The authors distinguish many motives for exploration and colonization in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Thus, Reinhartz and Jones (241) considering the exploration and colonization from the perspective of Spain, cite the following motives: expansion of national power and embracing prestige, search for mythical kingdoms, curiosity and adventure, aspirations for economic benefits and control of trade, search for a cheap labor. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century Spain and Portugal were European superpowers. Therefore, they took lead in early exploration and colonization. Being powerful nations, Spain and Portugal had the capacity and resources to build a powerful fleet. Spain and Portugal also had better science compared to other European nations. They developed more accurate maps and collected more information about currents and winds (Findlink 91). Spain and Portugal can be regarded as pioneers of the European colonization. They came to the New World in the fifteenth century. There also was a rivalry between Spain and Portugal as far as colonization is concerned (Findlink 91). The rivalry became so fierce that Pope had to intervene and to proclaim a Line of Demarcation which was aimed to divide unexplored parts of the world between Portugal and Spain (Findlink 91).
One may observe that the main reason for Spain and Portugal to be the leaders of the early colonization is their internal and external power. Spain had gained the power through its numerous invasions. Ferdinand and Isabella are notorious European monarchs. They are best known for their struggle against Muslims in Spain. When the war with Muslims was over Isabella finally satisfied the Columbus’s request for financial support for his expedition (Morris 40). Such decision perhaps was motivated by crusading conditions and conditions of conquest (Morris 40). Portuguese had not such traditions of conquest as Spain. However, they had well-established merchant traditions. Thus, by the end of the fifteen century Portuguese successfully traded with the African territories (Morris 41). If Spanish were driven by the conquest tradition, the Portuguese were driven by merchant one.
Findlink, J. Events that changed the world through the sixteenth century. Westport, CT, USA : Greenwood Press , 2001. Print.
Morris, A.T. Europe and England in the Sixteenth Century. Routledge, 1998. Print.
Reinhartz, D and Jones, O. “The Spanish Entrada into North America, 1513-1549” in Allen, J.L. A New World Disclosed. U of Nebraska Press, 1997. Print.
Posted by: Lee Boyle