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Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Indeed, this is really two books. In the first 450 pages, in my reading, the author paints a tableau of the how the politics of a newly united Spain impacted first the explorers and then the conquistadors of the Americas. Fernando and Isabel not only united Aragon and Castille in a uniquely successful joint monarchy as sovereigns of their respective kingdoms as well as brought a highly independent aristocracy under tighter control, but they expelled the last Moslems as well as all non-converted Jews from southern Spain in 1492. These issues left them little time to pay attention to the explorers, though they (or Isabel) did seem to favor Columbus, who was granted unusually extensive rights. Their stories are successfully intermingled.
Isabel's motives for authorizing Columbus' explorations were complex: spread the faith, open a new trade route, and find gold.Read more ›
Recently, however, there has been an upsurge in books dedicated to that period of history. Spain’s Road to Empire is one such book – and now Hugh Thomas has added his own book on the subject. In doing so he provides background to ‘The Conquest of Mexico’, which he wrote several years before and is still the definite (if long-winded) word on the subject.
Thomas begins by examining the victory of the two monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, perhaps the ablest monarchs in an outstanding generation of European rulers, over the Muslims. This victory completed their quest to unify Spain under their banner. He then discusses the processes and politics that led to Spain (and Portugal) becoming involved in the New World and the development of what we, in later years, would call the ‘white mans burden’. Not unlike the British, the Spanish monarchy would consider the native Americans their responsibility, while adopting an attitude of complete unconcern over the fate of Jews, Muslims and Conversos, who were Jews who had embraced Christianity.
There is frustratingly little detail on the problems in Spain that resulted from Charles becoming Holy Roman Emperor. The Commeros revolt looks a little like the Nomonhan incident – we know its important, but how many sources are there on it?
There is ample ground for alternate history speculations.Read more ›
I gave up before Cortez ever arrived on the scene (if he ever did).
To discover, often conquer, then colonise and to administer so many countries in such a short period of time in the era of sail is simply amazing. More so when the era in question for Spain was punctuated with a certain amount of intrinsic turmoil with the inquisition in full flow, the ongoing battle against the Moors and internal unrest. In addition Spain was also coming to terms with a foreigner on the throne in the form of Flemish born Charles the first after the deaths of Isabel and Fernando.
Discover they did though and the book unfolds to tell us of the vision and determination of the great men who went forth and found a new world and thus created for Spain an Empire that was second to none for several hundred years. Columbus, Balboa, Ponce de Leon, Cortes and Magellan are just a few of those legends that have now enshrined themselves in history. These pioneers of the day eventually prompted thousands of their countrymen to make the leap to live in the new world, to find new riches and to serve god. They believed that the rivers in the new world flowed with gold and in the end Spain found riches in vast quantities and used it's conquistadores to bleed the new world of its wealth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
arrived on time and as described. could not ask for more.Published 4 months ago by Tonie M. van Dam
Superb account of the founding of the Spanish empire . A must for anyone interested in this era and the political and religious motivations of the Spanish conquistadors . Read morePublished 13 months ago by Tomas Murphy
Never has a book needed an editor and a thick red pencil more. The mind-numbing level of detail, the endless lists of names and the multi-compound sentences, make this book... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Celia Mason
The sudden rise of early modern Spain and its world changing discoveries and conquests is arguably the most gripping,inspiring and shocking story in all of history. Read morePublished on 11 May 2014 by Kindle Customer
"Rivers of gold" starts off well, with a lively history of the Columbus first voyage. Once the Spanish are established in Hispaniola, though, the narration slows down to a... Read morePublished on 13 Feb. 2013 by antonello musiani
Full of info that was unknown to me. Still deep in it Can only take serious non fiction in small doses but good book.will plough on to the endPublished on 7 Aug. 2011 by Persis Gretna
This amazing work by Hugh Thomas deserves a standing ovation. The immense detail given on the Golden Age of Spain, envigorates every page. Read morePublished on 8 July 2011 by Juanita
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