Bookshelf / 1494


How a Family Feud in Medieval Spain Divided the world in Half


"This is a starry love story, a tale of seething jealousies and subterfuge, a political imbroglio, and religious cruelties. It sounds like Shakespeare and it could have very well been the plot of one of his plays. . . . In the 15th century, the world began to take shape in the ways we understand it today."

– Toronto Star

"For casual readers of history, the 1493 papal decree dividing the planet between Portugal and Spain is one more Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit from our strange and wonderful past. . . . 1494 is certainly a good read."

– National Post

"An entertaining and elegantly written voyage into the treacherous seas of religious fanatics, greedy slavers, depraved autocrats, doomed indigenous peoples and desperately brave adventurers in search of fortune."

– The Globe & Mail

"A well-delineated, exciting history of a particularly contentious period of international trade."

– Kirkus, Dec 6, 2011

"Bown's captivating study presents a fresh glimpse into the origins of the age of exploration and conquest as other nations challenged the primacy of Spain and Portugal."

– Publishers Weekly

"Both a judicious synthesis of the surrounding scholarship and an entertaining look at the evolution of international law on the high seas."

– Booklist

"In his familiar, accessible style, Bown drapes 1494's historical figures and events in a mantle of intrigue, crime, war and sex, while backing it all with thorough research and organized historical context."

– Fast Forward Weekly