Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan

Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan

Hugh Thomas

From one of many maximum historians of the Spanish international, here's a clean and engaging account of Spain’s early conquests within the Americas. Hugh Thomas’s magisterial narrative of Spain within the New global has the entire features of serious old literature: impressive discoveries, ambition, greed, non secular fanaticism, courtroom intrigue, and a conflict for the soul of humankind.

Hugh Thomas exhibits Spain on the sunrise of the 16th century as an international energy close to greatness. Her monarchs, Fernando and Isabel, had retaken Granada from Islam, thereby finishing recovery of the full Iberian peninsula to Catholic rule. Flush with luck, they agreed to sponsor an imprecise Genoese sailor’s plan to sail west to the Indies, the place, legend purported, gold and spices flowed as though they have been rivers. For Spain and for the area, this selection to ship Christopher Columbus west was once epochal—the dividing line among the medieval and the modern.

Spain’s colonial adventures started inauspiciously: Columbus’s meagerly funded day trip fee below a Spanish princess’s contemporary marriage ceremony. regardless of its small scale, it was once a project of excellent scope: to assert for Spain the entire wealth of the Indies. The gold on my own, inspiration Columbus, might fund a grand campaign to reunite Christendom with its holy urban, Jerusalem.

The lofty aspirations of the 1st explorers died not easy, because the pursuit of wealth and glory competed with the pursuit of pious impulses. The adventurers from Spain have been additionally, in fact, enthusiastic about geographical mysteries, they usually had a notable loyalty to their state. yet instead of bridging earth and heaven, Spain’s many conquests bore a sour fruit. of their look for gold, Spaniards enslaved “Indians” from the Bahamas and the South American mainland. The eloquent protests of Bartolomé de las Casas, the following a lot mentioned, all started shortly. Columbus and different Spanish explorers—Cortés, Ponce de León, and Magellan between them—created an empire for Spain of unsurpassed dimension and scope. however the door used to be quickly open for different powers, enemies of Spain, to stake their claims.
Great women and men dominate those pages: cardinals and bishops, priors and sailors, landowners and warriors, princes and clergymen, noblemen and their made up our minds wives.

Rivers of Gold is a brilliant tale brilliantly advised. extra major, it's an engrossing background with many profound—often disturbing—echoes within the current.

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