1492: An Ongoing Voyage

1492. Columbus. The date and the name provoke many questions related to the linking of very different parts of the world, the Western Hemisphere and the Mediterranean. What was life like in those areas before 1492? What spurred European expansion? How did European, African and American peoples react to each other? What were some of the immediate results of these contacts?

1492: An Ongoing Voyage addresses such questions by examining the rich mixture of societies coexisting in five areas of this hemisphere before European arrival. It then surveys the polyglot Mediterranean world at a dynamic turning point in its development.

The exhibition examines the first sustained contacts between American people and European explorers, conquerors and settlers from 1492 to 1600. During this period, in the wake of Columbus's voyages, Africans also arrived in the hemisphere, usually as slaves. All of these encounters, some brutal and traumatic, others more gradual, irreversibly changed the way in which peoples in the Americas led their lives.

The dramatic events following 1492 set the stage for numerous cultural interactions in the Americas which are still in progress - a complex and ongoing voyage.