Andrés Reséndez, "Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery" (Mariner Books, 2022)


The Pacific Ocean is twice the size of the Atlantic, and while humans have been traversing its current-driven maritime highways for thousands of years, its sheer scale proved an obstacle to early European imperial powers. Enter Lope Martin, a forgotten Afro-Portuguese ship pilot heretofore unheralded by historians. 

In Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery (Mariner Books, 2021), UC-Davis history professor and Bancroft Prize winner Andrés Reséndez tells the story of Martin and the broader history of trans-Pacific travel in the 16th century. Part environmental history, part imperial expeditionary tale, and part swashbuckling adventure, Reséndez recounts thousands of years of Pacific history, tracking the long story of connection between the western coast of the Americas and the eastern coast of Asia. In doing so, he reveals just how dynamic and metropolitan early imperial Spanish maritime culture was, and broadens our horizons beyond the usual stories of well known explorers such as Columbus and Magellan. By unearthing the long-ignored story of Martin, Conquering the Pacific reveals a rich history of excitement, danger, and of human resilience under remarkable circumstances.

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Stephen Hausmann

Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is the Acting Executive Director of the American Society for Environmental History.

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