Unlike the Way the 'Race for the Term Paper

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unlike the way the 'race for the moon' became the driving force of American scientific exploration during the 1950's and 1960's, the race to control the trade routes to the far reaches of the globe and to expand its technological knowledge of navigation became the driving force of Spanish foreign and domestic policy during the period of world history from the 15th to the 17th centuries. This period is also commonly called "The Age of Discovery" by European historians. The economic impact of Spain's forays into the New World or worlds ultimately changed the face of European knowledge of the world and the economic structure of Europe. Both the residents of Spain and Europe as a whole, however, experienced both positive and negative effects of this exploration. However, the effects upon Europe were on the whole largely beneficial, because of the increased exposure to new goods and the expansion of technology and knowledge that came as a result of colonization and exploration. However, the impact upon the existing inhabitants of the New World was largely negative.

The Age of Discovery began, not in Spain, but in Spain's sister state of Portugal.

Henry the Navigator, Prince of Portugal, initiated the first great enterprise of the Age of Discovery, the search for a sea route east by south to Cathay. The three marks of the briefly Portuguese Empire were trade, anti-Islamism, and the Christian religion. The Portuguese believed treaty need be kept with an infidel, and had a tendency to cruelty beyond the normal limits of even contemporary expectations of humane and moral behavior. However, the Portuguese must be credited with their discovery Cape of Good Hope, one of the roughest seas, but key in crossing for trade, as well as their technological advances in navigation and seafaring.
But Portugal was soon over-extended. Empire building in the East did not bring Portugal's crown as much profit as had been anticipated. The Portuguese seamen increasingly became private merchants, lining own pockets rather than the royal treasury. The Eastern footholds were expensive for a small country like Portugal to maintain. It was therefore the Spanish in the long run reaped the harvest of Portuguese enterprise, even after Portugal claimed Ceylon, the East Indies and Spice Islands. (American Spice Trade Organization -- The Age of Discovery)

Spain reaped the benefits of Portuguese navigational instruments, mathematics, and knowledge and ultimately used Portuguese explorers and the knowledge gained from the Portuguese endeavors to enrich their own nation. (The Age of Discovery) However, it was the Italian Christopher Columbus, in his conquest of the West Indies, as well as Magellan, who solidified Spain's control over the New World. Although often mocked for his failure to understand that he had not circumnavigated the globe, after his exploratory mission, Spain developed an enormous empire in the New World, following Columbus' arrival in the Americas in 1492. Gold and silver came flooding into Spanish coffers from Mexico and Peru as the conquistadors claimed land from Cuba to Bolivia. Spain monopolized trade with these new colonies and became one of the most powerful nations on earth. The Age of Discovery for Spain became the source of economic wealth and international prestige. (The Lonely Planet's….....

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