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January 3, 1977

Columbus' Trips to America

JAMA. 1977;237(1):25-26. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270280027010

To the Editor.—  I enjoyed the article by Dr Lopez entitled "Medical Notes on Columbus's First Trip to America" (236:1598, 1976). The pioneer efforts of Masters Juan Sánchez, the surgeon; Alonzo de Moguer, the barber-surgeon; and Diego, the apothecary; have been neglected over the centuries by historians. Each of these three medical officers received a salary of 1,000 maravedis (approximately $6.75 in gold) per month.In his second trip to America, Columbus left the port of Cadiz on Sept 25, 1493. This was a better financed trip which included 17 caravels and 1,200 men. Columbus recruited the services of the first graduate physician to come to the New World, Diego Alvarez de la Chanca. He was a prominent physician from Seville and served as fleet surgeon aboard the flagship Marigalante. He kept a journal of his observations of the voyage and eventually gave this document to the city council of Seville.