The Middle Ages, though marked by plague in Europe, was a time of increased investigation of the world. People from civilizations around the globe—from the Chinese in Asia to a curious Venetian named Marco Polo—sought to understand the world at large and discover its secrets. Exploration in the World of the Middle Ages, 500–1500, Revised Edition is an account of travels, expeditions, discoveries, and cross-cultural contacts in the span of 1,000 years throughout the world. This era encompassed periods of sophisticated civilization, learning, and outstanding achievement in many cultures around the world.
- The role played by three major religions—Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam—and these religions' pilgrims and missionaries who traveled throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East
- The Vikings' advanced shipbuilding technology and how they sent exploratory, mercantile, and colonizing expeditions across the North Atlantic
- Marco Polo's extensive travels and the wealth of geographical knowledge he gathered around China, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Japan, and the lands of the Indian Ocean
- Portuguese expeditions to Africa and Asia supported by Prince Henry the Navigator
- Zheng He's monumental seventh voyage between 1431 and 1433 that included 100 ships and approximately 27,500 officers and crew.