Christopher Columbus Letter, first Latin edition


Christopher Columbus Letter, first Latin edition


The modern age begins with the 'discovery' of America, which enormously expanded the known world and encouraged exploration, colonization, navigation, the knowledge of a new flora and fauna, and of meteorology, quite apart from its political and economic consequences. The voyage was prepared with great scientific method, and during it the variation of the compass needle was first observed. Columbus's dispatch to his patrons, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, was first written in Spanish and printed in Barcelona in April 1493, but only one copy of that edition survives. Five other editions of his report, one in Spanish and four in Latin, were published in the same year. It is ironic that the continent was eventually named after Amerigo Vespucci, who travelled to South America in 1499 and 1501. Waldseemüller, in his Cosmographiae introductio (1501), named part of South America after him, and in 1538 the name America was applied to the whole continent by Mercator. In addition to this first Latin edition, the Lilly Library possesses several other early editions of the Columbus Letter.


Columbus, Christopher.


Rome : Stephan Plannck


after 29 Apr. 1493


Lilly, Josiah Kirby, 1893-1966, former owner.


[8] p. ; 21 cm. (4to)


Lilly Library E116.1 1493 vault