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The Last Crusade

The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama

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In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies, opening up access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history; the ships were pushed to their limits, their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, the greatest enemy was neither nature nor the fear of venturing into unknown worlds. With blood-red Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had intensified. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents.

The Last Crusade is an epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused - often comical collisions - between cultures encountering one another for the first time. With the world once again tipping back East, The Last Crusade offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.

From Publishers Weekly

27 June 2011 – In this fresh take on the history of the age of discovery, British historian Cliff (The Shakespeare Riots) not only recovers the story of Vasco da Gama's voyages (long overshadowed by Columbus's) for our times. He also uncovers da Gama's complex motives. In 1498, his fleet he set sail ; from Lisbon to open a sea route from Europe to Asia and "unlock the age-old secrets of the spice trade," but also to reconquer Jerusalem from the Muslims and bring the Second Coming. After almost a year on the seas, tossed about by heavy storms and ravaged by disease and lack of food and water, the fleet found its way to India, which da Gama helped to conquer for Portugal. Yet, as Cliff points out, da Gama's men had arrived in India not just to acquire wealth; they were the new crusaders. They began as soon as they landed to push out the Muslim merchants and establish Christianity as the dominant religion. Da Gama's voyages, says Cliff, were the dividing line between the eras of Muslim ascendancy—the Middle Ages—and of Christian ascendancy—the modern age. Though occasionally digressive, Cliff's historical sketch opens new vistas on much-explored territory. 8 pages of color illus.; printed endpaper map.
The Last Crusade
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  • 6,49 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: 01 April 2012
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Print Length: 300 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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