Regent Explorer Lisbon to Capetown
November 28 @ 8:00 am - December 22 @ 5:00 pm
Andy will be speaking on the Seven Seas Explorer voyage “Tranquil Savannas and Sunsets” as she travels along the west African coast from Lisbon to Capetown.
Join him for these illustrated talks while sailing the West African coast.
The Catholic Kings of Europe: Portugal, Spain and the Contest for Empire. For more than century after the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 the kings (and queens) of Spain and Portugal, proud royalty of the world’s soon-to-be first global empires, literally split the unknown world between them. Their successful quest for wealth and power overseas is a fascinating, colorful (and for those who were native to these distant places, tragic) story.
Ships, Sailors and the Sea, Maritime Technology and Ocean Commerce. Political rivalries and the quest for gold, markets, and resources drove the great age of exploration, but it was new ship designs and construction techniques, growing navigational expertise, innovative financing structures, improvements in shipboard sanitation and crew health, and the invention of marine insurance exchanges that made possible the achievements of this epic era.
Mapping Africa: European Cartography 1375-Present. Antique Maps of Africa are beautiful in their own right (many were originally printed as decorative art for sale to a newly prosperous class of merchants and traders), but they also reveal the slow growth of knowledge of the geography of this mysterious and near-impenetrable continent—and sometimes myth and the persistence of error—and illustrate the pace of European penetration and colonization.
Skimming the History of the East Indies Companies. Rivals for nearly two centuries, the English and Dutch East India Companies were the first modern, near-global conglomerates; pioneering, fabulously successful joint stock companies that together dominated trade, industry, agriculture, and politics across half the globe. For many decades the companies exercised sovereign rights over vast colonial possessions (deploying powerful armies and navies to enforce their writ), leaving fingerprints visible even beyond the era of decolonization in the 20th century.
Slavery. Seven Seas Explorer‘s track takes us directly across Atlantic shipping lanes along which millions of Africans, forcibly removed from their home continent, were until two centuries ago exported to labor as property in the mines and plantations of the New World. Their forced labor produced the flood of wealth that changed the economies of the old world, prompted industrialization, and foresaw today’s global economy. Determined efforts to outlaw and ultimately to eliminate this criminal business finally succeeded in the early 19th century, thanks in part to policing by the Royal and United States Navies.
Through the Dark Continent, Henry Morton Stanley and the Exploration of Africa. Stanley’s successful search in 1871 for the Scottish medical missionary, David Livingstone, was a newspaper circulation-building caper funded by the N.Y. Herald’s publisher. Its brilliant success, Stanley’s subsequent bold trek east to west across Central Africa in 1874-77, and his later services to Leopold II made him famous, and thrust Africa indelibly into the consciousness of the western world.
The Young Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle at Sea to West Africa. Conan Doyle’s second cruise as a ship’s doctor in 1881-82, on board the African Steam Navigation Company’s unlucky steamer Mayumba (Liverpool round trip via eleven ports in West Africa, along an outbound track similar to ours), nearly killed him. ACD survived fever to go on five years later to create literature’s most famous sleuth (Sherlock Holmes), adopt spiritualism, serve in the Boer War, and—despite two happy marriages—to agitate for divorce law reform, this while writing an enormous number of books and articles.
Congo, the Miserable Expeditions and Dreadful Death of Lt. Emory Taunt, USN. Former Navy Lieutenant Taunt’s third time in the Congo, as the first resident American diplomat in equatorial Africa, ended in January 1891 with his death along the great river, the familiar fate then of many Europeans in King Leopold’s private estate. His life and times at the end of that century open a window today on the tragic history of this deeply troubled nation.
From Kisangani to Banana Point, by Small Boat through ‘the Heart of Darkness’ in 2011. A narrated show of photographs taken during my 1,400 mile book research expedition with my son down the Congo River from its headwaters at Stanley Falls, overland from Kinshasa to Matadi past the river’s rapids through the Crystal Mountains, and then by water again to the Congo’s mouth on the Atlantic.
Joseph Conrad and “the Heart of Darkness.” Born in Poland in 1857, this British merchant mariner is famous today for his many novels, chief among them “Heart of Darkness” (1899), drawn from six frustrating and feverish months in Congo waiting unsuccessfully to take command of a riverboat. Conrad’s book about the jungle, the river, and evil incarnate is the lens through which many see Congo today.
The Boer Wars, 1880-81 and 1899-02. Separated by almost a generation, these bloody colonial wars fought to a split decision on the strategic tip of South Africa pit Great Britain’s imperial ambitions against those of Dutch-speaking settlers farming African tribal lands. The wars shaped the politics of South Africa through much of the 20th century (coincidently making the young Winston Churchill a hero in 1899 and launching his political career), beginning with the Union of South Africa in 1920 and stretching to the end of apartheid in 1994.