The Race to the New World


From Palgrave Macmillan

The final decade of the fifteenth century was pivotal in world history. The Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus sailed westward into the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, determined to secure for Spain a more direct route to the riches of the Indies. But as Columbus struggled to capitalize on his momentous discovery of distant landfalls, a troubled Venetian bridge contractor in Spain, on the lam from creditors and remembered as John Cabot, audaciously reinvented himself as an explorer and mounted a rival quest for England. In The Race to the New World, Douglas Hunter tells for the first time the fascinating tale of how their high-stakes race to find a shortcut to staggering wealth threatened the precarious power balance of Europe—and how they found a New World that neither was looking for. Employing fresh research and new translations of critical documents, Hunter reveals the surprisingly intertwined nature of Columbus’s and Cabot’s lives and provides a fresh perspective on the critical first years of the European discovery of the New World.

Douglas Hunter has written extensively on historical matters, including marine and terrestrial archaeology, cartography, and exploration. He is also a cartographer, illustrator, and graphic designer. He is presently a doctoral candidate in history at Canada’s York University. In 2012 he was named one of Canada’s Vanier Scholars and the William E. Taylor Fellow as Canada’s outstanding doctoral candidate in the social sciences and humanities.
His most recent books are Half Moon, on the Henry Hudson voyage of 1609, and God’s Mercies, on the traumatic convergence in the careers of Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson. His work on historical subjects has also  appeared in Canadian Geographic and Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver) and at History News Network. He is a featured interview in National Geographic’s The Hudson: The River that Defined America, and in the CBC  documentary The Mystery of Champlain. He won the 2003 National Business Book Award for The Bubble and the Bear.
God’s Mercies was a finalist for both the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize and the Governor-General’s Literary Awards.


Published World ex-Canada by Palgrave Macmillan, 9/13/2011

ISBN: 978-0-230-11011-3, ISBN10: 0-230-11011-8

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“...opens new windows on

the history

of exploration.”

—Publishers Weekly

“[an] important contribution to the scholarship of exploration history” —Booklist

“Hunter turns what seems like a well-known story into something well worth exploring again.”


“[An] absolutely splendid exposition on the initial European probes that opened the New World.”

—Dr. Conrad Heidenreich

“[A] fascinating story of political desperation and artful salesmanship amid a European struggle for wealth and power.”

—Washington Post

Published in Canada March 2012 by Douglas & McIntyre

ISBN 978-1-55365-857-3

“...a welcome addition...

Highly recommended”


“This one is a keeper” —Canadian Geographic

“A fascinating read.”

—Ted Blades, CBC Radio, Newfoundland and Labrador