Fact Check

Caravel Supply List

Looking for a caravel supply list, Ava and Dex visit the historic Pinzón house, home of the family that sailed with Columbus. There they learn about life aboard a caravel, and find the caravel document that contains their next clue.

Who Were the Pinzóns?

When Columbus needed ships and crew in 1492, he turned to the Pinzón family of Palos. The Pinzóns were shipbuilders and respected sailors in that part of Spain. The Pinzón brothers offered two caravels, and went on the voyage with Columbus. Martín Alonso Pinzón would be the captain of the Pinta, and his brother Vicente Yáñez Pinzón would captain the Niña. Columbus served as the commander of the voyage and sailed on the Santa Maria which was not a caravel but a larger ship called a nao.

The Pinzóns and the Voyage

To this day, locals in Palos credit the Pinzón brothers with the voyage and its discoveries rather than Columbus. Palos has streets, schools, and monuments dedicated to the Pinzón family without any public statues for Christopher Columbus. Notice that when Vicente, the caretaker of the family museum in Lost Treasure Hunt, talks to Ava and Dex about 1492, he calls it “the Pinzón’s voyage.”

The Caravel Supply List

The supply list in Lost Treasure Hunt is based on caravel lists from the time of Columbus including one still existing today for the Niña. A sample of the text can be seen to the right of this paragraph. Compare the text of the fictional supply list in Lost Treasure Hunt, with the real writing.

This list is part of the collection at Archivo General de Indias (“General Archive of the Indies”) and can be seen today in Seville, Spain. It does not contain the signature of Columbus. And (as far as we know), does not contain any clues leading to hidden treasure.

Sources and Further Reading


Dor-Ner, Z., & Scheller, W. (1991). Columbus and the age of discovery. (Companion Volume to the PBS Series) New York: W. Morrow, p.107-121.

Martínez-Hidalgo, J. M. (1966). Columbus' ships. Barre, Mass: Barre Publishers, p.77-79.

Landström, B. (1967). Columbus. New York: Macmillan, p.46-53.


* Soule, G. (1988). Christopher Columbus: On the green sea of darkness. New York: F. Watts, p.36-40.

* Dodge, S. (1991). Christopher Columbus and the first voyages. New York: Chelsea House, p.64-67.


* Young Readers Selection