The Age of Exploration – Annotated Bibliography

Casale, Giancarlo. “The Ottoman Age of Exploration.” 2010.

Giancarlo Casale investigates the Age of Exploration through the lens of Sultan Selim of the Ottoman Empire.  Sultan Selim is still remembered by many for his exploits in the Indian Ocean and the contacts that he forged through trade and exploration. In this book, the author explores the Turk’s increased involvement in exploration exploits from 1571 and their interest in areas that had, hitherto, remained unexplored. Their exploits became an international phenomenon when the Portuguese Empire, a veteran in exploration, became aware of their feats and the challenge that they were bound to pose.

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In so doing, Sultan Selim successfully launched a systematic military and ideological campaign during the Age of Exploration and even managed to control various rewarding maritime trade routes. As Assistant Professor of the History McKnight at the University of Minnesota, Giancarlo Casale was qualified to author a book on this subject. His bias stems from vast experience in Islamic history which enabled him to piece together the intricacies of trade during the Age of Exploration. A restrained tone allows him to delve into the facts while exploring emotive issues that have been known to divide opinions in the world of scholarship.

Gallagher, Aileen. Prince Henry, the Navigator: Pioneer of Modern Exploration. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2013.

An investigation of the Age of Exploration is never complete without an appraisal of Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal and his role in its advance. Aileen Gallagher examines the Prince Henry’s financial support towards this endeavor and how his goodwill ultimately aided explorers to conquer new lands and spread European influence. As Grand Master of the Military Order of Christ, Henry amassed a considerable amount of wealth and resources which he later redirected towards his ambitious plans for exploration. The prince was acutely aware of his central role in the empire and was determined to use his position to expand Portuguese maritime expansion in the far reaches of the Atlantic Ocean. The author explores Prince Henry’s unusual preoccupation with exploration was manifested in his routine sponsorship of voyages and expeditions to unknown lands for glory. In addition to this, he would also collect the infamous o quinto tax on all profits made during these expeditions and re-invested this money in exploration.  As an Associate Professor of History at Syracruse University, Aileen Gallagher fits the profile of a sophisticated scholar well-versed in antiquity which also doubles as her bias. Her pragmatic tone allows the reader to understand the dynamics that were at play during the Age of Exploration and the importance of benefactors in making successful voyages                                                                                                                                                               

George, Enzo. The Age of Exploration. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC, 2016.

In the recent past, the common and accepted axiom has been that the Age of Exploration was a particular period in history when European powers decided to organize expeditions to unknown lands for a number of reasons. However, many seem to ignore key proceedings that made these expeditions possible and the effects they went on to have on its legacy. In this particular manuscript, Enzo George introduces this angle by reminding the reader that the Age of Exploration was not a single event but a series of connected incidents. These events include the voyages of legendary explorers such as Zheng He and other infamous actions conducted by voyagers of his ilk. These include the slave trade and the pernicious piracy that plagued the high seas for centuries. As a renowned historian, Enzo amalgamates primary sources from this period to aid the reader to better understand the prevailing situation at the time. Enzo’s penchant for European History also fuels his bias towards the subject, although he expertly explores relevant issues that created wealth for European powers during the 15th century.

Kling, Andrew A. The Age of Exploration. Greenhaven Publishing LLC, 2013.

The Age of Exploration has always proved a difficult subject to explore owing to it being a hodgepodge of happenings with many players. In exploring the subject, Andrew Kling sought to demystify the myths and misconceptions about this historical period by laying out little-known facts rarely inquired by contemporary authors. For instance, he dispels the common assumption that piracy was rife across the seas but points out that it occurred in select areas where naval patrols were few. In addition to this, he also helps the reader to understand the various players who made the expeditions possible and the exotic locations that they targeted once they received funding. Kling engages the readers constantly with pertinent discussions meant to jog their critical faculties while introducing facts about the earliest trade routes ever chartered by explorers. Key events mentioned in the book include Vasco da Gama’s conquest of the African coast and Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the new world. Kling is a prolific writer and editor, utilizing an analytical tone to explore pertinent issues.

Knobler, Adam. Mythology and Diplomacy in the Age of Exploration. BRILL, 2016.

There are a number of factors that motivated 15th century Europeans to explore the new territories, although some are rarely explored. One such area is in mythology and its impact on the European psyche at this critical time. Knobler is aware of this fact and investigates the relationship between these explorations and the mythologies that were prevalent in medieval Europe. Knobler points out those European nations had adopted Christianity during this period, which made it possible for various actors to formulate various myths meant to objectives. For instance the belief in the Ten Lost Tribes of the Jewish nations led Europeans to search for them in unknown lands. Thus, Knobler suggests that mythologies and cosmologies played a central role during this period, acting as primary motivators in the development of myths about figures such as Prester John the priest-king. Adam Knobler is professor of History in The College of New Jersey and it is his specialization in medieval European expansion that fans his bias. He uses a laudatory tone to assess the role of early Europeans and their contribution to the Age of Exploration.

Leibman, Laura A. Gale Researcher Guide for: Jewish Voices from the Age of Exploration. Gale, Cengage Learning,

Jews were part of a minority group that was scattered across the Iberian Peninsula and actively participated in key historical events. Leibman explores their role using writings from Crypto-Jews during this era to reconstruct their participation in the Age of Exploration. She explores the relationship that Jewish players such as Manuel Cardoso de Macedo had with the Spanish and Portuguese crown and how they took part in successful expeditions. The author also acknowledges that the Jewish spiritual brotherhood was at the crux of their involvement in these endeavors since most of them included members of the same faith. Even though they contributed greatly to the Age of Exploration, Jews were not spared by the establishment during the Spanish inquisition and were soon expelled from the Iberian Peninsula without any considerations being made. Laura Leiman holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of California and currently serves as Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College. His informative tone allows the reader to fully appreciate the participation and contribution of the Jewish players during the Age of Exploration.

Pletcher, Kenneth. The Age of Exploration: From Christopher Columbus to Ferdinand Magellan. Britanncia Educational Publishing, 2013.

The Age of Exploration was a unique period in European history. Trade routes were chartered for the first time, allowing various empires to actively search for raw materials that would benefit their nations greatly. Pletcher allows the reader to have a feel of how it was like for an explorer during this period of territorial expansion and a quest to understand lands that lay beyond the horizon. His approach is systematic and seeks to provide a clear background of key players who participated in this age from its inception. Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus and Francisco Pissarro are key figures mentioned in this account owing to their prominence. Most of them led exiting lives even though tragedy was always a part of their lives. They waged various wars for their empires with the intention of changing the course of history and achieving glory for the crown. Pletcher is a Senior Editor working with the Geography and History for Encyclopedia, which informed his bias and objective tone when crafting his captivating account.

Weaver, Stewart A. “4. The Age of Exploration.” Very Short Introductions, 2015.

An in-depth look at the origin of the techniques used for sailing is usually vital when reviewing the Age of Exploration. Thus, Weaver embarks on a quest to pinpoint the technological breakthroughs that made it possible for 16th century explorers to master the high seas. In particular, she identifies the precision compass, caravels and the astrolabe as novel innovations that enabled navigators to undertake their arduous tasks without the risk of failure. Weaver is an expert historian from Stanford University, but also doubles up as an Associate Professor of Physics at Yale. It is this unusual combination of expertise that allows him to explore this epoch in world history, allowing her to pinpoint areas of innovation that were accurately applied for maximum. Weaver’s bias towards these tools as the primary reason why sailors achieved relative success during this era stems from his interest in physics. He uses an academic tone coupled with a myriad of technical terms to aid the reader in understanding the complexity of the technology that was in use during this period.

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