Rivers Of Gold: The Rise Of The Spanish Empire, From Columbus To Magellan
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2005 - 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Book One SPAIN AT THE CROSSROADS
This city is a wife whose husband is the hill
The only happy country
Great tranquility and order
Book Two COLUMBUS
Only by monarchs
For Gods sake tell me what song you are singing
A white stretch of land
Without partiality love or hatred
Book Five BALBOA AND PEDRARIAS
They took possession of all that sea
A man very advanced in excess
Book Six CISNEROS
King Fernando He is dead
Go back and see what is happening
Book Seven CHARLES KING AND EMPEROR
Tears in the royal eyes
They love their neighbors as themselves
We concede the islands and lands discovered by you
As if in their own country
Mainland no island
Whether we can sell those slaves or not
Malevolent jokes of the goddess Fortune
Book Three BOBADILLA AND OVANDO
To course oer better waters
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
A voice crying in the wilderness
Infidels may justly defend themselves
The best place in the world for blacks
It is clear as day
I was moved to act by a natural compassion
For empire comes from God alone
The new golden land
Book Eight NEW SPAIN
I am to pass away like a faded flower
This land is the richest in the world
O our lord thou has suffered
Go with good fortune
The new emperor
From the poplars I come mama
THE COSTS OF BECOMING EMPEROR 1519
طبعات أخرى - عرض جميع المقتطفات
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