Shedding the Veil is a highly original overview of Europe's exploration and discovery beyond her own confines. It tackles the subject via an analysis of maps dating from circa 1434 to 1865, with an emphasis on the period before 1600. The book begins with an appraisal of the peculiar circumstances which led late medieval Europe to pursue long-distance travel, both overland and by sea, introduces cosmographic traditions inherited from classical times, and investigates pre-Columbian excursions into the western ocean. Finally, the great voyages and mappaemundi of the early sixteenth century are described in depth. After 1600 the focus begins to narrow North America and particularly to the colonization of the American Northeast. All maps discussed in detail are illustrated. 40 full-page b/w plates, 25 full-page color plates.
Part 1 A world called Europe: precedents; the world as known to medieval Europe; classical enlightenment - the Renaissance beford Columbus. Part 2 A new world: the western antipodes?; the race to skirt America; truly a fourth part of the globe. Part 3 Early colonization: the British and French; the Dutch; pre- and post-revolution.