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Located in Seville and built during the reign of Philip II, the building which houses the General Archive of the Indies was designed by Juan de Herrera to be used as the Lonja de Mercaderes. It was completed in 1646, under the direction of several prestigious architects such as Juan de Minjares, Alonso de Vandelvira and Miguel de Zumárraga, who altered some of the original ideas for the project by introducing innovative elements in its construction, like vaulting the upper floor in order to alleviate the common problem presented by the ironwork for a gabled roof which was much heavier and presented a greater risk of fire.
Carlos III, through the architect Luca Cintora, converted the building into the General Archive of the Indies and thus provided a central location for all the documents relating to Spanish overseas possessions between the 15th and 19th centuries.
The floor plan is square, 56 metres each side, with two storeys over a market place surrounded by columns with chains. The Archive building is basically a central patio surrounded by two quadrangular naves, one interior and the other exterior. The whole building is made of stone, with two vaulted floors connected by a monumental staircase.
The General Archive of the Indies is one of the most important document centres that exist with regard to the discovery and the conquest of New World.
Type of visit: Monuments - Other Monuments or patrimonial Elements, Museum - Other type of museum
Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4.45pm.
Sundays and public holidays, 10am to 1.45pm.
Closed: 1 and 6 January, 24, 25 and 31 December.
Prior booking not required except for groups of over 20 people.
The General Archive of the Indies preserves the document which Christopher Columbus consulted and annotated which came from the Perpetual Almanac of Abraham Zacuto and which enabled the calculation of latitude. Abraham Zacuto was one of the most influential scientists, responsible for improving the astrolabe and publishing the Perpetual Almanac used by sailors in the 15th century. He made the results of his research available to Christopher Columbus and personally helped him.
You'll also find the accounts books belonging to the convert, Luis de Santángel, who was a decided defender of Columbus' voyage and who financed it in part.