Fish on Friday

Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World

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By Brian Fagan

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$28.99 CAD

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 13, 2007. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

What gave Christopher Columbus the confidence in 1492 to set out across the Atlantic Ocean? What persuaded the king and queen of Spain to commission the voyage? It would be convenient to believe that Columbus and his men were uniquely courageous. A more reasonable explanation, however, is that Columbus was heir to a body of knowledge about seas and ships acquired at great cost over many centuries. Fish on Friday tells a new story of the discovery of America. In Brian Fagan’s view, that discovery is the product of the long sweep of history: the spread of Christianity and the radical cultural changes it brought to Europe, the interaction of economic necessity with a changing climate, and generations of unknown fishermen who explored the North Atlantic in the centuries before Columbus. The Church’s tradition of not eating meats on holy days created a vast market for fish that could not be fully satisfied by fish farms, better boats, or new preservation techniques. Then, when climate change in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries diminished fish stocks off Norway and Iceland, fishermen were forced to range ever farther to the west-eventually discovering incredibly rich shoals within sight of the Nova Scotia coast. In Ireland in 1490, Columbus could well have heard about this unknown land. The rest is history. Request Desk/Exam Copy

On Sale
Feb 13, 2007
Page Count
368 pages
Publisher
Basic Books
ISBN-13
9780465022854

Brian Fagan

About the Author

Brian Fagan is one of the world’s leading archaeological writers and an internationally recognized authority on world prehistory. He is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of several widely read books on ancient climate change. He has lectured about the subject to audiences large and small throughout the world. His latest book is FishingHow the Sea Fed Civilization (Yale University Press, 2018).

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