why do people explore

Why Do People Explore? What Drives People To Explore Far and Wide?

We are all born explorers, whether we realize it or not. For a variety of reasons, people explore. Likewise, we learn about life and how it works by exploring from birth. No one can be content for long if they do not explore. Whether we are talking to someone next to you or looking around the room, we are exploring

We can all agree that exploration propels human progress. It is fundamental to our nature and keeps us looking forward to progress. People have been exploring since ancient times to improve their living conditions, civilization, and survival. Exploring is a basic human curiosity. Hence, we have the desire to explore our surroundings, our world, new cultures, and countries.

History of Exploration: People Explore Then and Now

Exploration was a means of pushing the boundaries of known lands. On the other hand, it also creates a new interpretation of the workings of the cosmos. Growing curiosity, the desire to strengthen military might, and the demand for goods linked to exploration. Thus, trade was all factor in man’s quest for knowledge and prompted people to explore.

People Explore Far and Wide, Started During Ancient and Classical Times

First Sea Explorations

The Egyptians were the first to construct seaworthy vessels. Pharaoh Snefru led an expedition to the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea to explore. After Hannu’s trip in the 1st millennium B.C. Egyptian exploration declined. In 550 B.C. Egyptian ships bypassed Africa.

The Phoenicians were among the most prolific seafarers and traders of the ancient world. In the fourth century, the Phoenician trade monopoly extended from the Straits of Gibraltar. It reaches as far as Persia (modern-day Iran). As a result, they dominated trade in the Mediterranean Sea from their main port of Carthage.

Scylax, a Greek explorer in the Persian Navy, traveled to the Indus River. They traveled up to the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan in 510 BC. It was his goal to break the Phoenician trade monopoly. Pytheas sailed to the French coast and founded Massalia, a Greek port and military garrison (Marseilles). Later, he circumnavigated Britain and explored the North Sea. The Greeks gained control of the Mediterranean by inventing a new ship. The ship, known as the bireme has two decks and four rows of oarsmen.

The European Old World

The Roman Empire rose to power around 100 B.C. a.d. 400, ruled the sea and land. While the Romans had a large trade fleet, their most ambitious expeditions used large warships. It carried soldiers, slaves, and plunder. Likewise, the Romans ruled directly over the Phoenicians’ trade area.

Rome’s survival depended on military conquest, territorial expansion, and economic growth. From Northern Europe to Northern Africa, from Spain to Persia, Rome conquered. They created circular trading routes to meet the needs of the empire. The Empire traded olive oil and wine. Furthermore, intricate trade routes ensured a steady supply of raw materials and luxury goods during the 1700s.

The Invention of Compass and Open-Water Explorations

World exploration did not stop in the European Old World. Chinese explorers invented the compass and complex sailing vessels in the first-century a.d., enabling open-water exploration. The Phoenician and Chinese compasses allowed longer journeys, and sometimes far beyond land sight. Early Chinese navigators explored Asia’s rivers and seas. They went to India and the African east coast. As a result, people went to explore and trade, which helped build a vast Chinese empire.

Island-Hopping Explorations by the Polynesians

In the South Pacific, even before recorded history, Polynesian mariners explored the regional islands. Polynesians hopped from one island to the next. They made long open sea journeys in 100-ft (30.5-m) boats with minimal sails. Around a.d. 1000 or earlier, Polynesians set foot in Hawaii and New Zealand. In the Pacific, these sailors knew well of ocean currents and prevailing winds.

Prelude to Scientific Exploration of the Earth

Philosophers, astronomers, and mathematicians devised new interpretations for the workings of the world and universe. This is during the time when exploration pushed the boundaries of the known world.

Some concentrated on practical challenges, such as navigation, and created complex star charts. Others took a more universal approach. They combined religion with exploration and science to develop theories about the structure of the universe and the Earth itself.

These structures, known as cosmologies, defined the limits of scientific reasoning and exploration. Ptolemy, a Greek mathematician, devised a model for the universe that endured for centuries. It is during Europe’s Dark and Middle Ages (496–1450) when it was most notable. Further, it wasn’t until the fifteenth century and the Copernican Revolution, new concepts were born. The reemergence of concepts such as a spherical Earth and a solar system that revolved around the Sun. As well as the resurfacing of scientific exploration of the Earth and beyond.

Age of Exploration – 15th Century

Early 15th-century European ships traveled around the world seeking new trading routes and partners to feed Europe’s developing capitalism. Europeans met people and mapped places they had never seen before. In this period, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Pedro lvares Cabral, and John Cabot were among the most prominent explorers.

The Renaissance Era

The Renaissance brought new technology and ideas to the Age of Exploration, such as breakthroughs in cartography, navigation, and shipbuilding. In Iberia, the Carrack and eventually the Caravel was invented. The first ships that could safely leave the comparatively passive Mediterranean. It traveled on the wide Atlantic were these hybrids of European and Arab designs.

