Across the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific: Vasco Núñez de Balboa's only handwritten letter, in which he tells King Ferdinand II of this discovery

Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand

October 16th, 1515

Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand

Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand

— October 16th, 1515

  1. Vasco Núñez de Balboa (ca. 1475–1519) was a prominent Spanish explorer and conquistador

  2. Balboa became a major figure of world history by crossing the Isthmus of Panama and reaching the Pacific Ocean

  3. His letter to King Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452–1516) is a unique firsthand account of this historic event

Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand

Alternative Titles:
  • Briefe von Vasco Nuñez de Balboa an König Ferdinand
Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand  – Archivo de Indias (Sevilla, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

Vasco Núñez de Balboa has gone down in history for crossing the Isthmus of Panama and becoming the first to reach the shores of the Pacific. This historic discovery would have wide-reaching implications, particularly with respect to international commerce. This historic event is recorded in a letter to King Ferdinand II from the hand of Balboa himself, which is an incredibly rare and precious historic artifact.

Letter by Vasco Núñez de Balboa to King Fernand

It is easy to forget that Spanish and Portuguese explorers did not initially set out to discover new lands but to find new routes to the ancient riches of Asia. Contemporary conquistadors had certainly not forgotten this aim, and thus set out on an exploratory expedition and military campaign to conquer Tierra Firme, now known as the Isthmus of Panama, which reached the Pacific Ocean in 1513. The expedition’s leader, Vasco Núñez de Balboa (ca. 1475–1519), became one of the most famous men of the age. Furthermore, Balboa is one of the most famous characters in world history. He represents, like no other, the idea of the "great man", of the exceptional characters who personally shaped history, and is thus remembered a half-millennium later. Although no one yet realized it, the nature of global trade would be forever changed by this shortcut, which would culminate in the construction of the Panama Canal, which was finished 401 years after Balboa and his men reached the Pacific. The Pacific has ceased to be an insurmountable barrier, and is now an open lane for trade and communication between peoples and civilizations on five continents. This historic event is attested to by the documents at hand, a portolan chart with the first depiction of the Pacific Ocean and a letter from Balboa to King Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452–1516) dated October 16th, 1515 – it is the only letter from the hand of Balboa himself to survive to the present day. The documents are the proud possession of the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel and the General Archive of the Indies in Seville, respectively.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Briefe von Vasco Nuñez de Balboa an König Ferdinand
Date
October 16th, 1515
Language

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand “

Vasco Núñez de Balboa: Descubridor del Océano Pacífico
Letter by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa to King Fernand  – Archivo de Indias (Sevilla, Spain)
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Vasco Núñez de Balboa: Descubridor del Océano Pacífico

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Circulo Cientifico – Madrid, 2013
Limited Edition
1513 copies
Commentary
1 volume by Mena García, Doña Carmen
Language: Spanish
More Information
The facsimile edition features, in addition to the facsimile of the Carta manuscrita de Vasco Núñez al rey Fernando "El Católico", 16 de octubre de 1515, Archivo General de Indias, Patronato, 26, R. 5, fols. 33r-35v, the facsimile of the Portulan of the Pacific Ocean kept at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Germany.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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