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Spanish & American police recover stolen Columbus letter

Spanish & American police recover stolen Columbus letter
By Robert Hackwill
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Document one of 16 copies of a 1492 letter to the Spanish king & queen detailing his first impressions of the new world, and his voyage of discovery to the "Indies".


American and Spanish police, in a joint operation, have recovered a stolen letter written by Christopher Columbus.

One of 16 copies, it disappeared from the National Library of Catalonia, along with ancient books and other copies of the letter from museums in Florence and Rome.

"The story behind this ceremony began back in 2011 when the United States Homeland Security Investigation's Wilmington Office launched the investigation into the theft of the copies of the letter written in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, revealing that a number of them had been stolen from libraries in Europe and replaced by forgeries," said Spain's Ambassador to the USA, Pedro Morenes.

The letter is Columbus's description of the new world to his Spanish royal sponsors, and during the 10 years it was missing it appears to have entered the USA at least twice, and been through the hands of a private collector, who paid a million dollars for it.

No details were given about the operation to recover it, the identity of the thieves, or any of the rest of their haul.

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