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The pact between Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs prior to America’s discovery on show in Barcelona

An exhibition, with documents dating from between the 10th century and 1493, displays the oldest preserved copy of the ‘Capitulations of Santa Fe’. This agreement was signed by the Catholic Kings in April 1492 and accepted Christopher Columbus’ terms to undertake the trip after which Europeans would become aware of the Americas. The document granted Columbus the titles of Admiral, Viceroy and Governor-General of all the lands he would discover and set that he would keep a tenth of all future profits. The copy dates from 1493 and it is only rarely on display. It has been kept in the Archives of the Aragon Crown in Barcelona and now is on show along with 42 other documents showing the symbolic conception of travelling in the Middle Ages.

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12 June 2013 01:43 AM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- An exhibition in Barcelona, with documents dating from between the 10th century and 1493, shows the oldest preserved copy of the \u2018Capitulations of Santa Fe\u2019. This agreement was signed by the Catholic Monarchs \u2013 who ruled Castile and Aragon \u2013 in April 1492 and it accepts Christopher Columbus\u2019 terms to undertake the trip after which Europeans would become aware of America\u2019s existence. The document granted Columbus the titles of Admiral, Viceroy and Governor-General of all the lands he would discover and it also set that he would keep a tenth of all future profits. In fact, the document played a major role in the mid-16th century, when Columbus\u2019s descendants sued the Crown for not respecting the original agreement. Based on the document, a court granted the Columbus family an annual allowance \u2013 which was in place until 1898 \u2013 and several nobility titles \u2013 which are still hold by nowadays Columbus direct descendants. The \u2018Capitulations of Santa Fe\u2019, signed in the Santa Fe camp during the siege of Granada, was included in UNESCO\u2019s \u2018World Memory\u2019 in 2009, which groups together the most transcendental documents in the history of humankind. The original document was lost and the oldest copy was made a few months after the original in order to store it. The document is only rarely on display. It has been kept in the Archives of the Aragon Crown in Barcelona for more than five centuries. This archive was created in 1318 to keep the Catalan Kings\u2019 documents and those of their governments. Now, the \u2018Capitulations of Santa Fe\u2019 is on show along with 42 other documents displaying the symbolic conception of travelling in the Middle Ages.


The \u2018Capitulations of Santa Fe or of the Admiral Christopher Columbus\u2019 \u2013 as the original title reads \u2013 is the main attraction in the exhibition called \u2018Del més enllà al Nou Món\u2019, which can be visited at the Archives of the Aragon Crown in Barcelona. However, the other 42 documents are older, dating from between the 10th and 15th centuries. In fact, the exhibition is rooted in the deepest period of the world of the Middle Ages. It refers to the genesis of the first archives within the administrative organisation of the Royal Chancellery of the Aragon Crown and also to the complex historical processes by which a peripheral region such as Europe held most of the world\u2019s power. The documents are organised into three sections: \u2018From the Beyond\u2019, \u2018The Reality of the Trip\u2019 and \u201CTowards a New World\u2019. They reflect the spiritual and religious conception of the world, the early colonial domination and the administrative practices of the Aragon\u2019s Chancellery, which were quite advanced for their time.

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  • The Capitulations of Santa Fe on display (by M. Rocabert)

  • The Capitulations of Santa Fe on display (by M. Rocabert)