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The Race to the New World

Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost History of Discovery

Douglas Hunter

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

The final decade of the fifteenth century was a turning point in world history. The Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus sailed westward on the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, famously determined to discover for Spain a shorter and more direct route to the riches of the Indies. Meanwhile, a fellow Italian explorer for hire, John Cabot, set off on his own journey, under England's flag. Here, Douglas Hunter tells the fascinating tale of how, during this expedition, Columbus gained a rival. In the space of a few critical years, these two men engaged in a high-stakes race that threatened the precarious diplomatic balance of Europe-to exploit what they believed was a shortcut to staggering wealth. Instead, they found a New World that neither was looking for. Hunter provides a revelatory look at how the lives of Columbus and Cabot were interconnected, and how neither explorer can be understood properly without understanding both. Together, Cabot and Columbus provide a novel and important perspective on the first years of European experience of the New World.
The final decade of the fifteenth century was a turning point in world history. The Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus sailed westward on the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, famously determined to discover for Spain a shorter and more direct route to the riches of the Indies. Meanwhile, a fellow Italian explorer for hire, John Cabot, set off on his own journey, under England's flag. Here, Douglas Hunter tells the fascinating tale of how, during this expedition, Columbus gained a rival. In the space of a few critical years, these two men engaged in a high-stakes race that threatened the precarious diplomatic balance of Europe-to exploit what they believed was a shortcut to staggering wealth. Instead, they found a New World that neither was looking for. Hunter provides a revelatory look at how the lives of Columbus and Cabot were interconnected, and how neither explorer can be understood properly without understanding both. Together, Cabot and Columbus provide a novel and important perspective on the first years of European experience of the New World.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Douglas Hunter

  • Douglas Hunter won Canada’s National Business Book Award in 2003 for The Bubble and the Bear. His book God’s Mercies was named a finalist for both the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize and the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. His work has appeared in newspapers such as National Post, The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star. He has also written and filmed commentaries for CBC Radio. He currently writes an occasional column for the Midland Free Press and contributes essays to National Post and the Globe & Mail’s Globe Books online.

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    The Race to the New World

    Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost History of Discovery

    Douglas Hunter

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