Aspects of Italian and American History

Exploration and Discovery

Since the Italian republics and city states could not fund exploration ventures, many of their brave and skilled explorers were hired by Portugal, Spain, France, and England — nations which shared a desire to establish profitable trade routes to Africa and to Asia.

The first European to travel to Asia was Giovanni dal Piano dei Carpini, a Franciscan from the city of Perugia. In 1245, Pope Innocent IV sent him on a mission to meet the Khan of Tartary to protest the Mongols' invasions of Christian lands. Carpini reached Mongolia in 1246 and later wrote the book, Historia Mongolorum, which alerted Europe to the aggressive nature of the Tartars.