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The Rugendas Letters:
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The  Most  Monumental  Attempt & an  Excellent  Resource

Columbus  was , is & remains  Genoese !

— Raymond  Lestonnat’s  Copy —

Columbus – (Monleone, Giovanni, + Guiseppe Pessagno [ed.]). Cristóbal Colón. Documentos y pruebas de su origen genovés. / Christophe Colomb. Documents prouvant son origine génoise.

Monleone + Pessagno, Cristóbal Colón / Christophe Colomb

Spanish-French edition. With foreword by Eugenio Broccardi (see below) and an introduction by the editors. From the Italian by Juan Ramón Masoliver, Guiseppe Cappelli and Luigi Zilliani (Spanish) and Annie Lami Gillot, Eugen Haas and Juan Ramón Masoliver (French) resp. Genoa 1932. Fol. (15½ × 12⅜ × 2 in [39.5 × 31.5 × 5 cm]). XXIII, 288 pp., 2 ll. contents and imprint as well as 16 ll. text continuation not paginated with. Orig. cloth with brown-stamped title at back and upper board, the latter additionally with the Genoese coat of arms, as well as bipartite color reproduction of the Juan de La Cosa map of 1500 on the fly-leaves. With 219 illustrations ,

Monleone + Pessagno, Cristóbal Colón / Christophe Colomb

173  ( 55  double-side )  mostly  color  facsimile  plates ,

9  leaves  with  facsimiles  of  letters & details  of  writing

+

3  color  plates  ( portrait  and  views  of  Genoa & Savona ,

both the latter with cover sheets with legend) as well as 9 interleaves (“Documentation”) bound in within the facsimile plates.

First edition. – Present Spanish-French edition was issued at the same time as the Italian and an English-German edition. – The year of the cover stamp additionally with “(A. X.)”, that is 10th year of the fascist era. – The text printed in two columns with Spanish on the left hand and French on the right hand column.

Mounted on one of the white fly-leaves the typographic

presentation  letter

Dedikation von Eugenio Broccardi an Raymond Lestonnat

with  autograph  signature  of  Sen.  Eugenio  Broccardi ,

author of present foreword as well as mayor of Genoa and president of the special committee formed for the compilation of this publication, of October 25, 1932, with the coat of arms of Genoa above the designation “Il Podesta’ di Genova” in red steel engraving for

Raymond  Lestonnat

Boulevard  Montmartre , 19 / Paris

Lestonnat, former officer on post steamers and member of the Conseil supérieur de la navigation maritime, published L’ABC de la guerre navale in 1916 and dealt with maritime themes also in his later career as writer and journalist.

Subdivided  in

Evidence of Writers of the Time of Christopher Columbus – Diplomatic Correspondence – Archival Documents and other Attestations – Autographs of Christopher Columbus; His Deeds and those of His Relatives and Descendants. – Each of the reproduced documents with transcription and translation into Spanish & French.

Christopher Columbus

As of old many wanted to participate at Columbus’ fame, the one directly and not least at his apanage and titles though partly merely existing on paper only, the other at least secure the privilege of the place of birth. So beside Genoa several other Italian towns raise or raised claims for Columbus. But also Catalonia and Portugal are not to stand back.

Likewise disputed the origin from the family of a wool weaver. So in Historie del S. D. Fernando Colombo; nelle quali s’ha particolare, & vera relatione della vita, & de fatti dell’Ammiraglio D. Cristoforo Colombo, suo padre, ascribed to the son Fernando and printed in Venice in 1571 at the expense of a Genoese patrician, the original of which is not preserved though, Columbus is described as descendant of Italian aristocracy:

“ The second stage of the ‘controversy’ … began some years after the publication of these ‘Historie’ and had a very great influence in the XIX century … The controversy arose out of a conflict of interests. The Admiral’s direct lineage being extinct several families of the name of Columbus living in Northern Italy competed with each other in claiming succession to the dignity and chiefly to the appanage of the Admiral of the Indies. At first they evidently profited by the lack of precision and by certain indications found in the ‘Historie’; then the different claimants – some of Cuccaro in Monferrato and some of Cogoleto in Western Liguria – finished by agreeing and, by interpolating genealogical trees and producing evidence, they put forward a claimant in the person of a certain Bernardo Colombo. After considering the case for a number of years, the Spanish Courts gave their judgement; the claims of the presumed Italian ‘relatives’ were dismissed and their evidence declared false. The right of succession of Columbus was transmitted to his descendants in the female line, as provided for in the Admiral’s wills. It was at this time that the falsification and confusing of documents was largely resorted to for a very attractive and clearly defined purpose, that of acquiring an immense fortune. And it is obvious that the claimants had every interest to leave the original Genoese documents alone – some of which, as has been stated, were even then known – since they proved, as they prove today, Columbus’s Genoese origin, his belonging to a family of artisans and other facts which were incompatible with the ‘thesis’ of the branch of Cuccaro-Cogoleto which presupposed noble ancestry and an origin in Cogoleto …

