Miedo en el navío inestable. Navegaciones atlánticas ibéricas siglos XV-XVII

Vera Moya Sordo


Fear of the inherent dangers of maritime travel, of unpredictable weather phenomena and of imagined beasts inhabiting the waters, defined the experiences of early transatlantic voyagers. For the very best of these, the Spanish, those fears were deepened by the knowledge of ancient philosophers and Christian beliefs that related the sea with hell, sin and death. In this sense, the fears were not only answers to certain external or internal stimulation, but they were also cause and consequence of cultural and ideological constructions toward the natural world. Through the discourse analysis of diaries, chronicles, letters and literary narratives of the epoch, different fears related to the possibility of the ship loss are analyzed: breakdowns, bad navigations, storms, shipwrecks, but also ominous signs from the other side that put to test the faith of the most devotees. However, despite the dangers, the sailing nations faced the fears motivated by the desire to overcome the adversities and survived the transatlantic travel helped by technology and knowledge, but also by hope.

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