TheImportance of the Age of Discovery
TheImportance of the Age of Discovery
Theage of discovery, also known as the age of exploration is one of themost significant periods in which a platform the development of themodern world was created. It is estimated that the age of discoverybegan in 1418 and ended in the year 1620 (Teachers CurriculumInstitute, 2013). During this duration of time, the western world,especially the Europeans made a large number of voyages to differentparts and continents of the world. Although different people madetheir voyages for varying reasons, the desire to find new traderoutes was the primary driving force. The issue of whether the age ofdiscovery had any benefit to the world is still controversial withone camp suggesting that it should be renamed to an age ofdestruction. However, in my opinion, the age of discovery wascritical and made a significant impact on the global economy. To thisend, I disagree with the suggestion that the age should be referredto as the age of destruction.
Thereare four major factors indicating that the age of discovery wasdestructive as suggested by some people. First, new trade routes wereidentified, which in turn facilitated international trade. Forexample, the Portuguese traders could easily trade with people fromAsia and other parts of Europe. This resulted in the introduction ofnew goods that were not available in either of the regions. ThePortuguese brought new crops (such as maize) to areas that theyvisited and took other goods (including gold, silver, spices, andjewelry) to their homeland (Sitko, 2012). This implies that theforeign trade, which makes a significant contribution to the growthof the modern economy, was initiated during the age of discovery.Since then, people from different parts of the world have beenselling and buying goods that are not available locally. Thisresulted in the importance of the concepts of import and exports,which is the essence of the modern foreign trade.
Secondly,the age of discovery is characterized with the increase in thepopularity of the concept of capitalism. Although socialist criticizecapitalism on the grounds that it leads to the accumulation of wealthin a few hands, it is evident that the concept created the basis ofmodern businesses. For example, capitalists believed that business ortrade should be done with the objective of making some profit(Teachers Curriculum Institute, 2013). This is the foundation of themodern global economic system, which helps in the determination ofprofitable business projects. Profits made from the voyages wereploughed back into the business since capitalists were businessminded people. This resulted in the rapid economic growth incontinents that supported capitalism. Moreover, capitalism increasedthe significance of money, which in turn allowed the pricing of goodsdepending on the market forces instead of selling them at a fixingprice (Teachers Curriculum Institute, 2013). This marked the originof the idea of market forces of supply and demand, which is criticalin determining prices of different commodities, thus reducing theexploitation of consumers by traders.
Third,the discoveries made during the age of exploration resulted in thevaluation of human labor, which was given a monetary value. Thismeans that people could for hire instead of working to thesatisfaction of basic needs, such as food or clothing (TeachersCurriculum Institute, 2013). Established merchants hired people withdifferent skills to work in their businesses, which gave the peoplewho were not business orient an opportunity to earn a living and meettheir needs. This was common in the cottage, manufacturing, and themining industries. Hiring of people to earn money is the essence ofthe modern day’s employment where people are hired by businessowners and compensated for their contribution in these businesses.Therefore, growth in trade benefitted those who took part in thevoyages as well as those who operated in the domestic markets.
Afew people who think that the age of discovery was associated withdestruction associated it with the slave trade and the development ofweapons of mass destruction among other drawbacks (Juvy, 2014). Although some of these claims are true, the large number of benefitsrealized during age of exploration exceeds the shortcomings. Inaddition, some of the issues cited as the drawbacks (such as thedevelopment of weapons) are part of the modern development. Forexample, the development of weapons in the European countries made asignificant contribution towards the technological advancement (Pitt,2014). This means that some of the negative factors stated by theopponents of the age of discovery were the side effects that occurredin the pursuit of the greater good.
Inconclusion, the age of discovery is associated with many benefits,which suggests that naming it as a destructive age is a mistakenidea. The age of discovery is closely associated with the rapidgrowth of global trade, which has contributed towards the developmentof the global economy. In addition, capitalism increased during theage of discovery, which in turn resulted in the development of theconcept of profit making. Moreover, the significance of the use ofmoney in trade resulted in the valuation of commodities and humanlabor in terms of monetary value. To this end, the age of discoverywas constructive as opposed to destructive.
Juvy,R. (2014). You would not want to be a slave during the age ofexploration. MixBooks.Retrieved December 12, 2014, fromhttp://www.mixbook.com/photo-books/education/you-wouldn-t-want-to-be-a-slave-during-the-age-of-exploration-5161788
Pitt,W. (2014). Spices spur sailors. InDepth Information.Retrieved December 25, 2014, fromhttp://www.indepthinfo.com/history/age-of-exploration.htm
Sitko,J. (2012). Thegreat age of exploration (1400-1550).Evanston, IL: United Learning.
TeachersCurriculum Institute (2013). Theage of exploration.Cordova, CA: Teachers Curriculum Institute.