Medieval Foundations

The Middle Ages were a period of development for scientific and technical knowledge in Western Europe. Through trade with the Near East and China, many navigational instruments became part of the repertoire of the medieval philosopher. Astrolabes and compasses were introduced to Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Earlier adventurers wrote accounts of Arabic peoples along trade routes in Africa, and the Venetian explorer Marco Polo (1254-1324) ventured to the Far East along the Silk Road and published his account, sparking an interest in voyaging to lands previously unconsidered.