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How did explorers justify their conquests and exploration?

Explorers justified their conquests and exploration through religious, economic, and political reasons.

Religious motivations played a significant role in justifying exploration and conquest. Many explorers, particularly those from Europe, were driven by a desire to spread Christianity. They believed it was their divine duty to convert indigenous populations to their faith. This was often used as a moral justification for their actions, as they saw themselves as bringing 'civilisation' and 'salvation' to 'heathen' societies. For instance, Christopher Columbus, in his voyages to the Americas, was motivated by a desire to spread Christianity. Similarly, the Portuguese explorers in Africa and Asia saw their expeditions as a crusade against Islam.

Economic motivations were also significant. The desire for wealth, particularly in the form of precious metals and spices, drove many explorers to seek new lands. The potential for trade and the establishment of colonies were seen as ways to boost the economy of their home countries. The explorers, backed by their monarchs and financiers, believed that the wealth they could acquire would justify their actions. The Spanish conquest of the Americas, for instance, was driven by the search for gold and silver. Similarly, the Dutch and English East India Companies were established with the aim of exploiting the lucrative spice trade in Asia.

Political motivations were another key factor. The desire for power, prestige, and territorial expansion drove many explorers and their sponsors. The competition between European powers, particularly during the Age of Discovery, led to a race to claim new lands. The explorers were often seen as national heroes, their conquests adding to the glory and power of their home countries. For example, the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I for his exploration of the New World, which was seen as enhancing England's prestige and power.

In conclusion, explorers justified their conquests and exploration through a combination of religious, economic, and political motivations. They saw themselves as fulfilling a divine duty, seeking wealth for their countries, and enhancing their nations' power and prestige.

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