Christopher Columbus lived the vast majority of his life in a Mediterranean world in which the Ottoman and Mamluk Empires dominated the eastern part of the sea and were in constant economic, political, and confrontational interaction with the Christian states of Europe. This talk considers the importance of Islam in shaping Columbus's life and voyages. In doing so, it thinks critically about the role of Islam in the Spanish decision to send him across the ocean and in the early history of the Spanish Caribbean. It furthermore uses this Muslim history of Columbus to suggest ways of analyzing early modern periodization and the place of Islam in the making of the modern world.
Alan Mikhail is professor and chair of history at Yale University. He is a historian of the early modern Muslim world, the Ottoman Empire, and Egypt. His publications include Under Osman’s Tree: The Ottoman Empire, Egypt and Environmental History (University of Chicago Press, 2017); The Animal in Ottoman Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2014); Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt: An Environmental History (Cambridge University Press, 2011); and the edited volume Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa (Oxford University Press, 2013). He is currently completing a book on the Ottoman Empire and global history.
Jun 24, 2019 | 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Berlin Graduate School
Muslim Cultures and Societies