From the intense and brooding Magellan and the glamorous and dashing Sir Francis Drake; to Thomas Cavendish, who set off to plunder Spain’s American gold and the Dutch circumnavigators, whose numbers included pirates as well as explorers and merchants, Robert Silverberg captures the adventures and seafaring exploits of a bygone era.
Over the course of a century, European circumnavigators in small ships charted the coast of the New World and explored the Pacific Ocean. Characterized by fierce nationalism, competitiveness, and bloodshed, The Longest Voyage: Circumnavigators in the Age of Discovery captures the drama, danger, and personalities in the colorful story of the first voyages around the world. These accounts begin with Magellan’s unprecedented 1519–22 circumnavigation, providing an immediate, exciting, and intimate glimpse into that historic venture. The story includes frequent threats of mutiny; the nearly unendurable extremes of heat, cold, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; the fear, tedium, and moments of despair; the discoveries of exotic new peoples and strange new lands; and, finally, Magellan’s own dramatic death during a fanatical attempt to convert native Philippine islanders to Christianity.
Capturing the total context of political climate and historical change that made the Age of Discovery one of excitement and drama, Silverberg brings a motley crew of early ocean explorers vividly to life.