The First Voyage

Portugal led the first big voyage wave under Prince Henry the Navigator. The Madeira Islands were found in 1419, then the Azores in 1427, both becoming Portuguese colonies. Henry the Navigator’s major goal was to explore Africa’s west coast. The Sahara Desert was for centuries the only trading route between West Africa and the Mediterranean. Muslim nations in North Africa controlled these routes, long adversaries of Portugal. The Portuguese hoped to avoid the Islamic nations by trading directly with West Africa via sea. Southern Sahara republics were likewise thought to be Christian and potential allies against the Muslim Maghreb.

The Portuguese navigators progressed slowly and steadily and pushed each year further south until they reached Cape Bojador in 1434. Within two decades, the Sahara had been crossed. Likewise, the gold and slave trade had begun with what is now Senegal. Elmina trading forts were established, and São Tomé and Príncipe became the first sugar colony. In 1482, Diogo Co led an expedition to Kongo. In 1487, Bartolomeu Dias circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope, proving that access to the Indian Ocean was conceivable. Vasco da Gama arrived in India in 1498, fulfilling his vow.

Spain’s Attempt to Surpass Portugal’s Hold on Africa and the Indian Ocean

Spain, Portugal’s larger opponent, had been slower to explore the Atlantic than Portugal. Likewise, Castilian sailors began competing with their Iberian neighbors in the late fifteenth century. The Canary Islands were the first battle, which Castille won. After the Reconquista and the merger of Aragon and Castille, the nation was devoted to hunting for new trade routes. It also includes searching for colonies overseas. In 1492, the nation’s combined rulers chose to sponsor Christopher Columbus’ trip to Asia. They hope to circumvent Portugal’s hold on Africa and the Indian Ocean.

Columbus did not reach Asia but discovered a New World, North America. Determining spheres of influence became crucial. The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494, divided the world between the two empires. This gave them dominance over Africa, Asia, and western South America (Brazil). The Spanish got all west of this line, which was still uncharted.

Initially, Columbus and other Spanish explorers were disappointed. Less trade with Spanish ships than with Africa or Asia. Colonization attempts shifted to the islands. It wasn’t until the continent was discovered that Spain found the gold it sought. The Spanish found many empires as huge and populated as those in Europe. The Spanish conquistadors conquered them with barely a handful of soldiers, aided by disease pandemics. Gold and silver extraction and export became the main focus once Spanish rule was established.

French and British Expeditions to North America

Outside Iberia, the Tordesillas Treaty was ignored. Despite Iberian barriers, new technology and maps gradually made their way north.

The first was John Cabot’s, funded by the British. It was the first of several French and British expeditions to North America. Northern America had less population and wealth than Central America, thus Spain had largely disregarded it. Cabot, Cartier, and others hoped to find the Northwest Passage and hence a link to Asia’s wealth. However, during their travels, additional options were discovered. Likewise, colonists from Northern European states began to settle on the east coast of North America.

Northerners became the Portuguese’s main competitors in Africa and the Indian Ocean. Dutch, French, and British ships began to circumvent the Portuguese monopoly and establish trading forts and colonies. Gradually, the Portuguese lost many of their prized goods. Northerners also led the way in discovering the final uncharted Pacific Ocean areas. The Dutch explorers Willem Jansz and Abel Tasman explored the Australian shores. On the other hand, the British adventurer James Cook charted much of Polynesia.

Age of Exploration : The Impact of Age of Exploration

The Age of Exploration had an enormous impact. For millennia, the Mediterranean economy had been the continent’s most robust. It makes countries like Italy and Greece the richest and most powerful. Western European countries like France, Britain, and Germany dominated the new Atlantic economy. It made them the richest and most powerful on the continent.

Then followed the Commercial Revolution, which made trans-oceanic trade commonplace. Due to the importance of trade, traders and merchants surpassed feudal landowners as the most dominant class. The bourgeoisie would eventually control politics and administration in Britain, France, and other countries.

The Age of Discovery : Modern Age Exploration

Around 650 years ago, European explorers resorted to the sea to find faster trade routes to Asian and European towns. The importance of the oceans to trade and commerce was realized by Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal. He created a learning center for the marine sciences. It could be considered the first oceanographic institute. Mariners from all over the world visited the center in Sagres, Portugal. They study the oceans and currents, as well as how to construct maps. These early maps served as the foundation for significant missions. Christopher Columbus was the first European to sail westward across the Atlantic Ocean and return home in the late 1400s. In the early 1500s, Ferdinand Magellan traveled around the world or circumnavigated it.

Several European countries (primarily Spain, France, and Britain) aspired to extend their empires. They seek new regions for raw materials, colonies, or trade. And this goes as well as spices from the East Indies. They believed it would aid in the treatment of the Plague. They launched voyages to study distant regions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. It then reaches as far as the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans.

