Influences Of The Renaissance Upon The Founding Of America

The Renaissance was the most influential time period in the discovery of America. During the Renaissance, which lasted from the 14th century to the 17th century, great advancements were made in methods of navigation. Also, the greatest goal of almost every nation and empire was to claim new lands and seize its riches. The desire for the land motivated some to move westward. Another motive to expand during the Renaissance was the will to convert the native "heathens" into Christians.

The Renaissance, which began in Italy in the 1300s, was one of the largest periods of growth and development in Western Europe. Navigation was no longer limited to traveling about by land. Large fleets of ships were constructed, and great navigational schools, the best founded by Prince Henry the Navigator in Portugal, were founded. People were no longer tied to the lands they lived on, as they were in medieval times. They were freer to learn new skills and travel. These enabled people to go further than they had before. Fleets of ships were sent to the Eastern world to bring back treasures and valuable spices. Routes to Asia were traveled beginning in the early Renaissance.

The most posing problems with the set routes to Asia, which went around the Cape of Good Hope and along the coast of Africa, were that it was very dangerous due to enemy colonies along the route and was also very long. These problems made some people, including Christopher Columbus, decide to turn to the west to find safer and faster routes to the riches of Asia. What they found was the Americas. Believing that he would reach Asia, Columbus accidentally found a new continent, full of new riches and unclaimed lands. All of this occurred near the end of the Renaissance, beginning with the founding of America in 1492, near the end of the 15th century.

Europe flocked to this New World, and founded many colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies, founded by Great Britain, which later became the first states in the United States of America. From these colonies, they extracted the wealth of and gold and spices that they sought in Asia. Additionally, they would convert the native people of the lands to Christianity. Columbus saw himself as a messenger of G-d, who brought salvation to the natives by converting them. Missionaries were built wherever a colony was founded, and often along the route of an exploration. California is littered with large cities, like San Diego and San Francisco, which began as small missionaries. Many of our nation\'s major cities would not be as prevalent in our history, and perhaps may have not existed, were it not for the missionaries.

The basic motives for Europe during the Renaissance - the desire for new lands, riches, and Christians - drew Europe to the west. Without the advancements made in navigational methods and the urge for expansion that the Renaissance fueled, our nation would not exist, at least in the context it does today.

Category: History