One reason why the Europeans started to explore was because they wanted resources. They wanted these resources because they fell in love with them when they traded with Asia using the silk road. Once the Turks took over and closed the silk road, there was no way for the Europeans to get some of these things like spices and goods, So they decided to explore themselves over there around Africa or heading west thinking they'll reach Asia. In class we learned about "Vasco De Gama", He was the first European explorer to reach Asia using all water.
Also, some explorers just went for the curiosity of the world. Some explorers were sent by the king and queen to go find land for their country or whatever. But some left to find the new world and have a new life. They would leave in hope to find a place where they could live and prosper, becoming famous for find land, even if its not what where they think it is. Some explorers were sent by the queen and king to go find spices and discovered new land, Like our friend Christoper Columbus who thought he was in the Indies but really found his way to America.
One of the many effects of exploration was slavery. Slavery became a big deal when the Americas were making a bunch of new goodies for Europe to sell. But, of course the Europeans don't wanna make these things themselves so they have a route with Africa to pick up the blacks and they slaved the natives Americans and they would force them to make all the stuff and it was an endless rotation.
From all this chaos, the outcome was very fortunate for Europe. Europe became stinking rich. It was cheap for them to make things in the Americas and sell them for a lot in Europe. This made it easy for (especially Spain) to make a lot of money, where they created the triangle trade and pretty much had an endless supply of money now because they just kept having more and more stuff come to them to sell.
My head, Class book, Mrs. Lyons, www.mpsaz.org/mesa/staff/amstrawn/classes/exp/files/european_explorationkey.doc