The 1490s were a momentous decade in human history. In 1492, the daring Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail from southern Spain, determined to find a direct sea route to Asia, and stumbled upon a previously unknown continent- the Americas. Five years later, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama departed from Lisbon, and rounding the Cape of Good Hope, landed in Calicut (now Kozhikode), becoming the first European to reach India by sea. For the first time ever in history, both hemispheres of the world were interlinked by ships and trade.
The path-breaking discovery of new sea routes heralded an era of rapid globalisation and flourishing colonial empires for Spain and Portugal, radically altering the orientation of global trade and interaction. The Silk Road network, which stretched from China to Europe and which had been the world's most important system of communication and commerce up until that point,' faded into insignificance, and central Eurasia lost its economic vigour. On the other hand, the Atlantic seaboard of Europe a peripheral backwater into a powerful hub of trade and commerce. Europe was on its way to becoming the new centre of the world.
How European expansion came about is an intriguing tale of adventure, ambition, curiosity, need for survival, and intense competition.
This tidbit is from India and Faraway Lands by Ashutosh Mehndiratta