Before the 1500s nobody knew that North or South America even existed. This was because it was believed that the world was flat and that if you sailed out far enough that you would sail off the edge of the earth. Finally, after reading of Marco Polo’s travels in Cathay, Christopher Columbus decided to challenge this. He believed that he could sail west and get to Asia. He eventually convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Elizabeth of Spain to fund his exploration. So what was it that motivated Europeans to explore the America’s in the 1500s? (The Europeans only explored America to find a sea route through it to Asia, to bring back goods and people that they had discovered, and to eventually spread Christianity to the Native Americans.) During the 1400s the Europeans were introduced to new good from Asia through the Muslims. Unfortunately for the Europeans, the Muslims were intelligent and priced these rare goods expensively. Some of the goods they would trade for were spices, dyes, fruits, painted porcelain, and rich tapestries.
Europe wanted these items cheaper, but a route to Asia by land was too long and expensive. This prompted explorers to find sea routes, because they would be much cheaper and faster. Christopher Columbus had a genius idea to sail west across the Pacific Ocean to get to Asia. He convinced the King and Queen of Spain by telling them that they would be able to get these Asian goods and become very rich from it. Although his idea was brilliant, there was one flaw to it…America. Out of the four times he sailed to the Caribbean Islands he never realized exactly where he was. He had thought that he was in the Indie islands just off the coast of Cathay. The only reason that the area was even discovered was because they wanted to find Asia’s mainland. It continued to be like this until about 80 years in the future. While the Spaniards were searching for Asia they did find people and metals that they were very interested in. One particular metal that caught their attention while scouting for a Northwest Passage was gold. In the Caribbean Islands they found incalculable amounts of it. They would take this back to Spain and give a portion to the King and Queen. They also came across the Native Americans.
Because it was still believed that they were in the Indie islands Christopher Columbus brought it upon himself to name these people Indians. In 1493 Pope Alexander VI declared that Christianity must be spread throughout the Indians in the New World. He demanded that other priests be sent to teach them to worship Crist. The Pope wanted to implement the Catholic faith to America’s residents and inhabitants. This faith was going to teach the natives to have good morals. To summarize, thanks to the daringness of Christopher Columbus, even though he never realized it, America was discovered. Had it not been for him being able to persuade the Spanish rulers to fund his expedition I don’t think America would have been discovered. If America hadn’t been found the European countries wouldn’t have found a sea route to Asia, gotton abundant amounts of gold, or have been able to spread Christianity around the globe. These are the sole reasons that the Americas were discovered and explored.