English Across the Curriculum
By the end of the 15th century many things were changing in Europe. The population started to grow more quickly and a new class of merchants emerged. They wanted to buy and sell expensive and valuable products from Asia - like gold, jewels and silk.
For centuries Europeans brought these goods on a land route from Asia over thousands of dangerous kilometres . In the 15th century the overland routes were being controlled by the Turkish Empire, which made it even more difficult for European merchants to pass through.
As a result, some European countries, like Spain and Portugal, decided to find out if there was a sea route to India. With the help of new kinds of ships that could sail faster and instruments , like the quadrant, they started the Age of Exploration.