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.
Rewriting History: Alwyn Ruddock and John Cabot
Alwyn Ruddock was a respected historian who had made what were widely believed to be breakthrough finds about the voyages of discovery to the New World by John Cabot in the late 15th century, and even voyages before him. But she died without publishing any of it, and destroyed her source notes. Historians have been on her factual trail ever since.
The German Connection: Munzer, Behaim, and the Cabot and Columbus voyages
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 →