Christoper Columbus – Letter to the King and Queen of Spain c. 1494

Christoper Columbus – Letter to the King and Queen of Spain c. 1494

Notes/Recommendations concerning the Island of Espaniola

  • About 2000 settlers should want to go there because of farming & trading to nearby islands
    • Should found 3 or 4 towns in convenient places around the island
    • Nobody should be allowed to mine for gold except official colonists who’ve built houses & contribute to the colony & its safety
    • Each town should have a mayor & notary public
    • Church & parish priests for colonists & to convert Indians
  • Gold miners must be registered with the mayor & have permission to mine. They must declare all the gold they find
    • Gold is to be smelted & given a royal stamp. The royals will get their share & given to mayors
    • Any gold without a royal stamp will be confiscated & successful accusers will get a 50% finder’s fee
    • 1% of all gold will go to establish & maintain churches
    • Governor will decide what the share of the gold will go to the royals. Perhaps 50%?
    • If the mayor or notary finds fraud with respect to the gold, a colonist found guilty will be punished & have his gold confiscated
    • A treasurer should be appointed to help with the gold
    • Colonist should be held to only 1 gold-seeking/mining season in order to preserve the city & keep men from abandoning their responsibilities to the city
    • Ships & ports should be built & maintained to keep colonies alive & allow the empire to grow
    • Gold on transport ships should have the means to secure themselves & their gold stores
    • The City of Cadiz should be used as the return port & the gold must be presented to the king & queen as promptly as possible

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