Mankind: The Story of All of Us





































Dream to Sail West

In 1476 off the coast of Portugal, an Italian sailor is left to drown by French pirates. He swims six miles to shore. His name is Christopher Columbus. He’ll go on to discover the New World.

He reads a book printed on Gutenberg’s new presses: The Travels of Marco Polo. At the age of 17, Marco Polo left Venice to explore the lands of the East. He traveled the world for 24 years to Japan, India, China, and beyond.

The tales of Marco Polo fire up Columbus. He’s a classic example of someone inspired by literature to dream big. He wants to be the next Marco Polo.

There’s one person who can help shape Columbus’ dream—his brother, Bartholomew, a mapmaker.

Europeans who had just invented the technology that permitted their ships to go for long distances were now becoming dependent on these maps. Maps were vital pieces of information.

His brother puts a crazy idea in Columbus’ head. The quickest route to the East is to head West. Not overland like Marco Polo—that’s too slow—but by sea. Most people think the journey is impossible.

But the world is changing and opportunities await daring individuals who seize their dreams. For the indigenous people that Columbus and other European explorers encounter in the New World, these developments are devastating. Disease brought by Europeans decimates native populations.