The Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V

The Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V

Non-fiction , 2010

Penguin / Planeta

Second book of a trilogy about the Spanish Empire. Published in USA as The Golden Empire: Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of America.

'Thomas tells the story of missionary zeal and military plunder with a zest worthy of a swashbuckling historical novelist' The Times

'A riveting story of adventure and cruelty ... a considerable scholarly accomplishment'  Ben WilsonDaily Telegraph

'This monumental history is an extraordinary achievement ... A beguilingly-written account of a fascinating subject' Alexander SamsonThe Times Higher Education Supplement


When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America in the sixteenth century, they swept across the continent in a blaze of imperial expansion and brutal savagery. Beginning with the return of the remnants of Magellan's circumnavigation in 1522 and ending with Charles's death in 1558, Hugh Thomas's masterful work brilliantly brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods of the Renaissance, revealing how the Spaniards were able to conquer Guatemala, Yucatan, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru and Chile; how the audacious conquistador Francisco de Orellana sailed down the Amazon, why Cabeza de Vaca walked from Florida to Mexico and what drove Hernando de Soto to pursue worldly riches in Florida, Mississippi and Georgia.

While adventurers and explorers like Cortés and Pizarro build entire cities and amassed vast wealth from the treasures of the land, they also killed thousands, and left the indelible mark of Spain's language and religion for centuries to come.