Christopher Columbus authored over a hundred documents, many of them letters on the discovery of the Americas to Isabella and Ferdinand. Focusing specifically on these writings, Margarita Zamora offers an original analysis of their textual problems and ideological implications. Her comprehensive study takes into account the newly discovered Libro Copiador , which includes previously unkwn letters from Columbus to the Crown. Zamora examines those aspects of the texts that have caused the most anxiety and disagreement among scholars - questions concerning Columbus' destination, the authenticity and authority of the texts attributed to him, Las Casas' editorial role and Columbus' view of the Indians. Exploring the ways in which the first images of America as seen through European eyes both represented and helped shape the discovery, this study maps the inception and growth of a discourse that was to dominate the colonization of the New World.
Margarita Zamora is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of Language, Authority, and Indigenous History in the Comentarios Reales de los Incas (1988).