Carnegie Mellon University

October Highlight - Faculty Choice

Columbus imageColumbus’ Letter on the New World

Christopher Columbus, 1451-1506.
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis… Basel, I[ohann] B[ergmann, de Olpe], 1494.

Christopher Columbus' letter describes his first voyage to the Americas. It was written on February 15, 1493, while returning home on the Niña. Arriving in Lisbon, he dispatched two copies to the Spanish court. The letter spread news about the new world throughout Europe. Printed versions, including this one, immdiately appeared in Rome, Antwerp, Paris and other cities. In his letter, Columbus claims to have discovered and taken possession of islands in the Indian Ocean in Asia. He described Hispaniola and Cuba, and the native people (whom he referred ro as "Indians").

The Posner Collection copy is bound with a play by Carlo Verardi honoring the Spanish monarchs, titled Historia Baetica (1494). A duplicate from the important Lilly Library of Indiana University, it was released for sale and acquired by Henry Posner Sr. (1888-1976) in 1962.

Selected by John Lehoczky, Thomas Lord University Professor of Statistics and Mathematical Sciences