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Columbus’ Stolen Letter Found and Returned

By: Brady Cheng

A letter written by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century was found in Delaware a long time after it disappeared in Venice mysteriously.

Columbus wrote it in 1493 to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, describing what he found in America. It is very valuable. It was worth more than $1.3 million when they found it in 2020 in Delaware. They decided to give it back to Spain, where the letter belonged in peace.

That particular letter is so rare and so valuable because it’s a printing of the first edition. “ICE placed its value at more than $1.3 million when it announced its discovery in 2020.”(NPR) It’s very rare to most people because it’s from Christopher Columbus, who lived a long time ago. It was also reprinted into Latin, and there were only a few copies. This makes it extremely valuable that something so long ago would be found again.

But they had to give it back to France. They felt happy that France was getting one of their most valuable things back. “"This is the fourth original edition of this letter stolen over the past decades and we could not be happier to return it," Deputy Director Patrick Lechleitner said in a statement…Culturally significant artifacts are assigned a monetary value in the world's marketplaces in which they are traded," William Walker, acting agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia, said at the time. "But the cultural and symbolic worth of these objects far surpasses any given dollar value to the nations to whom they rightfully belong."(NPR). France would enjoy it more than America would because the letter originally was from France. “Columbus wrote it in 1493 to his patrons, Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, describing his findings in the Americas. The letter was sent to Rome and reprinted in Latin as a pamphlet that ended up in libraries across Europe.”(NPR). The purpose was basically just to tell his patrons what was in that strange world that he had stumbled upon.

In fact, did you know that Columbus wasn’t really looking for America? He was looking for faster routes around. Imagine how the world would be if he had never “discovered” America. People say that Leif Erikson was truly the first person to discover America, yet others say people found it way back 10,000 years ago. What do you think?

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