Primary Source: Richard Hakluyt, Divers voyages touching the discoverie of America, and the Islands adjacent unto the same. (1582)

European Exploration, Perception of the Other, and the Columbian Exchange

What factors contributed to the European interest in exploration?

Hakluyt was an ordained priest and chaplain for Sir Robert Cecil and secretary of state to Queen Elizabeth and King James. He strongly encouraged the settlement of Virginia and further exploration of the new world. The first excerpt comes from Hakluyt’s dedication to Sir Francis Walsingham in his book General Collection of Voyages and Travels. The second excerpt comes from an 1854 letter to Walsingham.

I do remember that being a youth, and one of her Majestie’s scholars at Westminster, that fruitful nuerserie, it was my happe to visit the chamber of M. Richard Haluyt, my cosin, a gentleman of the Middle Temple, well knowen unto you, at a time when I found lying open upon his boord certeine books of cosmographie with an universall mappe: he seeing me somewhat curious in the view thereof, began to instruct my ignorance by shewing me the division of the earth into three parts after the olde account, and then according to the latter and better distribution into more. He pointed with his wand to all the known seas, gulfs, bayes, straights, capes, rivers, empires, kingdoms, dukedoms, and territories of ech part; with declaration also of their special commodities and particular wants which by the benefit of traffike and intercourse of merchants are plentifully supplied. From the mappe he brought me to the Bible, and turning to the 107th Psalme, directed mee to the 23rd and 24th verses, where I read that they which go downe to the sea in ships and occupy by the great waters, they see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deepe, etc.
. . . I have talked twise with Don Antonio of Portugal, and with five or sixe of his best captaynes and pilots, one of whom was born in Easte India. They al wish al prosperitie to her Majestie and yourselfe, and say that, if the Queene of England wold joyne with their master, whose strength by sea they commend unto the skyes, they know how the King of Spayne, our mortal enemy, might easily be met withal, and she much enriched.