Christopher Columbus's Goals for Exploration

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About this sample


Words: 607 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 607|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Table of contents

  1. 1. Economic Gain
  2. 2. Religious Zeal
  3. 3. Fame and Recognition
  4. 4. Geographic and Scientific Discovery
  5. Conclusion

Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, is widely known for his voyages across the Atlantic Ocean in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. His expeditions had a significant impact on the world, leading to the Columbian Exchange, the establishment of European colonies in the Americas, and the eventual globalization of trade and culture. However, the motivations and goals behind Columbus's exploration have been a topic of much debate among historians and scholars. In this essay, we will examine the various goals that drove Columbus to embark on his historic voyages and the implications of his actions.

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1. Economic Gain

One of the primary motivations behind Columbus's exploration was the pursuit of economic gain. During the late 15th century, Europe was experiencing a period of economic expansion and innovation. The desire for wealth and trade opportunities with the East, particularly for spices and other luxury goods, was a driving force behind Columbus's voyages. In his efforts to find a new, westward route to Asia, Columbus aimed to establish direct trade links with the lucrative markets of the East, bypassing the existing trade routes controlled by Islamic powers. Additionally, Columbus was driven by the prospect of discovering new lands rich in resources, such as gold, silver, and other valuable commodities, which could be exploited for the benefit of the Spanish crown and himself.

2. Religious Zeal

Another significant goal for Columbus's exploration was the spread of Christianity. In the late 15th century, the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, were engaged in the Reconquista, the campaign to expel the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula and consolidate Christian power. Columbus, a devout Catholic, saw his voyages as an opportunity to further the cause of Christianity by converting indigenous peoples to the faith and expanding the influence of the Church. His journal entries and letters reveal his belief that his voyages were part of a divine mission to bring Christianity to the "new world" and to save souls from eternal damnation.

3. Fame and Recognition

Columbus also had ambitions of achieving fame and recognition for his explorations. In an era marked by intense competition among European powers for glory and prestige, Columbus sought to secure his place in history as a great explorer and navigator. He envisioned himself as a new Marco Polo, who would open up new frontiers and expand the known world. By discovering a westward route to Asia, Columbus hoped to gain the favor of the Spanish crown and secure the rewards and titles that would elevate his social status and secure his place in the annals of history.

4. Geographic and Scientific Discovery

Furthermore, Columbus was driven by a genuine curiosity about the world and a desire to make scientific and geographic discoveries. He was influenced by the intellectual and technological advancements of the Renaissance, which encouraged a spirit of inquiry and exploration. Columbus was inspired by the prospect of finding new lands, mapping uncharted territories, and unraveling the mysteries of the world. His voyages were fueled by a desire to expand the known boundaries of the world and to contribute to the advancement of geographic knowledge and understanding.

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Christopher Columbus's goals for exploration were shaped by a complex interplay of economic, religious, personal, and intellectual motivations. While his voyages had far-reaching consequences, including the Columbian Exchange and the establishment of European colonial empires in the Americas, it is essential to critically examine the underlying motives that drove Columbus to set sail across the Atlantic. By understanding the multifaceted nature of Columbus's goals, we can gain a deeper insight into the historical significance of his expeditions and their enduring impact on the world.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Christopher Columbus’s Goals for Exploration. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
“Christopher Columbus’s Goals for Exploration.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
Christopher Columbus’s Goals for Exploration. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 May 2024].
Christopher Columbus’s Goals for Exploration [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 May 21]. Available from:
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