The Worlds of Christopher Columbus
Cambridge University Press, 1992 - 322 pagine
When Columbus was born in the mid-fifteenth century, Europe was isolated in many ways from the rest of the Old World and Europeans did not even know that the world of the Western Hemisphere existed. The voyages of Christopher Columbus opened a period of European exploration and empire building that breached the boundaries of those isolated worlds and changed the course of human history. This book describes the life and times of Christopher Columbus. Ironically, Columbus was not looking for new worlds to conquer but for a seaborne route to the fabulously rich markets of Asia. If someone could only find the way, Asian markets would supply untold riches, and Asian peoples could be introduced to Christianity. In Columbus's time, the dream of Asia inspired many Europeans. What set Columbus apart was his single-minded dedication to finding official support to make that dream a reality. When he failed in Portugal, he moved to Spain, where he won royal backing. His 1492 voyage took him to the Caribbean islands, which he firmly believed were near the Asian mainland. In the years before his death in 1506, Columbus made three other voyages across the ocean, and a dozen other expeditions sailed as well. Though Columbus reached the pinnacle of fame and wealth, he eventually lost royal support through his own failings. Spaniards began creating an empire in the lands across the ocean, even before they or anyone else in Europe knew precisely where or what those lands were. Columbus's story is not just the story of one man's rise and fall. Seen in its broader context, his life becomes a prism reflecting the broad range of human experience for the past five hundred years. William D. Phillips, Jr. isProfessor of History at the University of Minnesota and specializes in the history of medieval Europe with an emphasis on the Iberian peninsula. His previous books include
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