After reestablishing authority over China, the Ming decided to upgrade their navy.
They sponsored seven massive naval expeditions in order to reinforce Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean, impose imperial control over trade, and impress foreign peoples with the authority of the Ming Dynasty.
The expeditions were led by the mariner.
He traveled alone with 28,000 troops.
He sailed to Southeast Asia, India, the Persian Gulf, Arabia, and East Africa.
He received gifts throughout the travels.
The Chinese emperor was convinced by Confucian officials that the voyages were too expensive and unprofitable.
The voyages ended in 1433 and the ships were allowed to rot.
Prior to the Age of Exploration, the kingdom of Portugal was an impoverished one due to the rough landscape.
Portugal's finances were improved because of the economic deficiency, as well as the interest in accessing luxury goods more cheaply.
The monarchy of Portugal wanted to control the spice trade by finding a sea route to India.
There was interest in locating the kingdom of Prester John, a supposed Christian ruler, to form an alliance against Islam.
The Portuguese established schools and sponsored expeditions along the West African coast under the leadership of Prince Henry the Navigator.
The "turn of the sea", a trade wind that allowed ships to sail past the west coast of Africa, was the key innovation of Portuguese navigators.
The counterintuitive step to sail far west into the open ocean was needed to catch the winds that would bring ships back to the southern tip of Africa.
The first Indian voyage lost a third of its crew but still made 60 times the investment of the expedition as the Portuguese did.
The Portuguese recorded winds, sea currents, tides, port locations, and more.
They conducted live trials of their cannons at sea, figuring out how to best sink enemy ships and bombard coastal targets.
Portugal was superior despite India having a gunpowder empire.
They used muskets and crossbows instead of bows and had superior armor.
Portugal was able to establish a lucrative empire.
It is a myth that Christopher Columbus wanted to prove that the Earth was round.
Columbus' claim that he could sail eastward to Asia was dismissed by Portuguese mathematicians.
They weren't aware of the existence of the Americas.
Spain wanted a way to circumvent the Portuguese monopoly on sea routes along West Africa.
Spain conquered the Americas while Portugal built its empire in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The Philippines, along with several small islands in the Pacific, were conquered by Spain.
The Dutch East India Company, a massive business conglomerate with monopolies in several areas, was the right arm of the Dutch Republic.
The British East India Company was modeled after the Dutch East India Company.
Most of the Dutch Empire's holdings were in the East Indies, the Cape Colony, and the Americas.
The high standards of living in the Dutch Republic did not motivate citizens to emigrate.
The European powers eventually absorbed some of its outposts, like New Amsterdam.
North America and India were the focus of English voyages.
John Cabot was employed by Henry VII.
The first captain to survive the entire voyage was Sir Francis Drake.
England favored settlers over the other European powers.
England at the start of the Age of Exploration was a poor area of Europe which motivated some people to emigrate to its overseas holdings.
Political rights and freedom were associated with land ownership.
The British East India Company initially struggled against its Dutch counterpart, but eventually gained a foothold in India and was able to shut out European rivals, such as the Anglo-Dutch Wars.
France was interested in the spice trade in India as well as the exploration of North America.
Jacques Cartier was the first European to travel inland in North America.
The comparative wealth of France did not motivate much emigration to rough frontier forts and villages.