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How did advances in technology and learning influence 15th and 16th century European trade and exploration?

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Emily Wiesiolek

on 7 September 2012

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Transcript of How did advances in technology and learning influence 15th and 16th century European trade and exploration?

Written by: Emily Wiesiolek Advancements in 15th and 16th century European trade and exploration From the beginning of time maps were instrumental in traveling in the land of the unknown. Unfortunately, for the most part of the 12th century, maps were crude, and proved to be little to no help to sailors. But as time went on the invention of portolani maps, created by navigators and mathematicians, showed coastal contours, distances between ports, and compass readings. Portolani maps were more useful but it's creators failed to realize that the world was round, making most of the measurements inaccurate. By the 15th century, Ptolemy, a second century AD astronomer, created a map most similar to the modern version we see today. In "The Geography," the name of the map, Ptolemy shows the Earth as a spherical shape, with three major landmasses - Europe, Asia, and Africa with only two oceans, along with faces under the Earth to show the wind currents. This map was mass produced from 1477 on, causing trade and exploration to forever be changed. The Evolution of
Medieval Maps Portolani map Ptolemy's map " The Geography" New Knowledge:
Wind Patterns Another major advancement for trade and exploration was the new founded knowledge of trade winds and wind patterns in the Atlantic Ocean. The first fleet of European ships that sailed southward had found their efforts to sail practically impossible due to the strong winds that blew from the north along the coast. So, by the 15th century sailors learned to tack out into the ocean, where they would be able to catch west winds in the area of the Azores that brought them back to the coast of western Europe. This proved to be useful, as Christopher Colombus used the same technique in his voyage to the Americas. Overall, with the knowledge of trade winds, many sailors were able to travel places they hadn't been able to, due to their lack of knowledge. The Building of Ships Lateen Ship Lateen rigged ship Another major innovation that continually changed exploration in Europe was the building of ships. Europeans mastered the use of an axial rudder, an import from China, which combined the use of lateen sails with a square rig to direct ships paths. These ships were called lanteen rigged ships. With this new innovation, they could build ships that could sail against wind and engage in naval warfare, making them large enough to mount cannons, and carry a good amount of goods over long distances. A final invention that effected exploration and trade was new navigational tools. The back staff, invented by John Davis in 1594, helped navigators measure angles accurately without having to look directly at the sun, proving to be very helpful. While the nocturnal, created in 1581, measured the angle from the North Star to pointer stars at night. Another invention was the astrolabe, made truly before 400 AD, astrolabe's helped sailors solve problems pertaining to time and the position of the stars and the sun. Overall, without these tools,
sailors would of not been so confident in the ocean. New Tools,
New Opportunities back staff astrolabe nocturnal
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