After years of searching, the United States returned a rare letter written by Christopher Columbus describing his discoveries in the New World, after it had been stolen from a museum in Spain
Known as the Catalonia Plannck II Columbus Letter, The letter is describing his discoveries in the New World and it was addressed to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The letter was one of 16 copies made at the time of the original missive on Columbus’s orders.
The thieves who stole the letter in 2005 from the National Library of Catalonia had switched the real letter with an expertly crafted fakes made by them. It was until 2012 that investigators have received a tip from an informant that several other copies had been stolen and replaced by fake copies.
Investigators found that the Barcelona copy had been sold in 2005 by Italian secondhand book dealers for €600,000 ($708,850), and then resold in 2011 for €900,000.
After “long negotiations,” the letter’s unidentified owner in Brazil handed it over in 2014 to US authorities, who used experts to establish its authenticity.
In the letter, Columbus tells the Spanish crown everything about his first trip to America, still believing he was in the East Indies. The text begins with his departure from Puerto de Palos in Spain in August 1492 and ends when he returns to Lisbon in March 1493, seven months later.
“We are truly honored to return this historically important document back to Spain, its rightful owner,” US Attorney David Weiss said at the ceremony to return the document to the Spanish envoy in 7 June 2018 .