Voyages, Discoveries and the Renaissance | Medieval Period | Geography (2023)


In this article we will discuss about the impact of voyages, discoveries and the renaissance on geography.

It is surprising to note that the exploring activities among the Arabs and the Chinese gradually came to an end. There was no great Arab traveller after lbn-Batuta in the fourteenth century, and in China, the end came after the seventh expedition of Cheng Ho in 1433.

But the exploring activities in Europe all of a sudden increased in the fifteenth century and this time they were well-planned and supported by governments or by merchant companies and expedition to the open oceans were preferred. It was a major turning point in the world geographical scholarship as new discoveries largely removed the doubts created by the earlier notions and concepts.


These exploring activities were motivated by religious and economic factors – the zeal to spread the Christian faith and the need to replenish the European supplies of precious metals and spices, and the desire for personal wealth.

The desire to liberate the greater part of Spain and Portugal from the Arab rule, as a part of a unified national consciousness, accelerated the zeal to spread the Christian faith. Increasing trading activities with a view to provide financial support for trade necessitated the need for a supply of gold and silver or valuable gems.

Prince Henry of Portugal is credited with organising voyages and expeditions to the open seas. The fall of Arab stronghold on the southern side of the strait of Gibraltar under his command in 1415, widened the horizon of the Portuguese world. Prince Henry is also credited with the establishment of the world’s first geographic research institute in 1418.

At Sagres, he built a palace, a chapel, an astronomical observatory, and buildings to store collections of maps and manuscripts, and houses for the institute staff. He may be compared with Roger II of Sicily who found Palermo for the academic activities. Like Roger II, Prince Henry brought scholars of all faiths to Sagres from all around the Mediterranean. Master Jacome of Majorca was the chief geographer.

The purpose behind the setting up of Sagres was to improve and teach the methods of navigation to Portuguese sea captains, to teach the new decimal mathematics, and to shift the evidence from documents and maps concerning the possibility of sailing southward along the African coast and thence to the Spice Islands.


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Prince Henry’s captains successfully sailed to the three groups of islands of the Atlantic off North Africa and Europe that included the Canary Islands (Ptolemy’s Fortunate Islands), the Madetra Islands, and the Azores. The discovery of these islands by the Portuguese sailors brought about changes in the perception about the high seas, and the bearings which were wrongly shown on the Portolano Chart of 1351 were made accurate.

In 1434, one of the trusted captains of Prince Henry, Gil Eannes sailed south of the latitude of Bojador and turned eastward. He made his first attempt to sail to Cape Bojador in 1433, but was forced to return to Sagres. The contemporary belief was that the strong current of water along the coast formed eddies with much foam off the end of the cape and the water was boiling, and the people would become black if they moved beyond the cape.

It is reported that when Gil Eannes reached the shore, the water was not boiling and no one turned black. The ‘cape Bojador puzzle’ thus came to an end. The very next year, Portuguese ships sailed 350 miles south of Bojador.


Under Prince Henry’s constant patronage, the Portuguese sailors had sailed far enough south to reach the southern zone of transition between the desert and the humid country beyond. In 1473, a Portuguese ship crossed the equator without burning. This expedition successfully encountered what the Greek geographers had said earlier.

Between 1486 and 87, Bartholomew Dias sailed southward from the equator and to avoid stormy weather, he sailed far out westward away from the land and reached the coast of southern Africa at Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth). While coming back, he passed Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa, and then the Cape of Good Hope.

Between 1497 and 1499, Vasco da Gama made his famous voyage across the Arabian Sea to reach Calicut on the west coast of India. He made a wide circle out into the Atlantic before turning eastward along the latitude of Cape Agulhas and voyaged along the coast of Mozambique and then sailed eastward. By the time Vasco da Gama returned to Lisbon, he had sailed 24,000 miles in more than two years. In 1510, the Portuguese took Goa on the west coast of India.

In 1511, they set up a base at Malacca on the strait between Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Japan was approached in 1542. In 1557, the Portuguese leased Macao from the Chinese and in 1590 they reached Taiwan and gave it the Portuguese name, Formosa.

Undoubtedly, the geographical explorations, conducted by the Portuguese in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, seemed to have collected a variety of information about the places, never visited by any European, and removed the doubts about certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean, created by the wrong notions of the earlier Greek geographers.

The voyages of Christopher Columbus during 1492-1504, across the North Atlantic Ocean also marked a turning point in the world’s history of expeditions. He was to have discovered Asia as he thought earlier about the possibility of sailing westward to Asia.

