Sunday, February 10, 2019

Seville: Christopher Columbus at the Library

Earlier this week, as we walked through the streets of Seville on our way to the impressive Cathedral of Seville, we came upon a library, the Archivo de Indias (Archive of the Indies).

Always easily drawn astray by libraries, we admired the fountain in front of the massive building, authorized in the mid 18th Century to find a treasure for scholars.

Notice the globe under the Spanish royal lion's paw
that symbolizes the world!
Up the massive staircase, an intricate design of varied marble, we found the archives. Some 86 million handwritten pages are stored here from the time of Columbus forward through Spain's Golden Age that attest to the remarkable discovery and development of the New World. Originals from Christopher Colombus, Cortez, Cervantes, and even George Washington!

Locked case after case held hundreds of binders of these rare papers, the library itself authorized by Carlos III in 1785. A true bookworm's delight -- if only one could read in Spanish!

My favorite, a drawing of a volcano exploding in Ecuador from 1773, brought back memories of living in Antigua, Guatemala, under the shadow of Fuego (fire), a volcano, which luckily did not erupt while we were there.

Yesterday, we left our apartment here in Seville at 7 am for a day trip to Cordoba to visit the Cathedral and Mosque there with a charming and informative guide. We came home exhausted, but we're recovering today, I resolve to keep this blog updated, even with only one picture a day!

Isn't it interesting how one trip can bring so many new impressions and yet remind us of other trips taken? 


Sandy Brown Jensen said...

I remember when I taught Latin American Literature for you and again for Linfield how some texts written by hand by indigenous observers were invaluable resources for knowing the situation at that time. For some reason, I can’t get any of those names back—you’ll remember as you taught it many times—but those must be in that library! I love those primary documents.

Interestingly, teaching that class and learning about the brutality of not just the Spanish and the Catholic Church but of the Aztecs and Incans, too, pretty much took Spain and all of South America off my bucket list for a really long time.

The entire history of every country is soaked in blood and superstition, of course, so I’m over that, and we hope to visit Spain some day...maybe...:)

Beth Camp said...

Thank you for sharing that memory, Sandy. It was such a pleasure to teach a very few literature classes -- no one else had wanted to teach Latin American lit, and those syllabi I had researched started post-Christopher Columbus. Finding that two-volume book by Leon Portilla that translated pre-Columbian texts has been a long time fascination. But, I have feelings very similar to you that make it a little difficult to visit the gold-encrusted altars here. Today, we're going to an archaeology museum. And, you would LOVE the tapas!