The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration, was a period starting in the early 15th century and continuing to the 17th century during which Europeans explored Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 severed European trade links by land with Asia leading many to begin seeking routes east by sea and spurred the age of exploration. Historians often refer to the 'Age of Discovery' as the pioneer Portuguese and Spanish long-distance maritime travels in search of alternative trade routes to "the East Indies", moved by the trade of gold, silver and spices.
The Age of Discovery can be seen as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era, along with its contemporary Renaissance movement, triggering the early modern period and the rise of European nation-states. Accounts from distant lands and maps spread with the help of the new printing press fed the rise of humanism and worldly curiosity, ushering in a new age of scientific and intellectual inquiry. European overseas expansion led to the rise of colonial empires, with the contact between the Old and New Worlds producing the Columbian Exchange: a wide transfer of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and culture between the Eastern and Western hemispheres, in one of the most significant global events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in history. European exploration allowed the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new world-view and distant civilizations acknowledging each other, reaching the most remote boundaries much later.
Read more about Age Of Discovery: Overview, Background, Atlantic Ocean (1419–1507), Inland Spanish conquistadores (1519–1532), New Trade Routes (1542–1565), Northern European Involvement (1595–17th Century), Russian Exploration of Siberia (1581–1660), Global Impact
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