Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

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"History has two big stories to tell"--the story of how humans diverged over many millenia, and the story of how they later re-converged, "lac[ing] the world together with routes of contact." Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto chronicles human exploration throughout history beginning with the peopling of the earth through the earliest pathfinders and continuing up to the near-present age of globalization. Felipe Fernández-Armesto is an historian and the William P. Reynolds Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. Fernández-Armesto is a prolific, award-winning author with work published in 27 languages. Many of his books were written for popular audiences including, 1492: The Year the…show more content…
"Enmeshed in our own history," we fail to see how small we really are in the larger picture of time and space. Human's tendency is to centralize and aggrandize their own existence, in exploration, history and imagery. Nicholas of Susa claimed, "maps ... illustrate this peculiarly human power to fashion the world and, in a sense, to master it." It is not enough to exist in the world, humans must conquer it. Earliest human migrations were precipitated by climate changes, but cultural divergence continued well beyond and even intensified once people became settled communities which allowed specialization and civilizations to emerge. These earliest pathfinders, as with most explorers throughout history, were motivated by the desire for wealth. Generally speaking, "it was not a shortage of resources" that caused people to relocate from one place to another, rather they were "induced and seduced" by the wealth of resources elsewhere. As habitats diversified and people diverged, distinct cultures emerged. After the great period of migration and cultural divergence, humanity turned again toward convergence which is the subject of the remaining eight chapters of Pathfinders. Motivated by many pursuits: treasures, colonization, exchange of resources, conquest, and evangelization, explorers embarked and became

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