Shedding the Veil is a highly original overview of Europe’s exploration and discovery beyond her own confines. It tackles the subject via an analysis of maps dating from circa 1434 to 1865, with an emphasis on the period before 1600. The book begins with an appraisal of the peculiar circumstances which led late medieval Europe to pursue long-distance travel, both overland and by sea, introduces cosmographic traditions inherited from classical times, and investigates pre-Columbian excursions into the western ocean. Finally, the great voyages and mappaemundi of the early sixteenth century are described in depth. After 1600 the focus begins to narrow North America and particularly to the colonization of the American Northeast. All maps discussed in detail are illustrated. 40 full-page b/w plates, 25 full-page color plates.

“Its intent is neither to glorify nor condemn the traumatic events of the past five centuries; its perspective is necessarily Eurocentric because it is seen through the eyes of her maps as interpreted by this particular Western observer”.

Thomas Suarez

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