In 1492, a historical event that changed the course of the city of Seville took place. The Discovery of America at the hands of Christopher Columbus meant that this city enjoyed spectacular economic, social and cultural growth. Seville became the port and doorway to the New World, with urban growth that made it the most developed city of the era.
A circular fountain over which there is a pedestal with the busts of Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Kings. It was designed by Talavera and executed by the sculptor Lorenzo Coullaut Valera.
The building, the former Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville, was the first tobacco factory established in Europe. On its main facade, among its decorations, we can find a reminder of the time of the Discovery of America, with some reliefs such as the grinding of tobacco, sailboats and busts representing Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes, as well as two Indians, one of them smoking a pipe.
The Royal Mint of Seville was the nerve centre where the gold and silver of the era was fused and later converted into frames and doubloons to later support the European economy in the 16th century, the time of the New World Conquistadors.
The Recruitment House was created to encourage and regulate trade and navigation with the New World. It occupied a section of the Real Alcázar known as the Admirals’ Quarters. What survives of the old Recruitment House is only a part of what it occupied in its time, such as the Admiral’s Hall and the Hearing Room, which we can visit today in the Reales Alcázares.
The Lonja House of Merchants of Seville was created as a trade association to protect the commerce of the city against the “non-bourgeois”. The construction of a building for the headquarters of the Lonja, which took place between 1584 and 1598 on the same avenue, was chosen next to the Cathedral, where it stands today. This building would end up being the headquarters of the Archive of the Indies.
The General Archive of the Indies of Seville was created in 1785 to centralize in one place all the documentation concerning the administration of the Spanish colonies that had been dispersed around various archives until them: Simancas, Cádiz and Seville.
At the Cathedral of Seville, we also find several points to visit related to the discovery of America:
- Tomb of Columbus. The tomb of Christopher Columbus has been located at the Cathedral of Seville since 1899. A monument with four heralds, representing the four Spanish kingdoms (Castile, Leon, Aragón and Navarre) hold a coffin.
- “Los Vizarrones” Candelabras. Six 6-foot tall Mexican silver candlesticks.
- Virgen de la Antigua Chapel. One of the best-preserved Marian devotions due to its miraculous fame and the great devotion aroused in both Spain and America.
The Cathedral of Seville contains in its archives two very important collections: the Columbus Library and the Capitular Library, both private.
Today, the Columbus Library contains 3,200 volumes, of which 1,250 are incunabula and 587 are manuscripts. One of the most exceptional pieces is Christopher Columbus’ Book of Prophesies. The Capitular Library contains 60,000 books, manuscripts, maps, music and engravings –many of which relate to the history of the Americas.