American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Top Treasures - Exhibit Object Focus

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Book of Privileges

Columbus's Book of Privileges
Códice Diplomático Columbo-Americano

Seville: ca. 1502
Manuscript Division
Purchased from William Everett, 1901

On January 5, 1502, prior to his fourth and final voyage to America, Columbus gathered several judges and notaries in his home in Seville to authorize the authentic copies of his archival collection of original documents through which Isabel and Fernando had granted titles, revenues, powers, and privileges to him and his descendants. These thirty-six documents are popularly called Columbus's "Book of Privileges." Four copies of his "Book," existed in 1502, three written on vellum and one on paper. The Library's copy, one of the three on vellum, has a unique paper copy of the Papal Bull Dudum siquidem of September 26, 1493, which extended the Spanish claim for future explorations.

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