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Exploration

Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information or resources. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans. In human history, its most dramatic rise was during the Age of Discovery when European explorers sailed and charted much of the rest of the world for a variety of reasons. Since then, major explorations after the Age of Discovery have occurred for reasons mostly aimed at information discovery. In scientific research, exploration is one of three purposes of empirical research the other two being description and explanation. The term is often used metaphorically. For example, an individual may speak of exploring the Internet, etc.

Age of Discovery

The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration, is an informal and loosely defined term for the period in European history in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and which was the beginning of globalization. It also marks the rise of the period of widespread adoption in Europe of colonialism and mercantilism as national policies. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered by them during this period, though most were already inhabited. From the perspective of many non-Europeans, the Age of Discovery marked the arrival of invaders from previously unknown continents. Global exploration started with the Portuguese discoveries of the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores in 1419 and 1427, the coast of Africa after 1434 and the sea route to India in 1498, and from the Crown of Castile Spain, the trans-Atlantic voyages of Christopher Columbus to the Americas between 1492 and 1502 and the first circumnavigation from the globe in 1519-1522. These discoveries led to numerous naval expeditions across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, land expeditions in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia that continued into the late 19th century, and ended with the exploration of the polar regions in the 20th century. European overseas exploration led to the rise of global trade and the European colonial empires, with the contact between the Old World Europe, Asia and Africa and the New World the Americas and Australia producing the Columbian exchange, a wide transfer of plants, animals, food, human populations including slaves, communicable diseases and culture between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. This represented one of the most significant global events concerning ecology, agriculture and culture in history. The Age of Discovery and later European exploration allowed the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new worldview and distant civilizations coming into contact, but also led to the propagation of diseases that decimated populations not previously in contact with Eurasia and Africa and to the enslavement, exploitation, military conquest and economic dominance by Europe and its colonies over native populations. It also allowed for the expansion of Christianity throughout the world: with the spread of missionary activity, it eventually became the worlds largest religion.

Age of Sail

The Age of Sail was a period roughly corresponding to the early modern period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from the mid-16th to the mid-19th century.

Botanical expedition

A botanical expedition is a scientific journey or voyage designed to explore the flora of a particular region. The expedition could be specifically designed for exploring the flora, or this could have been a part of studying the natural history of the region. A naturalist or botanist was charged with drawing and describing the flora, collecting specimens of unknown plants in a plant press, and identifying potential economically important plants. On botanical expeditions funded by governments, the plants were often collected by the person in the field, but described and named by a government sponsored scientists at botanical gardens and universities. For example, many of the species collected on the Lewis and Clark Expedition were described and named by Frederick Traugott Pursh.

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