Essays on the History of North American Discovery and Exploration

Essays on the History of North American Discovery and Exploration

Essays on the History of North American Discovery and Exploration

Essays on the History of North American Discovery and Exploration


On four centuries in the discovery and exploration of North America. It focuses on a theme of interaction between the Old World and the New. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Discovery, that is, the documented (e.g., on a map) initial contact with the unknown, and exploration, the understanding of discovery, have together constituted a heroic dimension of the human saga from its very beginnings. the first recorded expedition was sponsored by Queen Hatshepsut, Bronze Age Egypt's only female pharaoh, to Punt (Somalia) for the purpose of trade in the middle of the fifteenth century B.C. Data on the latest expeditions, launched into space by the Soviet Union and the United States, appear in daily newspapers and news broadcasts. From Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, through the space shuttle Challenger, these new missions of discovery and exploration have continued to expand humanity's horizons and point the way to the future.

The story of discovery and exploration, especially of North America, contributes significantly to what Walter Prescott Webb called the "high adventure" of history. It is therefore quite appropriate that the theme selected for the twenty-first annual Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures, presented at the University of Texas at Arlington on March 12-13, 1986, was North American discovery and exploration.

In the first essay David B. Quinn, emeritus professor at the University of Liverpool and a past president of the prestigious Hakluyt Society, considers the initial European colonization of North America and carefully differentiates the Spanish, French, and English experiences. As Professor Quinn indicates in his conclusion, his topic is but an opening chapter in the history of the European penetration of North America. It is fitting that his essay begins this volume.

Robert H. Fuson, emeritus professor of geography at the University of South Florida, is the winner of the 1986 Webb-Smith essay competition. the award is offered each year for the best essay submitted on the theme of the Lectures and is funded by the same generous endowment from C. B. Smith of Austin that also helps support the Webb Lecture series. Professor Fuson's essay brings together what is known about John Cabot, and it usefully separates fact from myth. in so do-

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