Since I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage, I write this to you, from which you will learn how in thirty-three days I passed from the Canary Islands to the Indies, with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, gave to me. There I found very many islands, filled with innumerable people, and I have taken possession of them all for their Highnesses, done by proclamation and with the royal standard unfurled, and no opposition was offered to me.
Background[ edit ] Route of Columbus's first voyage Christopher Columbusa Genoese captain in the service of the Crown of Castileset out on his first voyage in August with the objective of reaching the East Indies by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean.
As is well known, instead of reaching Asia, Columbus stumbled upon the Caribbean islands of the Americas. According to the journal of his voyage, on February 14, Columbus was caught in a storm off the Azores islands.
The resulting poor condition of his ship forced him to put in at Lisbon Portugal on March 4, Columbus finally arrived at Palos de la Frontera in Spain eleven days later, on March 15, Copies of Columbus's letter were somehow picked up by publishers, and printed editions of his letter began to appear throughout Europe within weeks of Columbus's return to Spain.
A Latin translation of the letter addressed to Gabriel Sanchez was printed in Rome about a month later. Within the first year of his arrival, eight more editions of the Latin version were printed in various European cities—two in Baselthree in Parisanother two in Rome and another in Antwerp.
Already by Junethe letter had been translated by a poet into Italian verse, and that version went through multiple editions in the next couple of years. A German translation appeared in The rapid dissemination of Columbus's letter was enabled by the printing pressa new invention that had established itself only recently.
Columbus's letter particularly the Latin edition forged the initial public perception of the newly discovered lands. Indeed, until the discovery of Columbus's on-board journal, first published in the 19th century, this letter was the only known direct testimony by Columbus of his experiences on the first voyage of Original versions of Columbus's letter, written by his hand, have never been found.
Only the printed editions—Spanish and Latin—are known. However, a third version of the letter, contained in a 16th-century manuscript collection known as the Libro Copiador, was discovered in This manuscript version differs in several significant ways from the printed editions and, although its authenticity is still tentative, many believe the Copiador version to be a closer rendition of Columbus's original missive.
Content of the letter[ edit ] Columbus takes possession of the islands of the Indies, "with flags flying and no one objecting" The published Latin versions of the letter are almost all titled "Letter of Columbus, on the islands of India beyond the Ganges recently discovered".
The term "India beyond the Ganges" India extra Gangem was the archaic term frequently used by earlier geographers e.
The earlier printed Spanish edition bears no title, nor does the manuscript copy of the letter to the Catholic monarchs Libro Copiador.
He describes the islands as being inhabited by "Indians" Indios. In the printed letters, Columbus relates how he bestowed new names on six of the islands. Four are in the modern Bahamas: In the letter, Columbus says that he believes Juana is actually part of the continental mainland terra firme of Cathay Catayo, archaic for Chinaeven though he also admits some of the Indians he encountered informed him that Juana was an island.
The six islands of the Indies, woodcut from the Basel edition of Columbus's letter In his letter, Columbus describes how he sailed along the northern coast of Juana Cuba for a spell, searching for cities and rulers, but found only small villages "without any sort of government" "no cosa de regimiento".
He notes that the natives usually fled when approached. Finding this track fruitless, he decided to double-back and head southeast, eventually sighting the large island of Hispaniola, and explored along its northern coast. Columbus exaggerates the size of these lands, claiming Juana is greater in size than Great Britain "maior que Inglaterra y Escocia juntas" and Hispaniola larger than the Iberian peninsula "en cierco tiene mas que la Espana toda".
In his letter, Columbus seems to attempt to present the islands of the Indies as suitable for future colonization. Columbus's descriptions of the natural habitat in his letters emphasize the rivers, woodlands, pastures, and fields "very suitable for planting and cultivating, for raising all sorts of livestock herds and erecting towns and farms" "gruesas para plantar y senbrar, para criar ganados de todas suertes, para hedificios de villas e lugares".
He also proclaims that Hispaniola "abounds in many spices, and great mines of gold, and other metals" "ay mucha especiarias y grandes minas de oros y otros metales". He compares lush and well-watered Hispaniola as more favorable to settlement than mountainous Cuba.
Columbus characterizes the native inhabitants of the Indies islands as primitive, innocent, without reason "like beasts", "como bestias"and unthreatening.
He describes how they go about largely naked, that they lack iron and weapons, and are by nature fearful and timid "son asi temerosos sin remedio"even "excessively cowardly" "en demasiado grado cobardes".
Columbus makes particular note that the natives lack organized religion, not even idolatry "no conocian ninguna seta nin idolatria". He claims the natives believed the Spaniards and their ships had "come down from heaven" "que yo Possibly worried that his characterization might make it appear that the natives are unsuitable for useful labor, Columbus notes that the Indians are "not slow or unskilled, but of excellent and acute understanding".
He also notes that the "women appear to work more than the men". Columbus lands in Hispaniola, some natives flee, others trade. Woodcut from Basel edition of Columbus's letter.
Notice the depiction of the oar-driven galley in the foreground — an early European interpretation of the Indian canoeas per Columbus's description. They go around usually naked, although sometimes they wear a small cotton loincloth.
They often carry a hollow canewhich they use to both till and fight. Columbus claims the Indians practice monogamy "each man is content with only one wife""except for the rulers and kings" who can have as many as twenty wives.Why Did Christopher Columbus Write letter to King and Queen of Spain?
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SIR: Since I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage, I write this to you, from which you will learn how in thirty-three days I passed from the Canary Islands to the Indies, with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns. Christopher Columbus Letter NOTE: Christopher Columbus explored the New World from to What follows is the text of one of his correspondences to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The Letter of Columbus to Luis De Sant Angel Announcing His Discovery () As I know you will be rejoiced at the glorious success that our Lord has given me in my voyage, I write this to tell you how in thirty-three days I sailed to the Indies with the fleet that the illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, gave me, where I discovered a .
Would you like to merge this question into it? . Letter to King Ferdinand of Spain, describing the results of the first voyage Christopher Columbus () So that, since Our Redeemer has given the victory to our most illustrious King and Queen, and to their renowned kingdoms, in so great a matter, for this all Christendom ought to feel delight and make great feasts and give solemn thanks.
After the King and Queen of Spain got rid of the Moors fromSpain, they were interested in a western route to India because itwas difficult going through the Middle East with t he Muslims. King. Christopher Columbus Letter NOTE: Christopher Columbus explored the New World from to What follows is the text of one of his correspondences to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.
Columbus' letter to the King and Queen of Spain, (Undated, probably ) Most High and Mighty Sovereigns, In obedience to your Highnesses' commands, and with submission to superior judgment, I will say whatever occurs to me in reference to the colonization and commerce of the Island of Espanola, and of the other islands, both .
|is for Students.||The Letter of Columbus to Luis De Sant Angel Announcing His Discovery As I know you will be rejoiced at the glorious success that our Lord has given me in my voyage, I write this to tell you how in thirty-three days I sailed to the Indies with the fleet that the illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, gave me, where I discovered a great many islands, inhabited by numberless people; and of all I have taken possession for their Highnesses by proclamation and display of the Royal Standard without opposition. To the first island I discovered I gave the name of San Salvador, in commemoration of His Divine Majesty, who has wonderfully granted all this.|
|Report Abuse||She and the King only tolerated Columbus because he was their best hope for beating Portugal to the riches of Asia in their eyes. The belief that Columbus was a favorite of the Queen is just another myth.|
The Saylor Foundation 1 Study Questions for Christopher Columbus’ “Letter to the King and Queen of Spain” Please write out your answers .