"great maritime nations"
by cm

Columbus Arriving in the New World
Public DomainColumbus Arriving in the New World
Spain began building her vast empire in the 15 th century, spurred on by the exploration of men like Columbus and Magellan, and the gold-seeking conquests of Pizarro and Cortes.  The Netherlands became a major naval power in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, with explorers such as Abel Tasman and Willem Barents, and corporations like the Dutch East India Company paving the way for an empire that stretched from South America to South-East Asia.   The Repubbliche Marinare was a collection of Italian and Dalmatian city states with strong naval forces and extensive maritime trade networks.   Venice, Pisa, Genoa and Amalfi were the four main powers.