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Christopher Columbus Book of Privileges: The Claiming of a New World

ITEM: RB1570
$99.00 Now $9.85 Save 90%
One of the rarest treasures of America’s history, revealed here for the first time
“This is a story of exploration, of bravery, of greed, of law, of the possibility of vast riches, of a high-stakes gambit played out in newly discovered worlds for historical immortality….” Read the rest of John Hessler’s prologue here

Read Steve’s interview with the authors
They are the documents that irrevocably changed the course of America’s history, yet most of us have never heard of them. Christopher Columbus’s Book of Privileges is the compilation of royal charters, papal letters and legal wranglings that became the business deal between Columbus, the Spanish royalty and the Pope on how a New World would be made theirs. So rare is this Book that when it moves within the Library of Congress, which owns it, it goes under armed guard. Here for the first time is the full-color, full-size facsimile of these elegantly lettered pages, with essays from three scholars on their meaning and legacy. It is here that you will find the first written reference to a New World, within a papal letter that we have reproduced as pocketed loose sheets, so you can hold close this extraordinary history.
Watch the History Channel video on this Book of Privileges:

  • First and only authorized facsimile of the Library of Congress copy of Columbus’s rare Book of Privileges
  • Facsimile pages in Spanish (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella) with papal letters in Latin (Pope Alexander VI)
  • Key passages are translated within essays by authors John W. Hessler and Chet Van Duzer, with additional narrative by author Daniel De Simone
  • The papal letter containing the first written reference to a New World is also reproduced in loose sheets that are pocketed in the front of the book
  • Archival paper with a Smythe-sewn binding plus ribbon bookmark
  • 184 pages with endnotes and archival images
  • Substantial 10 x 13 hardcover; 3 pounds
  • Not in bookstores---only from Levenger

Comments from an early reader

Nicolás Wey Gómez, the author of The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies, had this to say about the book:
“The essays that accompany this handsome facsimile carefully elucidate the changing geographical ideas and legal traditions that inform the Book of Privileges. The Book of Privileges is a perfect blueprint of Columbus’s understanding of his legal rights to the Indies at a time when he saw his good fortune wane with the crowns of Aragon and Castile. The papal bulls, royal concessions, and various other documents he compiled also crucially attest to the protocols by which a tiny Christian kingdom reinvented itself as a globalizing empire.”

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