1.  Discuss the Europeans’ reasons for exploring.


3-The rise of the ambitious strong nations: Spain, Portugal, England, and France caused them to seek sources of wealth outside their territory.  Exploration allowed them to find new trade routes or new sources of wealth like gold, silver, or goods like silk and spices.

4-New technology led to better tools and ships which also made nations more powerful.  The growth of trade brought about by the Italian city states (Livorno, Genoa, and Venice) was stifled by the difficulty of the terrain, conflict with the Arab world, and higher prices sought by Asian traders.

2-The European’s wanted more goods and looked for better ways to get them.

1-Marco Polo wrote a book about China and they used compasses.


2.  Describe the role of Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the Age of Exploration.


3-Prince Henry established a center of exploration.  Bartolomeu Dias reached the southern tip of Africa.  Vasco da Gama sailed to India discovering the first sea route to India.  Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil accidentally, giving Portugal land in the America’s.

Columbus sailing to find a route to India for Spain discovered the New World.  Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the world (circumnavigated).  The conquistadors Hernando Cortes and Juan Pizzarro conquered lands in Central and South America bringing new land and gold to Spain.  De Soto and Coronado explored North America discovering the Mississippi River and the Southwest.

4-Prince Henry’s center brought in astronomers, geographers, and mathematicians to work with ship builders and sailors.  King John renamed the tip of Africa the Cape of Good Hope to encourage sailing around this hazardous point.  Da Gama visited many cities along the way to India.  Columbus actually discovered two new continents.  Only 18 of Magellan’s crew survived the circumnavigation.  Cortes conquered the Aztecs and Pizzarro conquered the Incas.  Disease played an important role in the destruction of the Aztec and Incan Empires by these small bands of Spanish Conquistadors.  The Spanish were really searching for quick sources of gold to aid them in their struggles with England.  The Spanish established many forts in present day North America before the arrival of other nation’s explorers.

2-Portugal led the way in searching for sea routes to Asia.  Spanish conquistadors found gold and conquered people in South America.

1-Columbus discovered America.


3.  Explain the impact of national rivalries on exploring the Americas


3-Spain and Portugal, England and Spain, the Dutch (Netherlands), and French were competing both for trade and between each other for political or religious reasons.  The Spanish and Portuguese concentrated on finding trade routes to Asia around South America while the English, Dutch, and French sought the Northwest Passage.  Because of the rivalries the countries began staking out more territories in the New World and either defending them from each other or attacking them to eliminate them.  England had adventurers like Sir Francis Drake attack the Spanish ships.

4-The Dutch and French paid explorers from other countries to work for them.  England used piracy to steal Spanish wealth.

2-The European nations carried their rivalries to the New World and fought for control of wealth and trade routes.

1-European countries fought each other over land and wealth in the New World.


4.  Explain the influence of Greece and Rome on later political thought


3-Greece provided the concept of democracy in which people gathered in mass meetings to decide things.  Rome provided the concepts of the rule of law and the republic.  Laws apply equally to everyone and people choose their representatives.

4-The Greeks developed philosophy or a love of wisdom which led to the study of history and political science.  Rule of law is an understanding of justice that is the basis of the American legal system today.

2-Greeks allowed everyone to vote.  The Roman Republic had rules of law that applied to every one.

1-Greeks voted and Romans had laws in their Republic.


5.  Explain Renaissance ideas on government and religion


3-The Renaissance was a period of rebirth and renewed interest in classical Greek and Roman learning.  With the Rise of Protestantism, people criticized the abuse of authority by the Catholic Church and broke away forming their own, new churches.  The rising nation states supported these churches, further lessening the authority of the Catholic Church.  In England, the Puritans wanted to purify the Anglican Church, but they were persecuted and eventually were sent to form the American colonies.  The English Bill of Rights guaranteed certain rights to individuals and inspired the American Bill of Rights.

4-As the Italian merchants brought wealth to the Italian states they pursued an interest in the past and learning.  Scholars began writing about the individual and the universe.  Martin Luther led a revolt against the church which strengthened the authority of the rising nation states and led to an increase in exploration.  John Calvin ideas, CALVINISM, encouraged people to work hard and behave themselves.  The English Bill of Rights established the principle of limited government.

2-The Renaissance was a period of artistic and intellectual thinking.  People formed their own churches and nations gained more power.

1-The Renaissance happened after the Middle Ages.  People didn’t like some of the things the Catholic Church was doing.


6.  Discuss the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers


3-The Enlightenment was a period of time when educated Europeans believed that reason was a better guide than faith or tradition.  Copernicus and Galileo questioned the idea that the Earth was the center of the solar system.  Newton claimed that the physical universe followed natural laws.  Voltaire opposed the government supporting one religion over another.  Montesquieu thought government should separate its power between legislative, judicial, and executive branches.  Rousseau thought people shouldn’t rely only on reason, but should consider their feelings.  He also thought that society agrees to be governed by the general will.  Thomas Hobbes thought humans were naturally selfish and violent and that a strong ruler was required to direct people.  John Locke thought that people have natural rights and that government was responsible to the people.

4-The ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers formed the basis for many concepts of American Government.  The ideas of Natural rights that cannot be taken away; that the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government should be separate and equal; and that governments serve the will of the people and not tell them what to do.

2-The enlightenment thinkers thought that reason was better than faith.  They thought people have rights and that the government should listen to them.  Diderot created a dictionary and Voltaire thought people should choose their own religion.  Montesquieu thought governments should share power and Rousseau thought government should make a Social Contract with people.  Hobbes thought people needed a strong leader because they were naturally bad and Locke thought people have rights the government can’t take away.

1-The enlightenment thinkers thought people have rights and that the government should respect them and let them be free to choose.


Mr. James P. Realini
(408) 522-8288 EXT 509