Importance of the Renaissance Period for European Overseas
Exploration

The purpose of this essay is to explain why the Renaissance must have occurred in order
for Europe to begin overseas exploration. During the Renaissance, many new ideas formed, and
many old ideas were reborn. Some of these ideas that affected overseas exploration for Europe
are technological advancements in cartography, printing, and navigational devices for ships.

The word Renaissance means “rebirth of knowledge”. during the Renaissance, many
Arabic thoughts were reborn, such as mathematics, geometry, and algebra. So were sciences
such as chemistry and astronomy. Many of these ideas led to technological advancements in
Europe like the Astrolabe, Sextant, and even new forms of shipbuilding such as the caravel,
invented in 1470.

In 1454, Johannes Gutenburg perfected the printing press. This led to the fast spread of
ideas and thoughts. The printing press was used as a fast, easy way to publish ideas. People
took advantage of the press, and began having their own ideas printed and spread for the use and
knowledge of others. This way a group of people could focus on the same idea or belief and
work together to accomplish the same task, without handwriting their individual research for
everyone in the group.

Throughout the Renaissance, there was a general idea of Humanism. humanism is the
belief that people should seek their own guidance and fulfillment in life through gaining
knowledge of the world. Many cartographers were inspired by this belief and therefore began to
learn more about the world through both navigation and map-making.

This Renaissance was important for European overseas exploration in the sense that
many advances were made during the Renaissance in the field of ships and off-land navigational
devices. Gutenburg perfected the printing press leading to the spread of many ideas quicker.
Humanists learned about distant lands through cartography, and navigation.