The documents which comprise the greater part of this book are concerned with the process of maritime discovery. Most of them are either eyewitness accounts written by men who took part in voyages of discovery; or else comments by contemporaries who were in a position to assess their achievements. The voyages themselves were incidents in a persistent, determined, and ultimately successful European endeavor to establish direct contact, first with West Africa, subsequently with Asia; more specifically, to link individual centers in western Europe with places in India, the Indonesian islands, China, and Japan; places known or believed to exist, and reputed to be of high civilization and great commercial importance. The main purpose of the voyages was to discover, not new lands, but new routes to old lands. They reflected not only a keen commercial demand in Europe for goods of Oriental origin, but an intense curiosity among Europeans about the East itself.
KeywordsSixteenth Century Fifteenth Century Fourteenth Century Geographical Knowledge Eyewitness Account
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List of Works Cited
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