The European Discovery of America: Vol 1: The Northern Voyages A.D. 500-1600

Paperback | August 1, 1993

bySamuel Eliot Morison

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The late Samuel Eliot Morison, a former U.S. Navy admiral, was also one of America's premier historians. Combining a first-hand knowledge of the sea and transatlantic travel with a brilliantly readable narrative style, he produced what has become nothing less than the definitive account ofthe great age of European exploration. In his riveting and richly illustrated saga, Morison offers a comprehensive account of all the known voyages by Europeans to the New World from 500 A.D. to the seventeenth century. Together, the two volumes of The European Discovery of America tell thecompelling stories of the many intrepid explorers who made what was then a journey frought with danger--figures as diverse as Leif Ericsson, Columbus, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, Martin Frobisher, Magellan, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake to name but a few. They also follow theadventures of lesser-known but no less interesting mariners and offer a detailed look at those who set them forth on their travels.In the first volume, The Northern Voyages--winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize for History--Morison re-creates the lives and perilous times of those who claimed to have seen the shores of North America in the 600 years after the Norsemen first landed. He brings to his account a rare immediacy,making the drama and unpredictability of their voyages as significant in relation to the people of their era as the astronauts' journeys have been for our own times. Morison also offers a fascinating look at the imaginary lands reported by early travelers (such mythical places as Antilia and theSeven Cities, the glorious Kingdoms of Norumbega and Saguenay, and Hy-Brasil the Isle of the Blest) and examines as well the alleged discoverers of these lands. With warmth and wit he distinguishes fact from fiction, and imaginary explorers and their exploits from actual men and events.In the second volume, Morison turns his attention to the navigators who negotiated the waters of the Caribbean and the treacherous coasts of South America, even following them as they ventured ashore to the dark inland of the southern continent. The Southern Voyages begins with the events leadingup to Columbus's arrival in San Salvador in 1492 and concludes with the discovery of the southernmost bit of land, Cape Horn, by Dutch explorers in 1616. In between, Morison retraces the routes of all the great mariners, including a step-by-step account of Magellan's voyage that would take himaround the world. Morison has enlivened his narrative with a wide range of source material from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and South America, in the process shedding new light on questions that have divided scholars througout history: Did Sir Francis Drake discover San Francisco Bay? Was AmerigoVespucci a great explorer or a fraud--or a little of both? What role did the French have in the European discovery of Brazil?Each volume brims with contemporary illustrations, maps (many of them specially drawn for this history) and photographs (often taken by Morison himself as he flew at low altitude along the coastal routes of explorers), which together identify virtually every allusion to land and sea made by thegreat European navigators in their ship logs and their later accounts.With the 500th anniversary of the European arrival in America came much controversy over Columbus's true legacy. With its lively and engaging style, and with its unsurpassed understanding of the age, The European Discovery of America helps put the era of exploration in much-needed perspective.Anyone interested in the history of America, indeed, in the history of Western Civilization, will find these volumes absolutely essential.

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From Our Editors

Combining a first-hand knowledge of the sea and transatlantic travel with a brilliantly readable narrative style. The European Discovery of America has become nothing less than the definitive account of the great age of European exploration. In the first volume of this riveting and richly illustrated saga Morison re-creates the lives a...

From the Publisher

The late Samuel Eliot Morison, a former U.S. Navy admiral, was also one of America's premier historians. Combining a first-hand knowledge of the sea and transatlantic travel with a brilliantly readable narrative style, he produced what has become nothing less than the definitive account ofthe great age of European exploration. In his...

About the Author: The late Samuel Eliot Morison, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was the author of numerous books including The Oxford History of the American People, The Growth of the American Republic, and Admiral of the Ocean, a biography of Columbus.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:736 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.74 inPublished:August 1, 1993Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195082710

ISBN - 13:9780195082715

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From Our Editors

Combining a first-hand knowledge of the sea and transatlantic travel with a brilliantly readable narrative style. The European Discovery of America has become nothing less than the definitive account of the great age of European exploration. In the first volume of this riveting and richly illustrated saga Morison re-creates the lives and perilous times of those intrepid mariners who sailed across the North Atlantic to the New World from A.D. 500 to the 16th century.

Editorial Reviews

"In this mellow book Morison blends pungent insight as a historian and extraordinary knowledge as a navigator, familiarity with the ancient sagas and graphic understanding of the dangers which the mariners encountered. He threads his way through the myths and national rivalries with a stronghand and salty wit....His scholarship is never forbidding, for throughout the narrative he is speaking as a twentieth-century admiral of the ocean sea, urbane, good humored, experienced, and acute in his reading of human nature. The notes are spicy and persuasive, the maps and illustrationsprofuse."--The Atlantic