As the Quincentennial Celebration of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America approaches, interest in the voyage, and in the questions surrounding it, continues to grow. This definitive edition of Columbus’s account of the voyage presents the most accurate printed version of his journal available to date. Unfortunately both Columbus’s original manuscript, presented to Ferdinand and Isabella along with other evidence of his discoveries, and a single complete copy have been lost for centuries. The primary surviving record of the voyage–part quotation, part summary of the complete copy–is a transcription made by Bartolomé de las Casas in the 1530s.
This new edition of the Las Casas manuscript presents its entire contents–including notes, insertions, and canceled text–more accurately, completely, and graphically than any other Spanish text published so far. In addition, the new translation, which strives for readability and accuracy, appears on pages facing the Spanish, encouraging on-the- spot comparisons of the translation with the original. Study of the work is further facilitated by extensive notes, documenting differences between the editors’ transcription and translation and those of other transcribers and translators and summarizing current research and debates on unanswered current research and debates on unanswered questions concerning the voyage. In addition to being the only edition in which Spanish and English are presented side by side, this edition includes the only concordance ever prepared for the Diario.
Awaited by scholars, this new edition will help reduce the guesswork that has long plagued the study of Columbus’s voyage. It may shed light on a number of issues related to Columbus’s navigational methods and the identity of his landing places, issues whose resolution depend, at least in part, on an accurate transcription of the Diario. Containing day-by-day accounts of the voyage and the first sighting of land, of the first encounters with the native populations and the first appraisals of his islands explored, and of a suspenseful return voyage to Spain, the Diario provides a fascinating and useful account to historians, geographers, anthropologists, sailors, students, and anyone else interested in the discovery–or in a very good sea story.