Friday Book Review: “1493” by Charles C. Mann

Reviewed by Marek Kohn, Financial Times

“In hindsight, 1492 might have been a good point at which to reset the calendar. Traditionally, the year in which Columbus discovered America is seen as the moment Europe began to shape a New World. Today it looks more like the start of a process that has stitched the drifting continents back together: 1492 was the Year Zero of globalisation, and 1493 was Year One.”

Read More: “1493” – book review at

Columbus Day

“Columbus was searching for hardware — precious metals, silk, and spices — the sources of wealth in his day. I was searching for software, brainpower, complex algorithms, knowledge workers, call centers, transmission protocols, breakthroughs in optical engineering — the sources of wealth in our day.”
Thomas Friedman,
The World Is Flat

Choosing the right topic to start a blog is difficult. As a previous owner and contributor of blogs (Homo Homini Lupus RIP, Libro Libertate and Capitalismo) I’ve found that my interests were always linked to one idea: Wealth.  Indeed, Wealth has played a role in every single decision I’ve made. From choosing which book to read, starting a business or planning for my career development I’ve always been interested in a difficult topic: Wealth creation.

As such, I have decided to start my last blog in the celebration of Columbus Day.  A day like today on October 12th, 1492 the three ships leaded by the Italian sailor Christopher Columbus “discovered” America.  It is important to note that America was not discovered by Columbus, the Continent was already inhabited by millions of humans that had developed some of the richest and most educated civilizations on Earth.  However, the impact of his discovery amounted less than 50 years later to one of the major transfers of technology, institutions, crops, diseases and commerce than the world had ever seen.

The effects of Columbus discovery are still now evident and engineered one of the largest path-dependencies on history.  American soil (it started to be recognized as America until 15 years later) and its biological life was to transform forever.  Millions of humans were conquered and ruled by the Spanish, English, Dutch and French Crowns and millions of them died because of diseases transferred from Europe, Africa and Asia. Hundreds of different plants and animals were introduced and exported to and from the continent modifying forever the ecosystems of a large part of the planet.

Today, Columbus Day should represent for us that singular moment of globalization in which an infinite amount of transfers occurred.  These transfers reshaped the globe into a realm of interconnectedness never seen before.  Finally, in 1492 the six continents of the world were connected for the first time.  Today, we have benefited and suffered many changes that resulted from that historical moment.

It shall be the aim of this blog to study, discuss and identify those events that modified the course of history and emphasize which were those principles, decisions and achievements that enabled for more men to pursue happiness.  Lets us learn from the past!