Columbus’s Three Voyages, et al.

Five hundred and twenty years ago today Christopher Columbus made land fall in the New World. The American Treasures Exhibition in the Library of Congress contains five original documents relating to Columbus’ voyages and discoveries. The first is purported to be the earliest history of the first three voyages. The next object is a map of the island of Hispaniola where the first permanent European settlement in America was located. Next is the fascinating “Book of Privileges” that contains the documents Columbus gathered to show what titles and powers Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand had bestowed on him and his descendants. The Latin translation of Columbus’ letter, written in 1493 describing his discoveries, was the vehicle for disseminating the news of his findings throughout Europe. This 8-page letter is on display at the Library of Congress and this site includes an English translation of the letter. The last Columbus-related document in the exhibition is an account of Columbus’ life written by his son.

courtesy of Knovation