"At two o'clock in the morning the land was discovered.... As I saw that they were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps and strings of beads to wear upon the neck and many other trifles of small value, wherewith they were much delighted and became wonderfully attached to us." (Christopher Columbus' diary, October 11-12, 1492)
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? The Age of Exploration and the explorers who set out on their history-making expeditions left many legacies and profoundly influenced history around the world. The voyages of men like Columbus and the conquests of men like Cortes escalated tensions between the European nations, initiated imperialistic empires on a global scale, helped birth the United States, and ensured that the wars in the 20th century were truly world wars. In Charles River Editors' Legendary Explorers series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of the most important explorers of history in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
The most seminal event of the last millennium might also be its most controversial. As schoolchildren have been taught for over 500 years, "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue." In October of that year, the Italian Christopher Columbus immortalized himself by landing in the New World and beginning the process of European settlement in the Americas for Spain, bringing the Age of Exploration to a new hemisphere with him.