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The Life of Christopher Columbus

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Columbus is Called to Meet the King and Queen

The letter which Columbus sent from Lisbon to the king and queen was everywhere published. It excited the enthusiasm first of Spain and then of the world. This letter found in the earlier editions is now one of the most choice curiosities of libraries. Well it may be, for it is the first public announcement of the greatest event of modern history.

Ferdinand and Isabella directed him to wait upon them at once at court. It happened that they were then residing at Barcelona, on the eastern coast of Spain, so that the journey required to fulfill their wishes carried him quite across the kingdom. It was a journey of triumph. The people came together in throngs to meet this peaceful conqueror who brought with him such amazing illustrations of his discovery.

The letter bearing instructions for him to proceed to Barcelona was addressed "To Don Christopher Columbus, our Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor of the islands discovered in the Indies." So far was he now raised above the rank of a poor adventurer, who had for seven years attended the court in its movements, seeking an opportunity to explain his proposals.

As he approached Barcelona he was met by a large company of people, including many persons of rank. A little procession was formed of the party of the Admiral. Six Indians of the islands who had survived the voyage, led the way. They were painted according to their custom in various colors, and ornamented with the fatal gold of their countries, which had given to the discovery such interest in the eyes of those who looked on.

Columbus had brought ten Indians away with him, but one had died on the voyage and he had left three sick at Palos. Those whom he brought to Barcelona, were baptized in presence of the king and queen.

After the Indians, were brought many curious objects which had come from the islands, such as stuffed birds and beasts and living paroquets, which perhaps spoke in the language of their own country, and rare plants, so different from those of Spain. Ornaments of gold were displayed, which would give the people some idea of the wealth of the islands. Last of all came Columbus, elegantly mounted and surrounded by a brilliant cavalcade of young Spaniards. The crowd of wondering people pressed around them. Balconies and windows were crowded with women looking on. Even the roofs were crowded with spectators.

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Copyright Edward E. Hale, ROXBURY, MASS., June 1st, 1891
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CaribSeek, 2002 - All Rights Reserved - Web Published:  December 7, 2002