Gordon Miller Sailing into History

The Lure of Cathay

By the end of the fifteenth century, ships launched in Europe had developed to the point they could make long offshore passages, and their crews had gained the confidence that they could find their way home again. Drawn by the riches of the Orient, Portugal and Spain sent the first ships on voyages to the south and west in hopes of finding a direct route to China, and the spice islands of southeast Asia.