Between the mid-15th and 17th centuries, European sailors explored the seas in search of new lands, riches, and trade routes that connected their countries with the Far East. Today, historians refer to this period as the Age of Exploration, or the Age of Discovery.

Life was exciting—but rough—for the era’s sailors. The sea offered opportunity, but crew members also faced countless dangers and illnesses, and worked around the clock for very little pay. Learn what life was like for these voyagers via the below infographic, courtesy of and visual communications studio Column Five.