After Columbus reached the Americas, how many years did it take for news to reach all of the capitals of Europe (including the Ottoman empire)?

  • Do you mean all capitals of significant polities, or every last hamlet?
    – o.m.
    Jul 15, 2022 at 19:00
  • @o.m. updated with capitals Jul 15, 2022 at 19:02
  • Well, it first took however long it took Columbus to get back to Spain...
    – Mark Olson
    Jul 15, 2022 at 19:08
  • The question is effectively unanswerable, especially given the fact that Europe at the time had hundreds of principalities/kingdoms, etc. Even if you pick one of these, say, France, it will be hard to find a definitive answer. A guess is that, given the geographic proximity of the two countries, it would take less than a year after Columbus' return to Spain. Jul 15, 2022 at 19:18
  • It did not take years, but probably just months after Columbus return from his first voyage. The Spanish royals probably kept his full report secret, but rumors spread quickly and it is a duty of diplomats to communicate such news to their governments.
    – Alex
    Jul 15, 2022 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


It did not take years. By the end of 1493 everyone who cared knew about this.

Columbus returned from his first voyage on 15 of March 1493. According to Wikipedia:

Almost immediately after his arrival in Spain, printed versions began to appear, and word of his voyage spread rapidly.

On 3 and 4 of May the Pope already issued Bulls of Donation reacting on this voyage. Like all bulls of the Pope they certainly were immediately spread over the Christian (Catholic) world.

It is harder to tell when the news reached the Ottoman empire, but certainly this did not take long through diplomatic channels.

So one can safely suppose that the news spread with the speed of a diplomatic courier travel.

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