Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery

Andrés Reséndez. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-328-51597-1
U.C. Davis history professor Reséndez (The Other Slavery) delivers a riveting account of the 1564–1565 Spanish expedition that was the first to cross the Pacific Ocean from the Americas to Asia and return, launching an era of global trade with the Far East. Spain funded the costly expedition out of a port in Navidad, Mexico, building four ships in secrecy from its competitor Portugal, and recruiting a skilled, multinational crew. Included were famed explorer and Augustine friar Andrés de Urdaneta and Afro-Portuguese pilot Lope Martín, who had achieved the highest rank available to a “free mulatto.” Once underway, the expedition’s lookout ship, piloted by Martín, became separated from the others during a storm. Reséndez evocatively traces Urdaneta and Martín’s subsequent adventures, including encounters with Pacific Islanders, a mutiny, and a near shipwreck. Though Martín’s smaller vessel was the first to complete the west-east return, Urdaneta, sailing on a much larger ship, received all the glory. Meanwhile, Martín and his captain were investigated in Mexico for leaving the expedition behind. While the captain was allowed to return to Spain, Martín was sentenced to be hanged for treason, yet he managed to escape. Enlivened by lucid explanations of navigational techniques, larger-than-life characters, and colorful anecdotes from the age of exploration, this is a rip-roaring maritime adventure. Agent: Susan Rabiner. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/29/2021
Release date: 09/14/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-358-67634-8
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-328-51736-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-358-63833-9
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