first question here (but not last I think). I'm currently thinking about ideas I have to form the base of a book I'll then write, and I need some insights/knowledge about exploration.
I'm looking for realistic (or the closest it can be) answers.
For now, let's set up a bit the universe.
We're talking about a centralized, united empire, spreading from a coast to another. It's technological advancement is quite similar to the Renaissance, 17th century in particular.
Until then, the good soil was enough to feed the population, the herds had enough grass and wild plants to feed on, and forests were still standing. Yet, for some years, it became clear that harvests were not what it would have been. Fungic infestation spread and the empire, saw as a giant, was now on the verge of dislocation.
Philosophers, thinkers and scientists emitted the idea that a cure to these plague could be found where the known man never stepped. So exploration parties were sent, braving danger.
I'm wondering: what could be a good way to explain a late exploration of neighboring lands?
We know that Vikings landed in America quite early (10th century or so), so oceans seems to be a no go. Mountains and desert doesn't sound like an impassable terrain, as humanity spread with or without these limitations.
I hope my question fits for the stackexchange format, and I wan't wait to read your ideas.