European Exploration

MOTIVATIONS

The European countries of Spain, France, and England were in competition to claim the newly discovered continent of North America. Spain, France, and England were motivated to spread Christianity, find great riches, and expand their empire and culture.

OBSTACLES

The First Obstacle of Reaching North America

The first obstacle of reaching North America was that the explorers had poor maps and navigational tools. Other than the cross-staff, which helped explorers locate latitude, and the compass, which helped explorers identify direction, the only other tool they had were from nature. They had to watch schools of fish, cloud types, winds, and birds to help them navigate their way across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Second Obstacle of Reaching North America

The second obstacle of reaching North America was the lack of adequate supplies. Ferocious storms and rough seas slowed them down or blew them off course, slowing them down by weeks, or sometimes even months. There was not enough supplies on board to last more than a few weeks.

The Third Obstacle of Reaching North America

The third obstacle of reaching North America was disease and starvation, that was created by the lack of adequate supplies. Sailors often became sick due to a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, and bad water supplies.

The Fourth Obstacle of Reaching North America

The fourth obstacle of reaching North America was that the sailors were afraid of the unknown. Some sailors were afraid of fictitious things like falling over the edge of the world or being eaten by giant sea-monsters. Other sailors believed in more real things like wrecking on rocky coastlines, the fierce storms of the open ocean, or running aground on underwater sand bars.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Although the obstacles were great, European explorers had many accomplishments. Exploration of North America brought an exchange of goods and ideas between the Europeans and the American Indians. It also resulted in improved navigational tools and ships. Most importantly,however, were the huge areas of land or territory claimed for the major European powers.