The European Expansion was motivated purely by the religious rivalries among the European powers.
European nations in the 15th century began exploring new lands with three motives: religion, wealth, and glory. It was made possible by advances in naval fleet building and navigation, first pioneered by the Portuguese. Europeans began to be involved in extensive exploration, coming in contact with Africa, the Americas, and their prime target Asia. The main targets of the pioneering Portugese and Spanish was to find and alternate trade route for the Indies trade and also promote Christianity to the new lands. As the century unfolded, the search for newer territories to colonize and shortern routes to the exotic land of spices and silk became the initial driving force for the intensive early exploration by the Europeans .
Religious motives of the 'Old Land' of Europe's exploration can be traced back to the days of the Crusades down to the 11th and 15th century, where the European Christians tried to invade and claim the city of Jerusalem from its Muslim control. The struggle between the Islamic rule and the European Christians planted the ideology of 'Reconquista' in the latter's religion. It influenced the Christian religion with an air of religious intolerance. With the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, European Catholic's interests in colonizing newer lands and declare global dominance earned a new momentum. And strong Catholic nations of Spain and Portugal were the forerunners in this expedition of finding unchartered territories and converting the people into Catholic Christians.
However, even for the strongest of the religious motives, it would be wrong to say that religion was the only reason behind the European drive for exploration. The Europeans had already been intorduced to the exoticity of spices, silk and porcelian from the East Asia and Indies over the trade in the Silk Road as early as the 2nd century BC. However, the rising inefficiency of transportation of the goods along the land route of the Silk road with the Muslim rulers of the countries on the route imposing heavy taxes and robbers frequently raiding the carrying caravans, it bec...