The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ushered in a new era of discovery as explorers traversed the globe, returning home with vivid tales of distant lands and exotic peoples. Aided by the invention of the printing press in Europe, travelers were able to spread their accounts to wider audiences than ever before. In Travel Narratives from the Age of Discovery, historian Peter C. Mancall has compiled some of the most important travel accounts of this era. Written by authors from Spain, France, Italy, England, China, and North Africa describing locations that range from Brazil to Canada, China to Virginia, and Angola to Vietnam, these accounts provided crucial insight into unfamiliar cultures and environments, and also betrayed the prejudices of their own societies, revealing as much about the observers themselves as they did about faraway lands.
From Christopher Columbus to lesser-known figures such as the Huguenot missionary Jean de Léry, this anthology brings together first-hand accounts of places connected by the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Unlike other collections, Travel Narratives from the Age of Discovery offers a global view of travel at a crucial stage in world, and human, history, with accounts written by non-European authors, including two new translations. Included here are the Mughal Emperor Babur's first thoughts of India upon establishing his empire there, the Chinese chronicler Ma Huan's report detailing Chinese travel to the Middle East during the fifteenth century, and an account of Africa written by the man known as Leo Africanus. In addition to these travel narratives, this anthology features rare pictures from sixteenth-century printed books, including images of Brazil, Roanoke, Guiana, and India, which, together with the accounts themselves, provide a detailed understanding of the many ways in which fifteenth and sixteenth century travelers and readers imagined other worlds.