By Francesc Albardaner i Llorens
The Northern Mariner, Vol.10, No. 2 (2000)
Introduction: The Iberian peninsula is very rich in historical archives, and research in their holdings occasionally unearths new documents about important historical figures. While the most famous archives have been catalogued, and their most important documents studied by scholars, there are still a large number of repositories of lesser importance, housed in places like monasteries, churches, town halls, notarial associations and the like, that still contain uncatalogued records that have the potential to alter the way we think about significant historical events.
In the last twenty years, several important documents relating to John Cabot and Christopher Columbus have come to light. In the 1980s an antiquarian bookseller in Tarragona sold the Spanish Ministry of Culture a manuscript that included several copies of letters written by Columbus, some of which were known but others which were completely new. This manuscript has now been deposited at the Archivo de Indias in Seville. These documents on Columbus have been studied and published by Antonio Rumeu de Armas, a member of the Royal Academy of History.