“ Among the documents of the long lawsuit there remained various writings, the conclusions of which had not served the lawyers in their early design but which, two centuries later, provided ample material for polemics …

“ It is a certain but curious fact that even today … we find that though the Discoverer is acknowledged to be of Genoese origin, this acknowledgement is ‘conditional’. It is forgotten that every reservation destroys, or at any rate places in indefinable uncertainty, a document which, as such, must either be accepted in its entirety or completely rejected.

“ (T)he evidence we have concerning Columbus is infinitely more complete and certain than that found by scholars concerning Dante, Bacon and Shakespeare, to mention only these three great men … ”

(from the introduction of the English-German edition).

« Una segunda fase … de las “discusiones” surgió pocos años después de la publicación de las mismas “Historie” fernandinas. Esta fase … tuvo una influencia muy notable durante el siglo XIX. El motivo de la controversia se debe a un conflicto de intereses. Habiéndose extinguido la descendencia directo del Almirante, algunas familias Colombo del norte de Italia, en mutua competición, alegaron pretensiones a la sucesión del cargo, sobre todo al infantado del Almirantazgo de las Indias. En un primer tiempo aprovecharon evidentemente de la imprecisión y de ciertas alusiones a las “Historie”. Después los varios pretendientes – de Cuccaro, en el Monferrato, y de Cogoleto, en la Liguria occidental – acabaron por ponerse de acuerdo, interpolando árboles genealógicos y amañando también testificaciones ; y presentaron al pretendiente típico en la persona de un cierto Bernardo Colombo. Después de algunos años de litigo los tribunales españoles habían sentenciado. Las pretensiones de los presuntos “parientes” italianos habían sido rechazadas y sus testimonios y pruebas considerados falsos. El “Mayorazgo” de Colón fué transmitido a sus descendientes de parte materna, como estaba previsto en los testamentos de Almirante. Fué en esa ocasión que la falsificación y la confusión de los documentos se efectuó en vasta escala con propósito muy atrayente y bien definido : la adquisición de una considerable herencia. Y es evidente que los “pretendientes” tenían todo el interés de dejar en la sombra los documentos originales genoveses, en parte también entonces, como se ha dicho, conocidos. Pues éstos probaban, como lo prueban todavía, el nacimiento genovés de Colón, miembro de una familia de artesanos, y otras circunstancias incompatibles con la “tesis” de las ramas Cuccaro-Cogoleto, las cuales presuponían nobleza de ascendientes y origen cogoletano …

« Quedaban en el rollo de esta larguísima causa los diversos escritos, esto es, las conclusiones que no habían servido al intento primitivo de los abogados, las que dos siglos después suministraron amplio material a los polemistas …

« Lo cierto es que aun en nuestros días … asistimos al hecho muy curioso del reconocimiento de la ciudadanía genovesa del Descubridor, pero “sub conditione”. Ignorando que en semejante materia toda reserva destruye, o por lo menos deja en una incalificable incertinumbre el documento que, como tal, debe ser íntegramente aceptado y reconocido, o íntegramente rechazado …

« (L)as noticias que poseemos acera de Colón son infinitamente más numerosas y seguras que las halladas por los historiadores acera de Dante, Bacon y Shakespeare, por citar tan sólo estos tres genios … »

(de la introducción).

