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Public Lecture Series with Andrew Rowen

1492 Retold: A Bicultural Reexamination of Columbus’s Epic Voyage

Andrew Rowen is the author of Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold, which dramatizes the history of Columbus’s epic voyage and first encounters with Native Americans from a bicultural perspective, presenting Native American beliefs, thoughts, and actions side by side with those of Columbus and other Europeans, all closely based on primary sources and anthropological studies.

Rowen’s talk explores how and why the encounters in 1492 and 1493 enfolded as they did from both peoples’ perspectives. He will summarize geographical, social, and religious beliefs and practices of the Taíno chieftains and peoples who met Columbus side by side those of Columbus and Spain’s Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Building on this background, he will examine how these beliefs and practices played out in a few of the encounters’ key moments as Columbus’s voyage of “discovery” traveled about the Caribbean in 1492. None of the participants could discern the violence and battlegrounds of the ensuing centuries, and a key question for them was whether the other peoples would be friend or enemy.

The talk will then turn to examine the entirety of the encounters from the Native American perspective, including the Taíno “discovery” of Europe in 1493, when Columbus brings Taíno captives back to Spain, as well as the chieftains’ reactions to the abusive garrison of seamen Columbus then left behind in the Caribbean. A conceptual framework for a European subjugation of the Americas is then set, and the chieftains begin to perceive that possibility.

Rowen is a U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Law graduate who practiced law as a partner of a major New York City law firm for almost 30 years. He devoted six years to researching the underlying historical record and visiting nearly all the Caribbean, European, and Atlantic locations where the action takes place, including the archaeological sites where the Taíno chieftains lived in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Date: Monday, February 12

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

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