Epistola de insulis nuper in mari indico repertis, 1494
Christopher Columbus published a letter detailing his “discovery” of the Indies upon his return from his first voyage to the New World, now called Epistola de insulis nuper in mari indico repertis. The woodcut shown above, from a later Latin edition of the letter, is titled “Insula Hyspana”, and shows Spanish ships arriving at the island that Columbus named “La Española,” and which is usually known in English-language historical tradition as Hispaniola. It is probably the first European visual depiction of the indigenous people of the Americas. The ship depicted on the foreground bears no resemblance to the late 15th century carracks in which Columbus sailed to the New World.
From the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress.