SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1011: Answer and Explanation
2. The most compelling reason for European exploration in the 1400s was the
A. desire to Christianize new lands.
B. increased need for labor.
C. need for new lands to support growing populations.
D. desire for an all-water route to the East.
E. desire for religious freedom.
Correct Answer: D
The Crusades had led to a desire for goods from the East. Because of the control of the Mediterranean by the Italian city-states and the difficulty of overland transport of goods from the Far East to Europe, Europeans were searching for an all-water route to the East. The desire to spread Christianity to the new lands developed after these new lands were discovered. There was sufficient population to meet labor needs in Europe. The need for labor developed later as a result of the new trade and products found in these new lands. The desire to relieve overcrowding in Europe became a problem for the British in the late 1500s, when economic problems developed in England. It was not a reason for the early exploration by Spain and Portugal. Finally, the desire for religious freedom led colonists to settle in the New World, but it was not a major reason for the initial exploration.