Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan
Random House, 2003 - 696 من الصفحات
From one of the greatest historians of the Spanish world, here is a fresh and fascinating account of Spain’s early conquests in the Americas. Hugh Thomas’s magisterial narrative of Spain in the New World has all the characteristics of great historical literature: amazing discoveries, ambition, greed, religious fanaticism, court intrigue, and a battle for the soul of humankind.
Hugh Thomas shows Spain at the dawn of the sixteenth century as a world power on the brink of greatness. Her monarchs, Fernando and Isabel, had retaken Granada from Islam, thereby completing restoration of the entire Iberian peninsula to Catholic rule. Flush with success, they agreed to sponsor an obscure Genoese sailor’s plan to sail west to the Indies, where, legend purported, gold and spices flowed as if they were rivers. For Spain and for the world, this decision to send Christopher Columbus west was epochal—the dividing line between the medieval and the modern.
Spain’s colonial adventures began inauspiciously: Columbus’s meagerly funded expedition cost less than a Spanish princess’s recent wedding. In spite of its small scale, it was a mission of astounding scope: to claim for Spain all the wealth of the Indies. The gold alone, thought Columbus, would fund a grand Crusade to reunite Christendom with its holy city, Jerusalem.
The lofty aspirations of the first explorers died hard, as the pursuit of wealth and glory competed with the pursuit of pious impulses. The adventurers from Spain were also, of course, curious about geographical mysteries, and they had a remarkable loyalty to their country. But rather than bridging earth and heaven, Spain’s many conquests bore a bitter fruit. In their search for gold, Spaniards enslaved “Indians” from the Bahamas and the South American mainland. The eloquent protests of Bartolomé de las Casas, here much discussed, began almost immediately. Columbus and other Spanish explorers—Cortés, Ponce de León, and Magellan among them—created an empire for Spain of unsurpassed size and scope. But the door was soon open for other powers, enemies of Spain, to stake their claims.
Great men and women dominate these pages: cardinals and bishops, priors and sailors, landowners and warriors, princes and priests, noblemen and their determined wives.
Rivers of Gold is a great story brilliantly told. More significant, it is an engrossing history with many profound—often disturbing—echoes in the present.
ما يقوله الناس - كتابة مراجعة
LibraryThing Reviewمعاينة المستخدمين - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing
Hugh Thomas has come through again! The Spanish Empire was not only a romantic idea, but an organization, and an enterprise which involved a relatively few people in the continental Spanish structure ... قراءة التقييم بأكمله
Rivers of gold: the rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellanمعاينة المستخدمين - Not Available - Book Verdict
A momentous year for Western civilization, 1492 saw the defeat of the last Islamic state in western Europe and the setting forth of expeditions that would open up an entire hemisphere to European ... قراءة التقييم بأكمله
The only happy country
Great tranquility and order
For Gods sake tell me what sun you are singing
A white stretch of land
Tears in the royal eyes
They love their neighbors as themselves
We concede the islands and lands discovered by you
Without partiality love or hatred
A man very advanced in excess
Go back and see what is happening
It is clear as day
jo I was moved to act by a natural compassion
As if in their own country
Mainland no island
Whether we can sell those slaves or not
Malevolent jokes of the goddess Fortune
The greatest good that we can wish for
Teach them and indoctrinate them with good customs
Children must constantly obey their parents
You ought to send one hundred black slaves
And they leapt onto the land
Call this other place Amerige
Infidels may justly defend themselves