The Worlds of Christopher Columbus

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, 1992 - History - 322 pages
When Columbus was born in the mid-fifteenth century, Europe was largely isolated from the rest of the Old World - Africa and Asia - and ignorant of the existence of the world of the Western Hemisphere. 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 on the 500th aniversary of his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. Since ancient times, Europeans had dreamed of discovering new routes to the untold riches of Asia and the Far East, what set Columbus apart from these explorers was his single-minded dedication to finding official support to make that dream a reality. More than a simple description of the man, this new book places Columbus in a very broad context of European and world history. 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. Respected historians of medieval Spain and early America, the authors examine Columbus's quest for funds, first in Portugal and then in Spain, where he finally won royal backing for his scheme. Through his successful voyage in 1492 and three subsequent journeys to the new world Columbus reached the pinnacle of fame and wealth, and yet he eventually lost royal support through his own failings. William and Carla Rahn Phillips discuss the reasons for this fall and describe the empire created by the Spaniards in the lands across the ocean, even though neither they, nor anyone else in Europe, know precisely where or what those lands were. In examining the birth of a new world, this book reveals much about the times that produced these intrepid explorers.

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A solid but seriously uninspired study of the explorer's life and times, by two professors of history at the Univ. of Minnesota. Deep research helps the Phillipses re-create the 15th century, right ... Read full review

The worlds of Christopher Columbus

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Another study published in conjunction with the Columbus quincentenary. This work firmly places Columbus within the broader context of 200 years of earlier European maritime efforts aimed at gaining ... Read full review


The Worlds of Christopher Columbus
Old Worlds in Isolation
The Quest for Trade and Christians
Tools of Expansion
Columbuss Early Years in Genoa and Portugal
Columbus in Spain
The First Voyage
Columbus and the New World
Conquest and Colonization Spain in the Caribbean
Coercion and Commerce The Birth of Empire
The PostColumbian World

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