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Conquering the Pacific

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Columbus brought the Atlantic World into existence in 1492. A similar “Columbian moment” occurred in the Pacific, even though we remain scandalously ignorant about it at a time when the world’s center of gravity moves ever more firmly to the Asia-Pacific region. The first complete transpacific voyage—from America to Asia and back—occurred only in 1564-1565. Known only to a few specialists, this dramatic expedition finally turned the largest ocean on Earth into a vital space of human contact and exchange. This book presentation will be about the secret mission, no expenses spared, that finally “opened” the Pacific, and of the Black mariner who made it all possible.

Andrés Reséndez is a professor of history and author who grew up in Mexico City and currently teaches at the University of California at Davis. His specialties are early European exploration and colonization of the Americas, the U.S-Mexico border region, and the early history of the Pacific Ocean. His previous book, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and winner of the 2017 Bancroft Prize from Columbia University. His latest book, Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery, was released in September 2021.

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