Columbus in the Americas (Turning Points in History) by William Least Heat-Moon

By William Least Heat-Moon

A stirring story of experience and tragedy"They introduced balls of spun cotton and parrots and javelins and different little issues that it'd be tiresome to write, they usually gave every thing for something that used to be given to them. i used to be attentive and worked to determine if there has been any gold."With those portentous phrases, Christopher Columbus defined one in every of his first encounters with local american citizens at the island of Guanahani, which he had named San Salvador and claimed for Spain the day prior to. In Columbus within the Americas, bestselling writer William Least Heat-Moon unearths that Columbus's next dealings with the cultures he encountered not just did substantial fast damage, but in addition set the development of habit in the event you him.Based at the logbook of Columbus and various different firsthand money owed of his 4 voyages to the hot global, this vividly certain background additionally examines the strengths and weaknesses of Columbus as a navigator, explorer, and chief. It recounts dramatic occasions corresponding to the destruction of fort Navidad, the first actual ecu cost within the New global; a pitched conflict in northern Panama with the local Guaymi humans; and an agonizing 12 months Columbus and his males spent marooned on a slender spit of land in southern Jamaica.Filled with tales of triumph and tragedy, braveness and villainy, Columbus within the Americas deals a balanced but unflinching portrait of the main recognized and debatable explorer in history.TURNING issues gains preeminent writers providing clean, own views at the defining occasions of our time.

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Additional resources for Columbus in the Americas (Turning Points in History)

Sample text

How fine it would be to see the man of flesh and hopes and frailties show through! But Columbus then was not much given to musing, and 18 THE FIRST VOYAGE he, an Italian, expresses himself in an unsophisticated Spanish. He was seemingly incapable of self-doubt about conceptions of his God, the size of the Earth, the positions of oceans, and, later, his colossal role in the annals of discovery; yet, on that First Voyage especially, there must have been flickerings that he might have mistaken something in his geographical knowledge or misinterpreted an ancient text or misjudged the capacity of ordinary seamen to withstand trepidation natural to an expedition into unknown waters.

The appearance that afternoon of a massive bank of 20 THE FIRST VOYAGE clouds to the north reinforced the Captain General’s conviction that the fleet was indeed near land, but his overriding objective, unlike Pinzón’s, was to reach Cipango, the great island off the coast of Asia that would serve as a stepping-stone to arrival in the Indies. Rather than chasing chimeric places, Columbus held course due west and presumed the return voyage would serve to discover long-supposed Atlantic isles. In this way, he proved himself a wiser navigator and a more reliable leader than the avaricious Pinzón.

How 48 THE FIRST VOYAGE different that first historic encounter on Guanahani might have been had the Lucayos been similarly fearful. ” Whether these objects were for beauty or worship, Columbus never learned. No matter how far he explored up a river, he saw not so much as a wooden town let alone a fabulous city to match Marco Polo’s old (and outdated) report, and nowhere did he come upon sailing ships of the mighty Khan for whom the Captain General carried royal letters of introduction. Yet Columbus insisted on interpreting the sign language of his Indian guides as indicating the Grand Khan lived nearby, and he understood them to say that to reach the mainland was only a voyage of ten days.

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