The ships and men of Spain's Atlantic fleets, crucial to the country's empire in the New World during the 16th century, are discussed in lively detail in this prodigiously researched book. Each chapter of Spain's Men of the Sea
focuses on a particular aspect of the fleets, from the sailors' backgrounds and motivations for going to sea to their life onboard the great galleons, the most complex machines of the day. The author writes well, often showing a sense of humor, and, besides providing careful documentation, deftly brings the Spanish sailors and their unique nautical society to life. Voyages on the galleons were always dangerous, with looming threats from disease, pirates, tropical storms, and even shipboard brawls--and the book concludes with a fascinating look at the superstitions and religious rituals practiced by those who sailed the Spanish Main. --Robert McNamara
From Library Journal
For 300 years Spain sent huge fleets of merchants and warships to her colonies in the New World. The vast Spanish Empire depended on these ships and the officers and sailors who manned them. Appropriately, P?rez-Malla!na (American history, Univ. of Seville) begins his study in the New World departure point of Seville and studies every aspect of the Indies trade: shipbuilding merchants, navigators, officials, and ordinary sailors of the 16th century. It was a four-month voyage from Spain to the Caribbean. For the officers, passengers, and crew, life was vile and brutal, with terrible food, insects, rats, lack of space, water shortages, and little chance to wash for months at a time. Discipline was enforced by the lash, while pirates, hurricanes, and uncharted reefs led to many maritime disasters. A thoroughly researched work, vividly told, this significant contribution to maritime history is essential for all sea collections and collections on early Latin American history.AStanley Itkin, Hillside P.L., New Hyde Park, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.