Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Voyage of the Vizcaína

I use Library Thing to track my library and my books. I get an unusual thrill when I add a book to my library, only to discover that I am the only person with the book. That was the case when I added Voyage of the Vizcaína: The Mystery of Christopher Columbus's Last Ship. An english translation, the book was originally written in German by Klaus Brinkbäumer and Clemens Höges.

The Age of Discovery, when Spanish ships sailed in hopes of discovery to the New World, took place over a very short time interval, no more than about 30 years. Columbus and subsequent seafarers used a type of ship called a caravel, which was extremely fast and manoueverable. However, we do not know what a caravel looked like, as no drawings have survived, or no remains have ever been conclusively found.

In the mid-1990s, ship remains were found near Belaporto in Panama. It was possibly the oldest shipwreck found in the Americas, and is possibly the remains of the Vizcaína, one of the caravels that Columbus took with him on his last voyage to the Americas.

The authors combine a story of modern maritime archaeology with an in-depth recounting of the story of Columbus. The whole myth of Coulmbus is investigated right from his early years in Genoa through to his four voyages of discovery to the New World. What we end up with is an informative and exciting story of exploration and human nature.

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