SAT Subject US History Practice Question 810: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 810

71. Portugal led the way in exploration in the 1400s because of

A. its inland location requiring it to find an overland route to the Indies.
B. government stability and the invention of the caravel.
C. the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain.
D. the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella.
E. the success of Columbus's voyage to the New World.

Correct Answer: B


The stable government of Portugal supported Prince Henry the Navigator, an innovator in sailing technology, and the caravel, a fast sailing ship, was perfected by the Portuguese. Portugal is not inland (A) but rather on the Atlantic Ocean. The signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas (C), which split the world between Spain and Portugal, did not take place until the end of the century (1494). Ferdinand and Isabella (D) were rulers of Spain who had no influence on the early success of the Portuguese. Columbus sailed to the New World in 1492 for Spain, not Portugal (E).

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