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North American Colonial Development & Rivalries: 1492 to 1765
The New World was discovered by accident. The reprecussions of this accidental finding would come to shape the course of modern history. The nations of Western Europe had become embroiled in trade disputes and tensions with merchants in Italy and the Middle East. Essentially, the monarchs and merchants of Western Europe desired to eliminate "The Middle Man". Prior to the 15th century Western Europeans lacked the knowledge and the technology to bypass the Middle East via the open seas.
However, the failed Crusades did have a postive impact on Western European culture - Europeans were re-introduced to the knowledge base of the Greco-Roman civilization. The Byzantine Empire retained the culture and norms of the ancient Greco-Roman civilization. The Crusades brought these scholars into contact with the mathematicians and scholars of the Middle East. Enter the Renaissance.
The Renaissance Era enabled Western European scholars, mathematicians, merchants, etc. to learn about, and improve upon, the advanced knowledge base of the Middle East region. This process of "cultural diffusion" direclty contributed to the development of Prince Henry of Portugal's Navigation college, the introduction of the caravel ship, and the introduction of the astrolabe in Western European Society. These innovations sparked "The Age of Discovery". Yet, one must remember that the European explorers did not discover new lands, rather they "found" lands that they were unfamiliar with. The natives of this "New World" were now confronted with rapid cultural, political, religious, and political change. The impact of this
interaction of "Old" and "New" is still being felt today.