Luis de Santángel

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Luis de Santángel
Luis de Santangel.jpg
Luis de Santángel
Born Valencia, Spain
Died 1498
Ávila, Spain
Occupation Finance Minister

Luis de Santángel (died 1498) was a baptized Jew and finance minister to Ferdinand II who made the case to Isabella I in favor of Christopher Columbus' voyage in 1492.

Columbus's voyage


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 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 made the voyage worth the risk.

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

File:Luis Santangel.jpg
A bust of Luis de Santángel in Alameda de València.

Columbus's first letter

Columbus's Letter on the First Voyage covering the narrative of his voyage was addressed to Luis de Santangel.

Spanish Inquisition

Santangel's family was persecuted during the Spanish Inquisition. 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.


  • Amler, Jane Frances. (1991). Christopher Columbus's Jewish Roots. London: Jason Aronson, Inc.
  • Durant, Will. (1957). The Reformation: A History of European Civilization from Wyclif to Calvin: 1300-1564. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Kayserling, Meyer. (1894). Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries. New York: Harmon Press.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot. (1955). Christopher Columbus, Mariner. London: Faber and Faber Ltd.

External links