As Vasco da Gama joined the Sao Gabriel in Lisbao in 1497 to find the searoute to India, Europe was an isolated continent.
The Osman Empire had already conquered Constantinopel and took over control of the landroutes from Asia to Europe. It was flourishing and set on to conquer Egypt and much of the northern african coastlines.
Through this, the continent was cut off from global trade and depended on the middle-eastern empires to get the goods from asia.
To their conditions of course.
After the tariffs for getting the goods to the Mediterranean, the italian states took over, with Venice at the forefront. They had a de-facto monopoly over the european trade with Asia. So, they took their tariffs and so the goods were nearly unpayable in Eruope.
This was ought to be changed.
First the Portuguese, soon after the Spaniards, send off to find new trade-routes and eventually found their way to India. And randomly a whole new world.
Today, the strategic position of Europe in the Red Sea and the Atlantik is similarly bad as then and only the US is a guarantee for free trade on the seas. If this should change one day, the european economy will be weakened and put into dependency.
The atlantic-route is already found, and new continents are not in sight. How will Europe react this time?