- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The University of Southern Maine says one of its libraries is in possession of a copy of a letter written more than five centuries ago by Christopher Columbus that the U.S. just gave back to Italy.

The Portland Press Herald (https://bit.ly/1Rb7AhX ) reports the university’s Osher Map Library has one of 80 remaining copies of the letter, which details Columbus’ discoveries.

U.S. Ambassador John Phillips officially returned the original letter to Italian authorities on Wednesday. The letter was donated to the Library of Congress in 2004 from the estate of its final owner, who did not realize it had been stolen from a library in Florence and replaced with a forgery.

Columbus wrote the letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. USM’s copy was printed in Switzerland in 1494.

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