Giles Milton

A Pair of Bristols

Venetian Navigators: The Voyages of the Zen Brothers to the Far North

By

Faber & Faber 244pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Some years ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the home of Professor David Beers Quinn, who had devoted a lifetime’s research to the early exploration and colonisation of America. Quinn’s specialist subject was those storm-tossed adventurers who – with salt in their hair and pluck aplenty – set sail across the Atlantic in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. I asked him if anyone might have reached North America before John Cabot’s 1497 landfall. Furthermore, could anyone have crossed the Atlantic before Columbus?

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