He read Ptolemy’s ‘Geography’, Cardinal Pierre d’ Ailly’s ‘Imago mundi’ and the books of Aeneas Silvius (Pope Pius II). He was familiar with the accounts of Marco Polo. But ever since he started his voyage, he carried forward with him certain wrong notions about the circumference of the Earth, and the eastward extension of the known lands of the Earth.

Columbus spent a few years in Portugal to study what was left of the institute at Sagres founded by Prince Henry in 1418. He reckoned that the east coast of Asia was located just about where the east coast of Mexico is actually located. However, his belief was strengthened when he found the southern coast of Cuba and the coast of Central America trending towards south-west, just as the coast of Asia was shown on Ptolemy’s map.

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When he heard from the Indians of Central America that there were sources of gold only a short distance west and that there was another great ocean beyond, he was sure it must be the Indian Ocean. He also thought that there must be a strait connecting the Caribbean with the Indian Ocean as he witnessed the great flow of water along the northern coast of South America.


He was the first explorer to discover and make use of the wind system of the Atlantic. Columbus had known about the presence of easterly winds in the low latitudes and of westerlies in the higher latitudes.

Columbus is credited with the Treaty of Tordessilles which was agreed upon by Spain and Portugal in 1494. Under the treaty, the world was divided between these two countries, and the dividing line was to be drawn 270 leagues west of the Azores or 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands. Portugal got exclusive rights over the land east of that line, Spain to the west of it.

The treaty gave Portugal a free hand in the Indian Ocean and Columbus got a free hand in the lands he discovered west of the Atlantic. The treaty of Tordessilles marked the beginning of the concept of the geometric boundary which in the nineteenth century became accepted principle for the European powers for the division of their colonial territories in Africa and elsewhere.

Magellan, or Fernao de Magalhaes, was the first European explorer to have reached eastern Asia by sailing west. His expedition began in 1518 and he sailed along the Brazilian coast, and in 1520 he found the entrance to the strait that bears Magellan’s name. It took him 30 days to pass through the 360 miles strait.

He moved in a north-westerly course for 98 days before he reached the Island of Guam. He reached the Philippines in 1521. Magellan, on a previous voyage for Portugal, had reached the Spice Islands (the Moluccas) which are east of the Philippines. Therefore, at this point he had become the first man to sail all the way around the Earth.

Certain inventions in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries further enhanced the contemporary knowledge about the Earth, as some of the major problems faced by the explorers had to be solved. To achieve perfection and accuracy, navigation was the major problem that the sailors had to be confronted with.

The preparation of the iso-thermic map by Edmund Halley who in 1699-1700 noted the magnetic variation he plotted on the map during a voyage, suggested that it was not the same for each longitude. In the sixteenth century, the cross-staff was invented.

The measurement of the Sun’s altitude by its shadow was made possible by the invention of the back- staff by John Davies. John Hadley invented the octant in 1731. The sextant, still in use, was a yet later improvement based on the principle first adopted by Davies. The British sailors are credited with the invention of the log which solved the problem concerning the measurement of speed at the sea.

This is invention solved the problem of measuring distance and direction and fixing the position on the surface of the Earth, and the determination of latitude, as it involved observations of the height of certain stars of the Sun above the horizon. These inventions, in fact, revolutionised the navigation as a result of which newer and correct ideas flourished with regard to the high seas and oceans.

In spite of some achievements in tackling the problem of perfecting the accuracy of navigation, there was more to be done because, until the longitude could be precisely determined, navigation remained dangerously inaccurate. The measurement of longitude needed some way of keeping accurate time at sea.

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It was felt as early as 1522 that a dependable time piece would solve the longitude problem. It was in 1657 that Christian Huygens invented the pendulum clock, but it was no good at sea. The need for an accurate clock was felt in 1707 when an English fleet was wrecked on the Scilly Island because the navigator had a wrong estimation of longitude.

In 1714, the British Parliament offered a reward to any person or persons who could devise a pendulum clock to measure time at sea with sufficient accuracy. John Harrison is credited with the invention of a pendulum clock which proved to be so accurate that for the first time in humankind s long effort to gain useful knowledge about the Earth, an explorer could tell about its exact position.

Harrison was given the reward in 1775. By this time French and Swiss clock-makers were almost ready with their models. After this date, navigators could measure longitude with the same precision with which they could measure latitude.

