Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504 by Laurence Bergreen

By Laurence Bergreen

From the writer of the Magellan biography, Over the sting of the World, a enthralling new account of the nice explorer

Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage around the Atlantic Ocean looking for a buying and selling path to China, and his unforeseen landfall in the Americas, is a watershed occasion in global background. but Columbus made 3 extra voyages in the span of just a decade, every one designed to display that he may perhaps sail to China inside of a question of weeks and convert these he came upon there to Christianity. those later voyages have been much more adventurous, violent, and ambiguous, yet they printed Columbus's uncanny feel of the ocean, his mingled brilliance and fable, and his outstanding navigational abilities. In most of these exploits he virtually by no means misplaced a sailor. via their end, despite the fact that, Columbus was once damaged in physique and spirit. If the 1st voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, the latter voyages illustrate the tragic costs—political, ethical, and economic.

In wealthy element Laurence Bergreen re-creates every one of those adventures in addition to the ancient heritage of Columbus's celebrated, arguable profession. Written from the members' bright views, this breathtakingly dramatic account might be embraced via readers of Bergreen's earlier biographies of Marco Polo and Magellan and through fanatics of Nathaniel Philbrick, Simon Winchester, and Tony Horwitz.

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Extra resources for Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504

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At close range, Columbus’s accomplishments seem anything but foreordained or clear-cut. An aura of chaos hovers over his entire life and adventures, against which he tries to impose his remarkably serene will. But as his son Ferdinand makes clear, his father is always vulnerable—to the whims of monarchs, to tides and storms, and to the moods of the sailors serving under him. He emerges as a hostage to fortune in the high-stakes game of European expansion; time and again, his exploits could have gone one way or another, were it not for his singular vision.

A few days later, on November 4, Martín Alonso Pinzón, who considered himself the expedition’s virtual co-leader, went ashore and made a highly promising find, “two pieces of cinnamon,” actually Canella winterana, or wild cinnamon blossoms, giving off their smoky-sweet odor. ” There were even cinnamon groves nearby, according to Pinta’s boatswain, but on inspection, Columbus decided that was not the case. ” Grotesque stories such as these sounded similar to tales recounted by Sir John Mandeville, whose fanciful tales were at least as popular in western Europe as Marco Polo’s.

The arrival of the Spaniards in the New World heralded the extinction of the Taíno culture, but for now, the tribe possessed a blend of sophistication and innocence that Columbus tried to capture in his diary: All that I saw were young men, none of them more than 30 years old, very well built, of very handsome bodies and very fine faces; their hair coarse, almost like the hair of a horse’s tail, and short, the hair they wear over their eyebrows, except for a hank behind that they wear long and never cut.

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