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ECWG Dinner: Andrew Rowen: What It Took to Launch and Execute Columbus’s First Voyage

May 19, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 9:45 pm

ECWG Members, Associates/Friends, Guests, and those on the Non-Members Guest List are cordially invited to the third ECWG dinner meeting of 2018 at the Cosmos Club, with after dinner presentation by Andrew Rowen: What It Took to Launch and Execute Columbus’s First Voyage.

About the Presentation

2017 marked the 525th anniversary of Columbus’s epic first voyage, and our speaker, author Andrew Rowen, will analyze how the voyage was successfully launched and executed from an expeditionary point-of-view, identifying the key building blocks that made it happen. Andrew’s book, Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold, dramatizes the history of 1492 from a bicultural perspective, presenting the beliefs, thoughts, and actions of historic Native Americans (Taínos of the Caribbean) who knew Columbus, compared with those of Columbus himself and Spain’s Queen Isabella.

In his talk, Andrew will review the European geographical conceptions of the world in 1492 and discuss the motivations of European rulers to sponsor such an expedition, who Columbus was, how he successfully tapped those motivations to achieve sponsorship, and the financial and other support Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand ultimately provided. The talk will then turn to the practical difficulties of launching and executing the expedition itself. How were the crews convinced to enlist—not a matter of politics or finance, but life or death. How did Columbus cope and improvise with the unexpected during the expedition—the Pinta’s desertion, the Santa Maria’s sinking and, most fundamentally, not finding the destination as he had anticipated.

Columbus seized Taíno captives to serve as guides and interpreters as he explored. When he returned to Spain, he left a garrison of seamen behind—roughly equivalent to the Santa Maria’s crew—with the Taíno chieftain who had rescued the expedition when the Santa Maria sank. Both the captives and the chieftain became important to the voyage’s execution—what did they think of Columbus, and how did his reliance on them grow? Andrew will end by reviewing how Columbus aggrandized the success of the voyage to immediately convince Isabella and Ferdinand to quickly sponsor the substantial fleet that departed as Columbus’s second voyage.

About our Speaker

Andrew Rowen is a U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Law School graduate who practiced law as a partner in a major New York City law firm for almost 30 years prior to retiring to write Encounters Unforeseen: 1492 Retold, which dramatizes the history leading to Columbus’ epic voyage from a bi-cultural perspective. He has devoted six years to researching the underlying historical record and visiting nearly all the Caribbean, European, and Atlantic locations where the action takes place, including the archaeological sites where the Taíno chieftains lived in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He has long been interested in the roots of religious intolerance.

Based closely on primary sources and anthropological studies, his book adds to the understanding of 1492, combining the Taíno viewpoint with the European so the reader can experience the voyage and encounters from both perspectives.


  • Roasted Octopus Salad: Yuzu Panna Cotta, Mache, Crispy Sun Chokes, Blood Orange, Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Smoked Hanger Steak: Creamy Carolina Grits, Ramps, Spring Onion, Mushroom Merlot Sauce
  • Malted Caramel Tower, Berries, Caramel Sauce.

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Please include the following information:

  • Number of seats Reserved
  • Guest names(s)
  • Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired
  • Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG

Mail with check to :

Arnella Trent
115 Willis Street
Cambridge MD 21613

Cost: $55 per person

No cancellations will be accepted after Tuesday evening, 15 May, 2018.


May 19, 2018
6:00 pm - 9:45 pm


Arnella Trent


The Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington DC, 20008 United States
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(202) 387-7783