They wanted power and it did not matter how they got that power as long as they got it. In the case of Hernan Cortes, he killed of the Aztec leader, Montezuma, to gain the Aztec’s gold. After the fall of the civilized empires in the New World, the Spanish set up civilized empires which prospered in gold. The Spanish received gold and in turn they also received power. Power motivated most of the countries; Spain, France, England, Portugal, and the Netherlands, to explore and gain the profits.
Although gold was not the only reason they explored as much as it was trying to find a new route to India and the Orient. That was the original plan. Once they hit land and discovered it was not India and the Orient, they explored and came across gold and many other riches. Once they were brought back the kings would charter ships and try to gain as much gold, money/power, as they could. After the fall of the Catholic Church and the rise of the monarchies, all of the kings were searching for new ways to show they were more powerful, gold helped with that.
Gold was not only a surprising find in the New World, but also a key into the search for power by the kings of the respective countries that explored. Glory was a major factor in bringing the Europeans to the New World. In European life, the oldest son got to inherit everything from the father, so that was the reason for the big craze of having a son. In most cases there was more than one boy and the younger son go nothing and had two major options in life: enter the military or become a member of the clergy. But now there was a third option, travel to the New World and claim land for your respective country.
Many of the second sons left and did the third option because it offered them a chance to get something their older brothers would never have, glory. To this day, everyone still remembers that “Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492”. Even 600 years from then, we all remember his name and he is apart of the curriculum. Glory can be considered a very selfish reason to explore the New World, but it was the motivation behind a lot. To travel across the ocean in this time period was very dangerous and all of the young men were sacrificing their lives to make a name for themselves.
Everyone wants to be famous. Glory inspired the young men to explore the New World because it was a fresh start and an opportunity to make a name for themselves. God was a major factor in bringing the Europeans to the New World. The Catholic Church collapsed due to the Reformation movement and they lost most of their power. Spain and Francis were still primarily Catholic, so they thought it would be a good idea to explore and set up Christian ministries in the New World in exchange for money and the backing of the Catholic Church.
After finding the native people of the lands, they converted them to Catholics and had the Catholic ministries teach them the ways of the Catholic Church. The countries explored in the name of whatever religion they supported. Some of the explorers had no religious preference, they just came because it was an opportunity to get away from all of the fighting of the Reformation and all of the conflict surrounding it. God is a safe haven and if they came for other purposes, such as gold, they could find a safe haven and ask for forgiveness or protection.
God offered many reasons as to why the Europeans decided to explore, whether it be to support the church of their choice or to avoid the conflict altogether. Gold, Glory, and God were the major factors leading to European exploration of the New World in the 16th-17th centuries. Gold brought them power, glory brought them recognition, and God brought them the approval of the church of the country which backed their charter to come explore the New World. Although gold, glory, and God brought the Europeans to the Americas, land was the reason they stayed.