In the century following Columbus’s voyages, most migrants to the New World were African, not European
A few years back the journalist-historian Charles C. Mann wrote an important and popular book, “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.” Drawing on the work of scientists and scholars (including my own), he sketched a panorama of pre-Columbian America, showing how native peoples in North America, South America and the Caribbean interacted with the natural world.
Now Mr. Mann is offering a muscular, densely documented follow-up, "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created," which should, ideally, be read in sequence with the 1491 book. (Why did he skip over 1492 in his titles? Perhaps because Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a couple of years ago, published a respectable book with that year as its title.) Mr. Mann’s 1493 offering, like its predecessor, runs to more than 400 pages, but it moves at a gallop, describing the profusion of economic, agricultural and biological cross-pollination that occurred after Columbus stumbled on America.