One of the major consequences of the age of discoveries and invention was that of an organised cartographic revolution which occurred simultaneously both at Venica and Genoa. The need was felt to correct the works of the ancient cartographers. It was as early as 1.459 that Fra Mauro for the first time prepared a map showing the Indian Ocean open to the south, thereby breaking the Ptolemaic tradition of enclosing that ocean.

It is not known how he could come to know about an open Indian Ocean, but his map like the other maps of his time was oriented towards the south. Martin Behaim of Nuremberg was the first cartographer to have devised the world’s first globe in 1490.

He was helped by a painter named Jorge Glockendon in the preparation of the globe which was based on the small estimate of the Earth’s circumference, but it was strange enough that Columbus could never have known of Behaim’s globe.

In 1500, Juan de la Cosa prepared a map using the observations obtained from the first three voyages of Christopher Columbus and also from John Cabot’s voyage to North America. Martin Woldseemuller in 1507 produced the first world map showing America as a separate continent and not the eastern continuation of Asia.

The word America was used by him to denote the new continent. This was largely because he thought that Amerigo Vespucci had reached the new continent before Columbus or because Amerigo was definitely the first explorer to identify the newly discovered land as a separate continent.

However, for navigation, this map was not found to be more useful than other maps of this period that made use of the Portolano principle of design. Explorers had already found that when they followed any of the straight lines on these maps for long voyages, they did not arrive at expected destination. The contemporary need was for a new kind of projection which could make it possible to show the curved surface of the Earth on a flat paper or parchment.

In 1530, Peter Apian prepared a heart-shaped map of the Earth with the curved lines of latitude and longitude. But Apian’s projection was found to be defective because distance and direction on the projection appeared to be distorted.

Gerard Krema, or Gerardus Mercator, produced a graticule for the world by joining two heart-shaped projections, one for each hemisphere. Mercator is credited for his projection which he produced in 1569 for the world. This projection was the only contemporary projection/map being used for navigation in the low and middle latitudes.

Though the projection offered solution to the problems of navigation and enabled the navigators/sailors to reach the desired destination by sailing the great circle (shortest) route, it was not widely adopted probably because of it being too mathematical. The sailors who were not trained in mathematics found difficulties in believing that a short line was not the shortest distance between two points on the surface of a sphere.

It was not until 1599 when Edward Wright produced the trigonometric tables that made it possible for other people to produce Marcator’s projection. It is also believed that in 1511, Erhard Etzlaub of Nuremberg prepared a map of Europe and Africa on the same principle as that of Mercator. It is not known whether Mercator knew about this or not.

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Abraham Ortelius of Antwerp produced the Ortelius atlas—’Theatrum orbis terrarum’ in 1570. Amsterdam gradually grew up as the major centre for the publication of atlases and wall maps, especially in the seventeenth century, breaking the tradition of Venice and Genoa in the art of map making.

Nicholas Sausond’ Abbeville was the first producer of world atlases in France, and founded a ‘dynasty of cartographers’ in the seventeenth century which produced maps and atlases for over a century. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the map-makers only slowly revised their maps to include the newest information and to acknowledge the existence of gaps in their information.

The period between 1768 and 1779 was a landmark in the history of geographical thought. Erroneous idea which the Christian Europe inherited from Ptolemy during the Middle Ages after his geography was translated into Latin, stipulated the presence of a great southland which he called terra australis incognita which enclosed the Indian Ocean on the south.

Though the Arab traders had known that the Indian Ocean was open to the south and the map of Fra Mauro showed it, there were many who either did not know about the Arabic writings or disputed the travel accounts of the Arab scholars.

It was during his first voyage (1768-71) that Captain Cook found no land at about 40°S latitude. His second voyage (1772-74) finally removed the wrong notion about Ptolemy’s great southland, as he sailed as far as 71°10′ south latitude.

However, through Captain Cook it became known that there was an ice-covered land farther south, which he had been unable to reach. In 1778, Captain Cook again sailed into the Arctic Ocean through the Berring Strait, but was unable to move further because of ice-floes at 70°44′ N.

Voyages, inventions and cartographic precision and innovations seemed to have solved certain major problems regarding navigation, determination of longitude, projection, and those arising out of many erroneons concepts of Ptolemy.

But in spite of all these major achievements in an era of discoveries, the problem concerning the shape of the Earth remained to be solved. The problem was whether to accept what Isaac Newton and Christian Huygens said in 1687 that the Earth must be flattened at the poles and it must bulge at the equator.