« Une seconde phase … de la question des origines eut lieu un peu après la publication des « Historie ». Cette phase devait avoir une influence considérable sur la littérature du XIXme siècle … La controverse débuta sous la forme d’une question d’intérêt. À l’extinction de la descendance directe masculine de l’Amiral, certaines familles Colombo, de l’Italie septentrionale, avancèrent leur prétentions à l’ « Almirantazgo de las Indias » surtout en vue des apanages qu’il comportait. Ces familles voulaient profiter évidemment de l’imprécision de certaines allusions des « Historie ». Ensuite, les différents prétendants – les Colombo de Cuccaro en Monferrato et de Cogoleto en Ligurie occidentale – finirent pour se mettre d’accord, moyennant de grossières interpolations généalogiques et de prétendus témoignages. Ils présentèrent même un prétendant « typique » en la personne de Bernardo Colombo. Les litiges traînèrent pendent quelques années, mais enfin les tribunaux d’Espagne rendirent leur jugement. Toute prétention des soi-disants « parents » italiens était repoussée et leur preuves taxées de faux. Le « Mayorazgo » de l’Amiral passait donc à sa descendence féminine ainsi que les dispositions testamentaires du Fondateur le réquéraient. Ce fut pendant cette période judiciaire que les fraudes eurent un emploi courant en vue d’un but bien défini, soit l’acquisition d’un vaste héritage. Il est certain, par conséquent, que les « prétendants » avaient tout l’intérêt à laisser dans l’ombre la documentation génoise – déjà connue alors – puisque cette documentation prouvait, comme elle le fait encore aujourd’hui, l’origine strictement génoise de Colomb et le fait d’appartenir à une famille d’artisans ainsi que d’autres circonstances incompatibles avec la « thèse » Cuccaro-Cogoleto, étayée sur la noblesse des Colombo et la provenance de Cogoleto …

« Del ce ong procès, des pièces restèrent : conclusions, témoignages contraditoires, qui, devenus inutiles pour les avocats, deux siècles plus tard devaient fournir un vaste matériel aux polémiques …

« Même de nos jours … nous assistons encore à ce phénomène de l’origine génoise de Colomb admise « sous condition ». Pourtant il est évident que toute réserve détruit ou du moins infirme les documents. Or ceux-ci, nous le répétons encore une fois, on les accepte tels qu’il sont, ou on les rejette …

« (L)es informations que nous possédons sur Colomb sont infiniment plus nombreuses et plus sûres que celles rapportées par les historiens au sujet de Dante, Bacon et Shakespeare, pour ne citer que trois grands noms … »

(de l’introduction).

May now the aimed at result of the inquiry have guided the selection of documents too much, may there also be deplorable inadequacies in the presentation like the lack of an index or discrepancies in references of sources – such to be found also in our days even with scientific publications and reviews meant for a less broad audience – , so even a generally quite critical reviewer then cannot but qualify present compendium not only as the probably most noteworthy, but also as the one which comes, compared with its predecessors, a little closer to its aim, and to state its value as work of reference and compilation of

Monleone + Pessagno, Cristóbal Colón / Christophe ColombMonleone + Pessagno, Cristóbal Colón / Christophe Colomb

excellently  reproduced  document  data :

“ The early writers on Christopher Columbus did not attempt to prove where he was born. They simply asserted that it was in Genoa in the province of Liguria, Italy. Later historians and biographers brought this assertion into question. All attempts to prove it have failed. The one before us is perhaps the most noteworthy, not only because it comes a little nearer than its predecessors to succeeding, but because it is the most elaborate … has brought forth this volume … to prove, not where Christopher Columbus was born, but that he was born in the city of Genoa, Italy …

“ It will be used principally as a work of reference. In spite of the emasculation of the documents and the difficulty of finding one’s way among them,

it  is  a  serviceable  compendium  of  documentary  data .

As a demonstration that the discoverer of America was born in the city of Genoa, it stands a monumental failure ”

(John Biglow in The Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 13, no. 2 [May 1933], pp. 204-212).

To continue, notwithstanding his in its kind likewise monumental criticism, per footnote with regard to the identically furnished English-German edition:

“ The  facsimiles  of  documents  are  excellent

and bound in with care. There are also many facsimiles of title pages. ”

Monleone + Pessagno, Cristóbal Colón / Christophe Colomb: Genoa

Even though today Columbus’ Genoese origin is generally acknowledged and common knowledge,

the  fight  about  Columbus  still  goes  on .

So when more recently the initiator of the Spanish forensic team which first attempted to prove the authenticity of his graves in both Spain and the Dominican Republic – which latter did not allow the opening however – is quoted in a news item:

“ The people whose last name is Colombo are cooperating less than the Coloms in Spain ”

(AP, May 20, 2006).

Might not only today, after more than 500 years, some consider the dispute about Columbus’ origin in both a broad and a narrow meaning as rather petty, so present monumental work nevertheless invites for a spirited-thorough occupation

with  the  man  who  and  his  deed & age .

Offer no. 28,915 / EUR  1100. / export price EUR  1045. (c. US$ 1208.) + shipping

Monleone + Pessagno, Cristóbal Colón / Christophe Colomb: Juan de La Cosa Map of 1500