Founding companies, endowments, and the inheritance of privileges: Christopher Columbus' privileges from the Spanish crown in return for his invaluable services

Book of Privileges

Spain — End of the 15th century

Book of Privileges

Book of Privileges

Spain — End of the 15th century

  1. A compendium of the agreements made between Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs

  2. It outlines the privileges and benefits granted to Columbus in exchange for his service

  3. It covers incorporations and endowments, primogeniture, and the heritability of the privileges inter alia

Book of Privileges

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de los Privilegios
  • Buch der Privilegien
Book of Privileges – ms. 295 – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
Imageof
Price Category: €€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The so-called Book of Privileges contains valuable documents concerning one of the most significant figures in world history: Christopher Columbus. This discoverer of America in the service of the Spanish crown earned special privileges and benefits, a great title and power for his accomplishments. Thus the 1498 Book of Principals contains inter alia the famous Capitulations of Santa Fe, the contract dating April 17, 1492 between Columbus and the Spanish royal couple, Ferdinand and Isabella, concerning the payables and receivables for the explorer’s planned expedition to India. This is considered to be “one of the most politically significant contracts that was entered into by a private person and a sovereign” and offers a direct glimpse into this exciting chapter of world history!

Book of Privileges

The so-called Book of Privileges contains valuable documents concerning one of the most significant figures in world history: Christopher Columbus. This discoverer of America in the service of the Spanish crown earned special privileges and benefits, a great title and power for his accomplishments. Thus the 1498 Book of Principals contains inter alia the famous Capitulations of Santa Fe, the contract dating April 17, 1492 between Columbus and the Spanish royal couple, Ferdinand and Isabella, concerning the payables and receivables for the explorer’s planned expedition to India. This is considered to be “one of the most politically significant contracts that was entered into by a private person and a sovereign” and offers a direct glimpse into this exciting chapter of world history!

A Kingly Capitulation

Christopher Columbus (ca. 1451-1506), made famous as the discoverer of America in the year 1492, had to solicit support for his voyage of discovery for a long time. Only after years of hesitation did he receive the consent of the Catholic Monarchs. Admittedly, the word capitulation is intended in a contractual sense, nevertheless it can still be interpreted literally – the Catholic Monarchs finally relented to the pompous demands of Christopher Columbus after years of hesitation – and thus quasi-capitulated.

The Admiral of the Ocean, Don Cristóbal Colón

Columbus, who was completely confident in his performance, contractually obtained an important title and wide-reaching privileges. Thus was he named Admiral of the Ocean and was allowed to call himself Don. Additionally, he would become viceroy and governor of the lands and regions that he discovered. What is more significant is the heritability of the privileges, which was likewise enshrined in the contract. These Capitulations of Santa Fe from the 17th of April, 1492, the historic contract between Christopher Columbus and the Spanish royal couple Ferdinand and Isabella with the confirmation of the demands of Columbus’ Indian expedition, is lost today. Nonetheless, a certified copy of this document was made in the year 1498, which is contained in the Book of Privileges and thus represents the sole and most important attestation thereto.

Original Documents and Unique Transcriptions

The book of privileges resides today in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville. The holdings of this archive with its precious and comprehensive documents concerning the Spanish Colonial Empire was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. The Libro de los privilegios del almirante don Cristóbal Colón, dated the 15th of March, 1498, contains historical copies of older documents and privileges in some parts, and originals in others. All of them deal with and confirm the privileges and benefits that were conferred on Christopher Columbus. Themes include the admiralty, incorporations and endowments, and the so-called primogeniture, the heritability of the privileges. Thus the Book of Privileges, consisting of 36 sheets of paper and 4 sheets of vellum, contains e.g. a royal document from the 23rd of April, 1497 in Burgos, confirmations of titles and other stipulations, contracted in Medina del Campo, Burgos, or Madrid, and the May 28, 1501 document granting primogeniture. Its outstanding historical significance lies in the compilation of this **wealth of documents concerning Christopher Columbus. Nevertheless, the Capitulations of Santa Fe are especially unique!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de los Privilegios
Buch der Privilegien
Size / Format
84 pages / 30.0 x 21.0 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
End of the 15th century
Language
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Privileges“

Libro de los Privilegios
Book of Privileges – ms. 295 – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
Imageof

Libro de los Privilegios

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1992
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Leather. It is presented in a case.
Commentary
1 volume by Ciriaco Pérez Bustamante
Language: Spanish
Price Category: €€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

Heidelberg Mirror of Saxony

Heidelberg Mirror of Saxony

From common law to feudal rights: the most important German legal texts of the Middle Ages

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher