The Voyage of the Vizcana: The Mystery of Christopher Columbus's Last Ship

Klaus Brinkbaumer, Author, Clemens Hoges, Author, Annette Streck, Translator , trans. from the German by Annette Streck. Harcourt $26 (328p) ISBN 978-0-15-101186-5

After his discovery of the New World, Columbus embarked on at least two more journeys to the Americas, the last of which remains shrouded in mystery. In the mid-1990s, divers discovered the wreck of a large ship just off the coast of Panama, fueling rumors that this might be the remains of one of the ships from Columbus's final voyage. Brinkbäumer and Höges, journalists at Der Spiegel and amateur divers, traveled to Nombre de Dios, about 15 miles from Portobelo, where the ship went down, to report on this groundbreaking discovery and the politics surrounding it. Part archeological account, part biography, part adventure story and part cultural history, this lively and judicious account of the political intrigues and the excitement surrounding the discovery of the ship's remains offers fascinating reading. Brinkbäumer and Höges vividly recreate Columbus's unsuccessful final voyages. Taking four ships, Columbus returned to the New World in search of more riches. Although he reached the Americas, his ships—victims of shipworms eating through the wood of the hulls—began to sink one by one. Columbus reported abandoning the Vizcaína near Portobelo. This is a cracking good tale of exploration, discovery and the politics that surround any archeological discovery. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-0-15-603158-5
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