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Late 15th - 16th centuries

The Great Discoveries

Chris­topher Columbus arrived in America in 1492 and Vasco da Gama opened up the route to India in 1498. Under the impetus of Por­tugal and Spain, new trade routes were opened to reach the « Indies » without having to pass through the inter­me­di­aries what were then the Arab coun­tries and Venice. The Por­tuguese chose to go round Africa via the Cape of Good Hope to reach India; this was done by Vasco da Gama in 1498. The Kingdom of Spain sup­ported the project of Genoese Chris­topher Columbus to open a western route to India, which would even­tually link Europe up to the Americas in 1492. These « Great Dis­cov­eries » mark the start of a glob­al­iz­ation process by con­trib­uting to the strong growth of trade between con­tinents: the « tri­an­gular trade » between Europe, Africa and the Americas, the trade between Europe and Asia thanks to the pre­cious metals mined in the « new world » colonies.

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