The European Exploration brought together various nations like Europe, Africa, America and Asia. This period was characterized by the two major kinds of exchange: Cultural, and Biological. In the “Biological exchange”, people traded animals, diseases and plants. In the “Cultural” exchange, they traded technology, ideas and goods. The exchanges started to impact every continent. In this article, we will focus on the good and bad effects of European exploration throughout the world.
What was the prime motivating factor behind European exploration?
Opposed to the belief, curiosity wasn’t the driving force behind exploration of the unexplored areas and nations across the world. It was the riches and fame, that compelled European nations to explore, colonize, and rule other locations of the world.
How did European Exploration start?
European exploration began with the exploration expedition by Vikings that was made around 722 AD. It was later continued by Marco polo in 1271 AD, via a trip to China and Asia, and Ibn Battuta in 1300 AD. This is followed by the Portuguese whose key motive behind this exploration was to acquire the treasures of the newly exposed nations for their country and sovereigns. This resulted in the discovery of the United States of America by Christopher Columbus.
Europeans got driven by potential of trade and building wealth through alliance with the Eastern nations and Asia. This led to the development of European monarchies to focus solely on expansion of the rule.
Positive Impact Of European Exploration:
European Exploration had observed positive impacts in the areas of trade, economy and politics.
New trade routes:
Before European exploration, products from India and a few other countries like Malaysia were exorbitantly prized. One of the examples is black pepper whose price was more than Gold in primitive Rome. European exploration opened new ways of trade to Asia as well as India, that helped other nations to source products quickly and make high profits. The revenues generated benefited both the defeated and the conqueror.
With the development of new trade routes, transportation of commodities got easier and stable. It benefited traders to obtain and stock larger stocks, to effectively manage the supply, and demand. Construction of new routes helped traders to realize transportation of goods in just a few months than years. The steady and quick supply of important goods helped them significantly to stabilize the economy and market.
European nations continued to form new influential and authoritative alliances that significantly impacted politics of several nations. The assets and resources acquired from European exploration, led small territories to exercise supremacy that is unequal to their size.
Negative Impact Of European Exploration:
European Exploration was not all that good. There were several downsides to it that outweigh its benefits.
Due to European exploration, several diseases spread and infected a large segment of population. With the arrival of white man as sailors into unexplored nations, diseases like smallpox, Syphilis, measles became prevalent. This was because that these sailors where themselves infected from the disease. This period witnessed a lot of deaths and decline in population due to these diseases.
Most of the people who came in contact with them also got infected by it and suffered from its pain. This led to a massive outbreak that wiped out a majority of the native residents of the place. Similar health outbreaks were seen at other locations too, and were directly accredited to European exploration.
Another major disadvantage of European exploration was seen in terms of Slavery. This expedition led to trading of human beings. This was the most disgusting and damaging impact of the exploration of native Africans and Americans. They were traded and sold into bondage. A large section of these slaves was stored as cattle in inhuman conditions. This resulted in a high casualty rate.
As the different European nations aimed at fulfilling their greed of acquire wealth and social recognition, they started indulging in anti-social activities. These activities served as the ground for corruption between the rulers.
Though the era of European Exploration was noticed by remarkable discoveries, creativity, innovative thinking and great downfalls, etc. all this eventually led to demolish the rich civilizations, and ancient cultures of defeated nations.
Trading of slaves brought several diseases to the nations. It was one of the reasons behind death of people. Also, people who were traded were kept in inhuman conditions and were starved. Unable to deal with such disastrous conditions, many of them committed suicides.