Never mind notions of spreading Christianity to the benighted of the world, or pursuing humanity’s insatiable love of adventure: money, then as now, sought fresh opportunity, and where opportunities were not at hand, they needed to be created. Columbus sailed out of an Old World that was at that moment focused on a fresh round of subjugation, in the Canaries, and he exported its sensibilities to the New World that he did find.
On November 4, 1494, Nürnberg’s Jerome Münzer ascended the bell tower of Seville’s Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. It had been built in the late twelfth century as the minaret of Seville’s great mosque, when the city was the capital of the Muslim empire of the Maghreb, which included North African territories from present-day... Continue Reading →
A key element of my book The Race to the New World is how it integrates two marginalized figures of the late 15th century, Jerome Munzer and Martin Behaim, into the narrative of the early-modern European arrival in the Americas. Neither man is unknown to history, but neither man has been properly placed in the story... Continue Reading →