Read Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire from Columbus to Magellan by Hugh Thomas Free Online
Book Title: Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire from Columbus to Magellan|
The author of the book: Hugh Thomas
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9780812970555
The size of the: 32.67 MB
Edition: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Date of issue: May 31st 2005
Read full description of the books Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire from Columbus to Magellan: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.
Read information about the authorLibrarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Hugh Swynnerton Thomas, Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, was a British historian and Hispanist.
Thomas was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset before taking a BA in 1953 at Queens' College, Cambridge. He also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. His 1961 book The Spanish Civil War won the Somerset Maugham Award for 1962. A significantly revised and enlarged third edition was published in 1977. Cuba, or the Pursuit of Freedom (1971) is a book of over 1,500 pages tracing the history of Cuba from Spanish colonial rule until the Cuban Revolution. Thomas spent 10 years researching the contents of his book.
Thomas was married to the former Vanessa Jebb, daughter of the first Acting United Nations Secretary-General Gladwyn Jebb.
From 1966 to 1975 Thomas was Professor of History at the University of Reading. He was Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in London from 1979 to 1991, as an ally of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He became a life peer as Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, of Notting Hill in Greater London in letters patent dated 16 June 1981. He has written pro-European political works, as well as histories. He is also the author of three novels.
Thomas's The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870 "begins with the first Portuguese slaving expeditions, before Columbus's voyage to the New World, and ends with the last gasp of the slave trade, long since made illegal elsewhere, in Cuba and Brazil, twenty-five years after the American Emancipation Proclamation," according to the summary on the book jacket.
Thomas should not be confused with two other historical writers: W. Hugh Thomas writes about Nazi Germany and Hugh M. Thomas is an American who writes on English history.
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