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Christopher Columbus

In the United States, Columbus Day is observed on the second Monday of October to mark the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World in 1492. While Columbus’s legacy in the Americas is a source of dispute, his historic voyages are a popular topic for book collectors. Special Collections has a number of facsimiles of Columbus’ writings, including his manuscripts, letters, and his personal copies of early printed books, including:

Cristobal Colon, Libro de la primera navegacion. A facsimile of an original manuscript copy of Columbus’s manuscript diary of his first voyage, which was extracted by Fray Bartolome de las Casas. This manuscript is held by the National Library of Madrid.

Libro de las profecias. Facsimile of a manuscript commonplace book begun by Columbus in 1502. The manuscript, in the Biblioteca Capitular y Colombina de Sevilla, contains letters, Latin quotations, and extracts from the Bible.

Marco Polo, Libro de las maravillas del mundo. A facsimile of Christopher Columbus’ copy of a Latin translation of Marco Polo’s work, originally printed in the Netherlands between 1483 and 1485. The facsimile reproduces Columbus’s marginal annotations.

Libro copiador de Cristobal Colon. This 3-volume work reproduces many of Columbus’s letters to the Spanish Court.

Letter of Christopher Columbus describing his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere. A 19th-century facsimile of the Columbus letter first published by Stephan Plannck at Rome in 1493.

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