In Europe, in the early 1400s, most people lived very simple lives. They had only the basics needed to survive.
But nobles and the very wealthy had more comforts. They enjoyed spices, silks, fine china, and other luxury goods. Many of these came from Asia. Italian and Arab traders controlled trade between Europe and Asia. They charged high prices for fancy imports. In many European countries, rulers dreamed of finding new sea routes to Asia. That way, their own merchants could trade directly with Asia. They could keep the profits from trade, and stop making Italian and Arab traders rich.