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The Worlds of Christopher Columbus William D. Phillips, Jr. (University of Minnesota)

The Worlds of Christopher Columbus By William D. Phillips, Jr. (University of Minnesota)

The Worlds of Christopher Columbus by William D. Phillips, Jr. (University of Minnesota)

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This book tells the story of the life and times of Christopher Columbus on the 500th anniversary of his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. More than a simple description of one man's rise and fall, it shows Columbus as an active part of the social and political world in which he lived.

The Worlds of Christopher Columbus Summary

The Worlds of Christopher Columbus by William D. Phillips, Jr. (University of Minnesota)

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.

The Worlds of Christopher Columbus Reviews

William D. Phillips, Jr., and Carla Rahn Phillips have expertly set this biography of Christopher Columbus within the context of the fourteenth and fifteenth-century 'worlds' that Columbus drew together into the single world of modern times by crossing the Atlantic to the West Indies in 1492...I judge this volume to be one of the best efforts so far to set forth Columbus's life, the milieu that makes it understandable, and the consequences that make it significant. American Historical Review
Their focus, as the title implies, is less on Columbus the man than on the historical circumstances within which he operated...Within this larger area, however, the book is magistral; very dense, with helpful notes at every turn. Maps prepared by the cartographic laboratory at the University of Minnesota closely substantiate the argument of the text...we shall need to turn to the Phillipses to track things down in detail. The Journal of American History
This book is a wonderful synthesis of Christopher Columbus and his times. Colonial Latin American Historical Review
The Worlds of Christopher Columbus is a balanced, intelligent, and meticulously researched work examining the life and legacy of Columbus within the broad context of European exploration. Christian theology, and Spanish empire building....This is a fascinating book for anyone wanting to understand the motives and methods of the Spanish explorers and the development of a global trading system. Nominated for several awards, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus appears destined to become a modern classic. Village View
The Phillipses succeed in their aim of presenting a balanced view, which they hope will challenge the equally distorting myths of Columbus as hero or as villain....This readable though scholarly work is recommended for public and academic libraries seeking not just a biography but a history of European exploration before Columbus. Library Journal
It is as 'less a beginning than the continuation of a centuries-old human process of exploration and migration' that the authors view Columbus' enterprise; and it is the achievement of this book that it places with balance, discernment and fullness Columbus' place within the trends, swirling through the Europe of his day and the real nature of the collision his voyage instigated between two worlds. Booklist
Biographers have gathered like buzzards over Columbus's bones. Two ways of scattering the buzzards and scotching the myths are demonstrated by William D. Phillips, Jr. and Carla Rahn Phillips: stick to the primary sources and locate Columbus in his proper contexts, those indicated by the title of their book, `The Worlds of Christopher Columbus.' The New York Times Book Review excellent synthesis of scholarly writings on Columbus. The work is especially valuable for its discussion of Columbus's years in Portugal and his experiences as a seafarer on Portuguese voyages into the Atlantic. Carl A. Hanson, San Antonio Light
The Worlds of Christopher Columbus, by Carla Rahn Phillips and William D. Phillips, will become the standard one-volume work on its subject: namely, Columbus in the history of Europe and the New World. The authors incorporate the latest scholarship available, and they understand that, before a historian can begin to praise or condemn, he must understand and explain. Washington, DC Times
The Worlds of Christopher Columbus unquestionably stands out in the recent tide of literature on Columbus and the early Spanish expansion in the Americas, thanks to William and Carla Phillips's meticulous use of the evidence and their systematic endeavor to set the Columbus story into a broader historical context. The resulting reconstruction displays qualities that make the book indispensable and stimulating for the specialist and attractive to the general reader....probably the most useful study of Columbus currently available to English-speaking readers. It promises to exercise a powerful influence both in research and in teaching. Given its accessibility, clarity, and helpful documentation, it will certainly fulfill its mission of presenting 'the best evidence about Columbus and his worlds to a broad reading public' (p. ix), one of the ideals behind the recent and controversial Columbian Quincentenary. Ivana Elbl, Journal of World History

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; A note on names; 1. The worlds of Christopher Columbus; 2. Old worlds in isolation; 3. The quest for trade and Christians; 4. Tools of expansion; 5. Columbus's early years in Genoa and Portugal; 6. Columbus in Spain; 7. The first voyage; 8. Columbus and the New World; 9. Conquest and colonisation: Spain in the Caribbean; 10. Coercion and commerce: the birth of Empire; 11. The post-Columbian world; Bibliography; Index.

Additional information

The Worlds of Christopher Columbus by William D. Phillips, Jr. (University of Minnesota)
Cambridge University Press
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