1419 and the Azores in 1427. The main goal for the Portuguese voyages though was to discover a trade route to West Africa without having to go through the Sahara Desert. By the mid-1400s, this goal was realised and a trading port was established at Elmina in West Africa and the rest of Europe. Some other important voyages of exploration that took place during the Age of Exploration were Ferdinand Magellan's attempted circumnavigation of the globe, the search for a trade route to Asia through the Northwest Passage, and Captain James Cook's voyages that allowed him to map various areas and travel as far as Alaska.
The Age of Exploration ended in the early 17th century after technological advancements and increased knowledge of the world allowed Europeans to travel easily across the globe by sea. In addition, the creation of settlements along the coasts of the newly found areas created a network of communication and trade, therefore ending the need to search for trade routes.
Though the Age of Exploration officially ended in the 17th century, it is important to note however that the exploration did not cease entirely at this time. Eastern Australia was not discovered until 1770 and the Arctic and Antarctic areas were not heavily explored until the 19th century. Much of Africa was also unexplored until the 19th and even early 20th centuries.
The Age of Exploration served as a stepping stone for geographic science. It allowed more people to see and study various areas around the world which increased geographic study, giving us the basis for much of the knowledge we have today.

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