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  • Issue date: 24/04/2006
  • Printing Process: Huecograbado
  • Paper: Estucado engomado fosforescente
  • Size of stamp: 28,8 x 40,9 mm. (vertical)
  • Size of block sheet: 105,6 x 79,2 mm. (horizontal)
  • Postal value of the stamps: 2,39 €
  • Print run: 600.000 hojas bloque
  • Dented: 13 3/4


On the 5th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ death, Correos issues a commemorative souvenir sheet, whose stamp depicts a portrait of the discoverer of the Americas. The sheet also shows the Summa de Cosmographia world map, by Pedro de Medina, and on its background, the words Cristóbal Colón 1506-2006 can be read only through ultraviolet light, the letters being varnish overprinted. Both the portrait and the world map belong to the Spanish National Library. Christopher Columbus’ birthplace and date have thoroughly been discussed, the city of Genoa and 1451 being the most accurate data according to the most significant documents. Having first worked at his parents’ crafts business, the young Columbus soon enrolled in commercial navigation and became an expert sailor. He was led to Spain by his project, based on undertaking a westward sea route to the Indies, an idea which he put forward to Queen Isabella I of Castile thanks to the advice of the protector of the Monastery of La Rábida and the monk Juan Pérez, the Queen’s former confessor. In 1492, after the conquest of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold on the Iberian peninsula, the monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella supported Columbus’ project and signed the Capitulaciones de Santa Fe, a contract by which he was granted the titles of viceroy and admiral of all the lands he would discover, as well as the rights over 10 % of all benefits obtained. On the evening of 3 August 1492, Columbus left from Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) together with the renowned sailors Vicente Yánez Pinzón, Martín Alonso Pinzón and Juan de la Cosa on the ship Santa María and the caravels La Pinta and La Niña. After a stop in the Canary Islands and a hard crossing, land was sighted on 12 October in Guanahani, in the Bahamas, which they named San Salvador. Apart from several other islands within the archipelago, they discovered Juana (today’s Cuba) and Hispaniola. None of the explorers was ever aware of having found the New World, but believed that, by arriving in the Indies, they had opened up a new westward sea route. On his second voyage (1493-1496) Columbus discovered the Lesser Antilles, landed at Puerto Rico and Jamaica and circumnavigated a great part of Cuba. On his third voyage (1498-1500) he explored the mainland of South America, including the mouth of the Orinoco River and the islands of Trinidad and Cobagua. From 1502 to 1504, during his fourth voyage, he sailed to Central America, arriving in Panama. He died in Valladolid in 1506, unaware that the lands he had discovered were part of a new continent.

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