In 1720, Jacques Cassini contrasted what Newton and Huygens said about the shape of the Earth. The French Academy decided to settle the controversy by carrying out measurements of the arc of the meridian at different latitudes.

Two such surveys were done between 1735 and 1748, and these surveys proved that the Earth was flattened at the poles and did bulge at the equator. These surveys removed the doubts created by Cassini who had challenged the mathematical concept of Newton and Huygens.

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(Video) World History The Age of Discovery in 5 Minutes


What were the voyages of discovery in the Renaissance period? ›

The great discoveries by Europeans of non-European lands took place during the Renaissance: the Portuguese voyages to Africa and India, Columbus' voyages, the search for El Dorado and the Northern passages to India, the great sailing feats of Drake and Hawkins, Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, the deeds of the ...

Why did the Renaissance explorers go on voyages? ›

The simple answer is money. Although, some individual explorers wanted to gain fame or experience adventure, the main purpose of an expedition was to make money. How did expeditions make money? Expeditions made money primarily by discovering new trade routes for their nations.

What countries were discovered during the Renaissance? ›

They discovered new shipping routes to the Americas, India and the Far East and explorers trekked across areas that weren't fully mapped.

What were the causes of geographical discoveries during Renaissance period? ›

Reasons such as desires to expand Christianity, the spirit of adventure, geographic knowledge advancement and commercial motives has resulted in geographical discoveries.

What happened in the voyages of discovery? ›

The Age of Discovery lasted from around the 15th to the 17th centuries. Exploration by the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, German and British powers led to the rise of European colonies in far-flung parts of the world and opened up lucrative trade routes between the New World and the Old.

How did the Renaissance encourage the voyages of discovery? ›

The Renaissance influenced the Age of Discovery by promoting curiosity and intellectual advancement. The Renaissance was defined by an interest in rediscovering knowledge of the classical world. This desire for rediscovery influenced a desire to improve the world and gain more knowledge about the world.

What was the purpose of his voyages? ›

The purpose for his voyages was to find a passage to Asia by sailing west. Never actually accomplishing this mission, his explorations mostly included the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America, all of which were already inhabited by Native groups.

How did the voyages of Exploration change the world? ›

The Age of Discovery and later European exploration allowed the mapping of the world, resulting in a new worldview and distant civilizations coming into contact. At the same time, new diseases were propagated, decimating populations not previously in contact with the Old World, particularly concerning Native Americans.

What are the five reasons for the voyages of Discovery? ›

The Seven Reasons for Exploration
  • Review. The Seven Reasons for Exploration.
  • Curiosity. Explorers were curious about different lands, animals, people and goods.
  • National Pride. Explorers wanted to get more land for their home country. ...
  • Better Trading Routes. ...
  • Religion. ...
  • Wealth. ...
  • Foreign Goods. ...
  • Fame.

What is the greatest discovery during the Renaissance period? ›

Perhaps one of the most important inventions of the Renaissance period is the printing press, which marked a paradigm shift in education and literature.

Who discovered America during the Renaissance? ›

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. In 1492 the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean islands—a momentous event in world history. Although Europeans would not realize it for several years, he had accidentally “discovered” the Americas.

Why was the Renaissance period called the period of discoveries and new beginnings? ›

The Renaissance period cultivated a new change in art, knowledge, and culture. It changed the way the citizens thought, with first the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature, and art, as well as the new discoveries in travel, invention, and style.

What are 3 causes of the Renaissance? ›

In conclusion, historians have identified several causes of the Renaissance in Europe, including: increased interaction between different cultures, the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts, the emergence of humanism, different artistic and technological innovations, and the impacts of conflict and death.

What two main reasons caused the Renaissance to spread? ›

The growth of cities and the support of monarchs contributed to the spread of Renaissance ideas. The Northern Renaissance produced many great artists, writers, and scholars. Printing and the use of the vernacular helped to spread Renaissance ideas and increase learning.

What were 3 major factors in the development of the Renaissance period? ›

The three major factors of the Renaissance that were different from the middle ages were Humanism, improvements in discovery, and the Reformation of the Church.

What was the impact of the voyages? ›

The voyages of explorers had a dramatic impact on European trade. As a result, more goods, raw materials and precious metals entered Europe. New trade centers developed, especially in the Netherlands and England. Exploration and trade led to the growth of capitalism.

How were the voyages and discoveries useful? ›

The Renaissance age paved way for people to question if the earth was flat and hence voyages were taken to check this. These voyages also led to the demand of Asian goods which were brought back to Europe. And since the land route was blocked by the Ottoman Turks, discovering sea routes became important.

