Editor: James E. Wadsworth
Extent: 176 pp
Publication: October 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
- What happened on Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic?
- Who was responsible for the success of that voyage?
- How do we know?
These questions were debated in the courts of Spain for decades after 1492. Some of those who sailed with Columbus left very different accounts, as recorded in those trial records. Their competing voices have long been silenced by the deafening crescendo of Columbus’s own narrative — a narrative riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies that beg to be explained. This documentary history allows the reader to encounter the founding documents of the Columbus story as well as the voices that dared to challenge it — even in his own day. What these documents reveal forces us to re-imagine Columbus and his voyage in surprising ways.
Columbus and His First Voyage brings together for the first time the two contemporary versions of what happened on the first voyage – the Columbian narrative and the Pinzón narrative – and embeds them in a thorough introduction to Columbus, his first voyage, and the myths that surround this pivotal event in the history of the modern world.
Few events in human history are as widely known yet as poorly understood as Columbus’s Atlantic crossing of 1492. This book-length focus on that voyage is thus an important and welcome gift to instructors, students, and curious readers. Through his careful selection and expert packaging of revealing documents, James Wadsworth gently guides us into seeing 1492 from multiple perspectives-as provocative as they are fascinating. Matthew Restall, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Latin American History, Pennsylvania State University, USA