People Explore The Seas Armed with Vitamin C

One of the most renowned voyages of discovery of the time occurred in 1768. It is when the HMS Endeavour set off from Portsmouth, England, under Captain James Cook’s command. Cook undertook three world-circling trips over a ten-year period, mapping several countries including Australia, New Zealand, and the Hawaiian Islands. He was a skilled sailor, navigator, and scientist who made astute observations wherever he went. He was also one of the first ship captains to realize that a shortage of vitamin C in sailors’ diets. Mostly, owing to a lack of fresh fruit, it causes scurvy. It is a deadly disease that killed many sailors at the time. Cook always sailed with a large supply of pickled cabbage, which he recommended the crew consume. Scurvy was never an issue on his ships. This is because cabbage was high in vitamin C.

The Invention of the First Marine Chronometer

In 1728, John Harrison, a British cabinetmaker, and the inventor began developing important equipment. This equipment enabled seamen to navigate across vast stretches of ocean distant from land or coastlines. Pendulum clocks were used to keep time at the time. These clocks obviously did not work properly on a ship in the middle of the ocean!

After years of research, Harrison produced a clock that employed a spring instead of a pendulum in 1736. It was the first marine chronometer, a gadget capable of providing precise time aboard a moving ship. Sailors could use it to determine how far east or west they had traveled. This is based on 0° Longitude or the prime meridian and to determine what longitude they were sailing past. Harrison had created four clocks by 1761, each one better than the one before it. The last clock was put to the test during a cruise between England and Jamaica, and it performed admirably. It was just around 5 seconds slower per day, and the ship steered a straight path to Jamaica. This was quite an accomplishment in those days.

Summing Up the Reasons Why People Explore

To ourselves, as human beings with our own needs, desires, and fears, we continue with our explorations. Now let’s go back to history. Let’s find out why we by nature are explorers and how far we have explored our planet.

1. People Explore to Discover New Resources

One of the advantages of exploring the unknown is the possibility of discovering new resources. I’ll take you on a journey through the ancient past to explain this reason for exploring in greater detail. Humans figured out that they had to form associations in order to survive. They soon started grouping themselves into associations. In that way, it that would help them survive more easily.

As the population of that community grew, so did the demand for more resources. There were no available resources to those people in the small towns where they lived. As a result, they began to explore their surroundings in search of food, such as games, fruit, or nuts. This meant that numerous people lived in a community. At some point, some had authority over them and worked together to produce resources critical to their survival.

The state meant that it would protect its subjects and that it would try, through a variety of policies. This is to distribute resources equally to all. However, in almost every country’s history, research outside its own borders is necessary. People would find an even greater number of resources. As a result, the quality of daily lives of the people improved.

Now, we can say that people explore because of the need to research. And it’s the most basic form of survival instinct that prompts people to explore.

2. Spreading the Empire Prompted People to Explore

As the number of empires, so did the desire and need to expand the territory of the empire. Through exploration and conquest, which fueled the rise of the modern age, people venture into explorations. With this, the amount of power in the hands of the government grew even more.

The leaders of the empires established themselves as the supreme authority in the conquered territories. As a result of the conquest wars, thereby increasing the number of their own subjects, resources, and even slaves. Religious propaganda began to spread during this period. Each empire exalts its own religion. It was a sacred duty of the empire to discover and conquer the non-believers, who are barbarians for them. The goal is to convert them into religious adherents.

3. People Explore the Seas

Now, let’s get back to the present. We hear on the news that a group of scientists has embarked on an expedition. The exploration of the ocean’s depths may prove to be extremely beneficial to the human race. For starters, such research can reveal how the oceans and seas influence our ecosystem. It can also help us learn how to safeguard our water supplies.

The information and results obtainable from marine research are also very useful. You can use it to predict tsunamis and earthquakes, giving us valuable insight into the future. This will allow us to save numerous lives in the future. There are numerous organisms in the ocean depths that we still do not know. But those characteristics may be useful to scientists in their search for cures for a variety of deadly diseases.

4. People Come to Explore Space

The human race has turned its attention to space exploration as a result of technological advancements. They think that most of the earth’s surface has been already studied. Our inquisitiveness and desire to discover did not only take us to the moon. This journey emphasized the need for further exploration of the cosmos and the universe.

Learning about the universe can help us understand what happens if an asteroid or a comet collides with the Earth.


Since ancient times, people have been exploring to improve their living conditions, civilization, and survival. Exploring is a fundamental human curiosity. People cannot be happy for long if they do not search for new experiences. We discover why we are explorers by nature and how far we have explored our planet.

Religious propaganda and conquests are the hallmarks of empires in history. The leaders of the empires established themselves as the supreme authority in conquered territories. Religious propaganda was a sacred duty of the empire to discover barbarians and conquer them.

Scientists have embarked on an expedition to explore the ocean’s depths. The research will reveal how the oceans influence our ecosystem and safeguard our water supplies.

The human race has turned its attention to space exploration as a result of technological advancements. Learning about the universe can be a big help for us understanding our planet more.

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