What were the 3 motives for the Europeans to make voyages of discovery? ›

Historians generally recognize three motives for European exploration and colonization in the New World: God, gold, and glory.

What is Renaissance and its important discovery? ›

Some major developments of the Renaissance include developments in astronomy, humanist philosophy, the printing press, vernacular language in writing, painting and sculpture technique, world exploration and, in the late Renaissance, Shakespeare's works.

Which was the most important cause that led to the voyages of discovery? ›

The most straightforward answer was to get it from far away lands. Another reason for the voyages was the attraction of finding a sea route to Asia. Europeans by the mid-15th century were looking for a route whereby they could import spices, which were grown in Southeast Asia, especially India.

What were the two main causes of the voyages of Discovery? ›

Ancient mariners took to the sea to find new lands not only for reasons of trade and wealth but also because they wanted to learn and understand new things.

What was the goal of the first voyage? ›

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain to find an all-water route to Asia.

What was the reason for the first voyage to America? ›

The explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. He was determined to find a direct water route west from Europe to Asia, but he never did. Instead, he stumbled upon the Americas.

Who started the voyage of discovery? ›

President Jefferson selected Meriwether Lewis to head an expedition that would explore the newly purchased land. In turn, Lewis asked William Clark to help him lead the first military expedition in 1804.

What is the meaning of voyage of discovery? ›

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English voyage of discoverya situation in which you learn a lot of new things about something or someone Writing a biography is an absorbing voyage of discovery.

Why is the Renaissance called the Age of Discovery? ›

The Age of Exploration (also called the Age of Discovery) began in the 1400s and continued through the 1600s. It was a period of time when the European nations began exploring the world. They discovered new routes to India, much of the Far East, and the Americas.

What were some of the most important achievements of the Renaissance? ›

One of the most important achievements of the Renaissance was the promotion of the arts. Wealthy businessmen became patrons and supported the efforts of various artists. During the early Renaissance, the painter Giotto (1266-1337) used perspective (shading) to create life-like paintings.

Who were four Renaissance explorers? ›

In The Renaissance Explorers: With History Projects for Kids, readers ages 10 through 15 find out more about what it meant to be an explorer and follow the biographies of five famous Renaissance explorers, including Niccolò de Conti, Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, Pêro da Covilhã, and Ferdinand Magellan, from their ...

Why was America called the Renaissance? ›

American Renaissance, also called New England Renaissance, period from the 1830s roughly until the end of the American Civil War in which American literature, in the wake of the Romantic movement, came of age as an expression of a national spirit.

When did the Renaissance start? ›

The Renaissance arrived at different countries at varying times- Italy was the first to experience this movement beginning in the 14th century while the it did not reach England until the sixteenth century. A general consensus among historians is that by the early 17th century, the Renaissance had come to an end.

What is the meaning of Renaissance in simple words? ›

Renaissance is a French word meaning “rebirth.” It refers to a period in European civilization that was marked by a revival of Classical learning and wisdom.

What is the importance of Renaissance? ›

It was an incredible time of beauty, blossoming with creativity and curiosity. The Renaissance era also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the growth of commerce, and the inventions of innovations such as paper, printing, the mariner's compass and gunpowder.

What impact did the Renaissance have on the modern world? ›

The Renaissance influenced the modern world, but also art, with the rapid exchange of new ideas and increasing travels that contributed to Italy becoming a center of cultural exchange. In that way, scientific and artistic achievements flourished, but there was also an exchange between them.

What are 3 facts about the Renaissance? ›

Interesting Facts About the Renaissance
  • The Renaissance Began in the 14th Century.
  • The Renaissance Period Transformed Society from Darkness to Light.
  • Humanism Was the Main Philosophy.
  • The Medici Family Were Major Patrons of the Movement.
  • The Height of the Renaissance Was Called the “High Renaissance”
Oct 6, 2021

What were 3 major events that occurred before the Renaissance? ›

what events began to create something new in history.
  • I. The Failure of Holy War. ...
  • II. The Rediscovery of Aristotle. ...
  • III. The Black Death, 1338-1353. ...
  • IV. Power to the People. ...
  • V. The Fall of Constantinople, 1415-1453.
May 28, 2017

How did the Renaissance begin? ›

The Renaissance began in Italy, the birthplace of the Roman Empire. Following the fall of the empire in the 4th century, and the subsequent dark ages, the incredible art and ideas of Roman times were temporarily lost. They were later rediscovered in Italy in around the 12th century, leading to the Renaissance.

