Luis de Santangel

Luis de Santangel

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Luis de Santángel (died 1498) was a baptized Jew
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and finance minister to Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 who made the case to Isabella I
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

 in favor of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

' voyage in 1492.


In 1486, Ferdinand and Isabella had been presented with Columbus’s plan and after consultation with advisers, they rejected it. In order to keep Columbus from taking his idea to another monarch, Ferdinand and Isabella presented him with an annuity of 12,000 maravedis (about $840) and in 1489 provided him with documentation which he could use to obtain food and lodging in any Spanish municipalities.

When Columbus had grown weary of the treatment he was receiving from the leaders of Spain, he had begun to make arrangements to travel to the court of Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 in January 1492. It was at this point that Luis de Santangel intervened on behalf of Columbus to persuade Isabella and convinced her that the prospect of converting Asia to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 made the voyage worth the risk.

Santangel had arranged for the majority of the financing for the voyage contributing much of the money from his own pocket and additional money that he had borrowed. He did this in order to keep the Queen from having to pawn the crown jewels.

Columbus’s first letter

Columbus's Letter on the First Voyage
Columbus's Letter on the First Voyage
Columbus' Letter on the First Voyage to the New World was written by Christopher Columbus on February 15, 1493, on board the caravel Niña at sea with a postscript written on March 14 when he arrived back into port at Lisbon, Portugal...

 covering the narrative of his voyage was addressed to Luis de Santangel.

Spanish Inquisition

Santangel’s family was persecuted during the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

. His older cousin, and namesake, was beheaded during the inquisition. Because of his service to Spain, on 30 May 1497, Ferdinand proclaimed in a royal decree that Luis de Santangel and his family, present and future, were to be protected from the inquisition.

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