250 years after Columbus launched the most important expedition of conquest in history, Magellan, sailing with a Spanish fleet, followed in his wake. The Spanish adventurers convinced themselves an Earthly Paradise existed in the Caribbean and that the rivers flowed with gold. Hundreds set sail on this precarious journey across the Atlantic. The conquistadors took with them wheat, the horse, the guitar and the wheel, as well as guns, malaria and black slaves. In return the Indies gave Europe the potato, turkey and syphilis. But within thirty years, Spain had created an empire that that made her the most envied nation in the world.In this epic history the prize-winning author, Hugh Thomas, brings the early years of Spain's imperial achievement vividly to life.