The Letter of Christopher Columbus Announcing the Discovery of the New World is the first document to announce the results of Columbus' first voyage that reached the Americas.
It was supposedly written aboard the caravel Niña by Columbus himself on February 15, 1493. Once he landed in Lisbon on March 4, he added a post-script and probably delivered two copies of his letter to the Spanish Court. In the letter, he doesn’t describe the journey itself but he states that he traveled thirty-three days and arrived at the islands of "the Indies." In addition to announcing his momentous discovery, Columbus's letter also provides observations of the native people's culture and lack of weapons.
The Spanish Royal Couple: the Only True Recipients of Columbus' Letter
The only explicit recipient of the Letter was Luis de Santángel, a sort of finance minister to King Ferdinand of Aragon II and the controller of the King's household expenditures. Speculations affirm that Queen Isabella was another recipient of the original letter since she also had helped him finance his journey. The letter was written in Spanish and sent to Rome, where it was printed in Latin by Stephan Plannck. Plannck mistakenly left Queen Isabella's name out of the pamphlet's introduction but quickly realized his error and reprinted the pamphlet a few days later.
A Best-Seller Right from the beginning
Columbus' letter completely overturned the public perception of the recently discovered lands. More than 3,000 copies of the letter were published, it was considered a best-seller of its time. Unfortunately, the original versions of the letter have never been found, the only document known to us are the printed editions.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "The Letter of Christopher Columbus Announcing the Discovery of the New World": La Carta de Colón anunciando el Descubrimiento del Nuevo Mundo facsimile edition, published by Círculo Científico, 2018Request Info / Price