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A desire for new discoveries and goods led Western explorers to take to the seas. Countries and cities competed for trade routes that would lead to sources of exotic foods, spices, silks, gold, and silver. New trade routes across the Atlantic Ocean, aided by innovations in navigation and cartography, led explorers to the goods they sought. Trade and exploration also led to the growth of banking, making many cities and ports emblems of the new prosperity and defining the Renaissance a true period of discovery.