Concerning Discovered Islands: Letter of Christopher Columbus, to Whom Our Age is Greatly Indebted, Concerning Islands Recently Discovered in the Indian Ocean


This small work, published in 1493, is a Latin edition of a letter by Christopher Columbus announcing his discoveries of the previous year. It most likely was produced in Basel, Switzerland, by Jakob Wolff, a well-known printer who was active in Basel from 1488 to 1518. The work contains some of the first published images purporting to show the New World, including one depicting Columbus landing on a shore and making contact with indigenous people, and one showing the building of a town. At the top of both illustrations are engraved the words “Insula Hyspana” (Spanish island). Six different versions of Columbus’ letter, differing slightly from each other, were published in 1493-94, and helped to spread word of his voyage throughout Europe.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

De insulis inuentis: Epistola Cristoferi Colom (cui [a]etas nostra multu[m] debet: de insulis in mari Indico nup[er] inue[n]tis

Type of Item

Physical Description

20 pages: illustrations; 19 centimeters

Last updated: October 19, 2015