There were trade links between Europe and Asia for many centuries. Silk and Jewels came from China and spices from the Spice Islands. The spices were very important in Europe for preserving and flavouring food. The silk and jewels came overland along The Great Silk Road from China to Turkey. Spices came along the ports of the Mediterranean coast. Arabs controlled this part of the trade.
The silk, jewels and spices were brought by Italian merchants to Italy and transported across Europe. The Italians and the Arabs had control of the ports along the Silk Road route. This was called a Monopoly. (Remember the game? The aim was to control the entire board and show off to your family that you were a complete tyrant during a supposedly FUN family game!! It usually ended in someone getting annoyed and “accidentally” drop-kicking the board off the wall!)
Moving on from that painful memory…..The Spanish and the Portuguese did not like this monopoly. Therefore, they wanted to find new routes of getting to the Middle East and Asia while trying to cut out the “Middle Man” that was the Arabs.
This paved the way for many new explorers and routes being set up across the world.
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