NORTH AMERICA FROM EARLIEST DISCOVERY TO FIRST SETTLEMENTS: The Norse Voyages to 1612 by David B. Quinn

NORTH AMERICA FROM EARLIEST DISCOVERY TO FIRST SETTLEMENTS: The Norse Voyages to 1612

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Age Range: 1481 - 1620
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The economic motives of early exploration and the application of European Renaissance technologies and ""outlooks"" to the New World are the themes of this New American Nation series entry by an emeritus Liverpool University historian, themes developed in his earlier works. Accordingly, the Norse voyages stressed in Samuel Eliot Morison's The European Discovery of America, vol. I (1971) receive scant attention, while the possibly pre-Columbian efforts of Bristol fishermen to exploit the Newfoundland cod banks, French attempts to establish a St. Lawrence colony, and the stake-out of Virginia by Hakluyt and Raleigh are central to the book. Quinn contrasts Spanish incursions in Florida and the Southwest, based on direct exploitation of Indians and precious metals, with the French and British perspective of European settlement; their aims, he adds, were equally secular and ""acquisitive,"" however. The self-expanding character of exploration emerges as the coastal discoveries by Cabot and Verrazzano produce colonial prospectuses and additional venture capital from the Old World. Quinn's detailed account includes a rewarding survey of mapping, navigational techniques, and shipping technology; he reflects that without European superiority of arms, these would not have sufficed. A comprehensive source, cool but not dauntingly dry, this covers basically the same ground as Quinn's Discovery of America, 1481-1620 (1974) without the excited focus on Hakluyt's leading role in the age of discovery.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row