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Inspired by the then recent unearthing of original documents and letters of Christopher Columbus, the American writer Washington Irving set about, in the 1820s, to create the first unlimited and complete account of the great explorer and his journeys. This is that account, sweeping in its scope, as intimate as a novel, as thrilling as a grand adventure story. In this, the first of two volumes, Irving introduces us to Columbus's hearings at the courts of Spain and Portugal seeking sponsorship of his journeys and follows Columbus on his first three voyages to the New World. As shipwrecks and mutinies, strange natives and displeased monarchs dog his endeavors, Columbus perseveres through all. With a dedication to historical accuracy combined with a flair for engaging storytelling, Irving bestows upon us one of the classic works of history of the Age of Exploration. WASHINGTON IRVING (1783-1859) was born in New York City to Scottish immigrant parents. Considered by some the "Father of American Literature," Irving is best known for his short stories, including "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," but he also produced an extensive bibliography of essays, poems, travel books, and biographies.