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xvii, 423 pages, 48 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 387-397) and index.
Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a trading route to China, and his unexpected landfall in the Americas, is a watershed event in world history. Yet Columbus made three more voyages within the span of only a decade, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. These later voyages were even more adventurous, violent, and ambiguous, but they revealed Columbus's uncanny sense of the sea, his mingled brilliance and delusion, and his superb navigational skills. In all these exploits he almost never lost a sailor. By their conclusion, however, Columbus was broken in body and spirit. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, the latter voyages illustrate the tragic costs, political, moral, and economic. In this book the author re-creates each of these adventures as well as the historical background of Columbus's celebrated, controversial career.