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from Lamin Sanneh, Disciples of All Nations, p. 107

The explosion of maritime exploration, which Catholic Spain and Portugal led, to be joined later by Protestant England and the Netherlands, created the shift from land-based power to sea-based power. . . .

The social revolution attendant on such a major shift of power arrangements brought into play a new mercantile class whose entrepreneurial spirit sent them looking for wealth and profit in hitherto unknown or unexplored lands. As one such adventurer expressed it, they crossed the seas “to serve God and His majesty, to give light to those who were in darkness,” but most emphatically “to grow rich, as all men desire to do.” Or, as Columbus expressed it, “Gold, what an excellent product! It is from gold that riches come. He who has gold can do whatever he pleases in this world. With gold one can even bring souls into Paradise.”