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The Discovery of Mankind: Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus - Hardcover

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The first landings in the Atlantic World heralded striking and terrifying impressions of peoples entirely isolated from the explorers' continents, customs and religions. From the first recorded encounters with the native inhabitants of the Canary Islands in 1341 to Columbus's explorations in 1492 and Cabral's discovery of Brazil in 1500, western Europeans struggled to make sense of the existence of the peoples they met. Were they Adam's children, of a common lineage with the peoples of the Old World, or were they a separate creation, the monstrous races of medieval legend? Should they govern themselves? Did they have the right to be free? Emphasising contact between peoples rather than the discovery of lands, and using archaeological findings as well as eyewitness accounts, David Abulafia explores the social lives of the inhabitants, the motivations and tensions of the first transactions, and the swift transmutation of wonder to vicious exploitation. Lucid, readable and scrupulous, this is a work of humane engagement with a period in which tragically violent standards were set for European conquest across the world.

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Review:
"This meticulous and gripping study ... couldn't be more relevant to our contemporary situation."
-- Alban McCoy, Tablet, November 29, 2008

'Abulafia pulls no punches... there is no denying his brilliance at analysing European motivations and responses.'
-- The Independent, April 18, 2008

'This book is a wonderful work of scholarship." -- BBC History Magazine, July 2008
About the Author:
David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge. He is the author of numerous books including Spain and 1492 and Mediterranean Encounters, and was editor of The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 5, c.1198-1300.

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  • PublisherYale University Press
  • Publication date2008
  • ISBN 10 0300125828
  • ISBN 13 9780300125825
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages416
  • Rating
    3.9 avg rating
    ( 69 ratings by Goodreads )

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