What impact did the Renaissance have on society? ›

The population was becoming wealthier which led to an increase in trade and travel and the spread of new ideas. The rise in prosperity also generated an interest in education, supported the flourishing of the arts and promoted scientific discoveries and new inventions.

How did Renaissance ideas spread to America? ›

Ideas were exchanged through trade. Artists and scholars traveled between Italy and the Northern Renaissance sites. The printing press allowed easier bookmaking. Ideas spread through these books more easily.

What are the 3 main reasons that the Renaissance began in Italy? ›

5 Reasons Why the Renaissance Began in Italy
  • It had been the heart of the Roman Empire. ...
  • Extensive scholarly activity recovered vital ancient works. ...
  • Its city-states allowed art and new ideas to flourish. ...
  • Vast trading links encouraged cultural and material exchange. ...
  • The Vatican was a rich and powerful patron.
Mar 1, 2021

What are the 5 major themes of the Renaissance? ›

The major themes of the Renaissance include rebirth and rediscovery, humanism, rationalism, individualism, reformation, and secularism.

What are 5 reasons for the Renaissance? ›

5 Reasons Why the Renaissance Began in Italy It had been the heart of the Roman Empire. ... Extensive scholarly activity recovered vital ancient works. ... Its city-states allowed art and new ideas to flourish. ... Vast trading links encouraged cultural and material exchange. ...

What are the 3 most important characteristics of the Renaissance? ›

The seven characteristics of the Renaissance are as follows:
  • Rebirth of Naturalism.
  • Perspective and Depth in Art.
  • Create Non Religious Themes.
  • Privately Owned Art.
  • Advancements in new technologies such as printing and gunpowder.
  • Shift in balance of power among Europe's ruling elite.

What country did the Renaissance thrive in? ›

There is some debate over the actual start of the Renaissance. However, it is generally believed to have begun in Italy during the 14th century, after the end of the Middle Ages, and reached its height in the 15th century.

What country did the Renaissance take place in? ›

The Renaissance arrived at different countries at varying times- Italy was the first to experience this movement beginning in the 14th century while the it did not reach England until the sixteenth century. A general consensus among historians is that by the early 17th century, the Renaissance had come to an end.

What country is the birthplace of the Renaissance? ›

NARRATOR: Fifteenth century Italy - a new era has dawned that will one day be known as the Renaissance. Tuscany and its capital, Florence, are taking their place as the world's hub of art and culture.

How did Renaissance impact the world? ›

The population was becoming wealthier which led to an increase in trade and travel and the spread of new ideas. The rise in prosperity also generated an interest in education, supported the flourishing of the arts and promoted scientific discoveries and new inventions.

What caused the Renaissance to start? ›

Several factors contributed to the Renaissance. The growth of trade and commerce created prosperous cities and classes of people with the wealth to support education and the arts. Italian city-states helped spread Renaissance ideas. The new philosophy of humanism spuned interest in learning and fresh ways of thinking.

How did Renaissance begin? ›

The Renaissance began in Italy, the birthplace of the Roman Empire. Following the fall of the empire in the 4th century, and the subsequent dark ages, the incredible art and ideas of Roman times were temporarily lost. They were later rediscovered in Italy in around the 12th century, leading to the Renaissance.

What are the 3 major periods of the Renaissance? ›

The Renaissance lasted for nearly three centuries, in three successive periods: the Trecento (14th century), the Quattrocento (15th century) and the Cinquecento (16th century).

Why is it called the Renaissance? ›

European societies underwent huge changes in the 15th century, and so did art. In the 14th century, Italian artists began to revive the heritage of Greek and Roman Antiquity. This is why this period is called the “Renaissance”, a word which comes from the Italian Rinascita, which was first used in the 14th century.

What are the four events that led to the Renaissance period? ›

In conclusion, historians have identified several causes of the Renaissance in Europe, including: increased interaction between different cultures, the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts, the emergence of humanism, different artistic and technological innovations, and the impacts of conflict and death.

When was the Renaissance started? ›

It occurred after the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages and was associated with great social change. In addition to the standard periodization, proponents of a "long Renaissance" may put its beginning in the 14th century and its end in the 17th century.

How did the Renaissance spread? ›

During the late 1400s, Renaissance ideas began to spread north from Italy to countries such as France, Germany, Spain, and England. This was due in large part to cultural interaction, the growth of towns, and support from the region's powerful rulers. aided the spread of the Renaissance.


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