176pp incl index, 6 col photog plate; B7w photos in text; maps; line dwgs.

In the autumn of 1492 there took place what has justly been called the most momentous voyage in history. Christopher Columbus, a Genoese seaman, successfully sailed a fleet of three small ships across the Atlantic and inadvertently discovered the lands now known as America.

His return to Spain the following year was met by scenes of wild rejoicing. He had sailed in search of a westward route to the Indies and, he believed, had succeeded. The fabulous riches of the East had been claimed for Spain, and for himself there were titles, Admiral of the Ocean, Governor and Viceroy of the Indies, and a share of the promised wealth for himself and his heirs.

Yet only seven years later, after his third voyage of exploration, the Viceroy of the Indies was sent home in chains, stripped of power, What had happened to shatter the dream?

In this thoughtful reassessment of Columbus and his achievements, Alexander McKee looks behind the legend to examine the man whose boldness and ambition, sustained over seven long years of rejection at the courts of Europe, led him to attempt an enterprise of unparalleled bravery.

He finds a series of contradictions: a brilliant seaman who accurately assessed the possibilities of the prevailing winds of the Atlantic, yet who, in order to press his theory, based his calculations on a misconception of the Earth’s size; a visionary so blinkered by the goal he had set himself that to the end of his days he failed, or refused, to accept that he found not the outposts of the Indies but a new and unknown land. His attempt to govern a colony failed because his authority was founded on empty promises.

In analysing the failings that denied Columbus the glory he had sought, the author nevertheless writes with admiration of his seamanship, daring and persistence. Illustrated with colour photographs, contemporary woodcuts, engravings and maps, this is a fascinating account of one of the great moments in history.

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Authored by Alexander McKee and published by Souvenir Press of London in 1990. This First Edition copy is in Fine condition, covered in plastic and with a Fine dust jacket. The size of the book is 269x200x20mm. ISBN 0285629646.