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Spain cracks secret code to King Ferdinand the mysterious 500-year-old military letters

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Spain’s King Ferdinand II 500-year-old secret letters decoded

The 500-year-old secret code used between the Spanish king Ferdinand II of Aragon and his military commander, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba has been deciphered.

Secret 500-year-old letters sent by King Ferdinand II of Aragon, on one of his military commanders have finally deciphered.

Spain’s Army Museum called in experts from the Spanish intelligence service, the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI), to assist in the deciphering of the mysterious documents. The letters, which use a combination of 237 letter codes and 88 symbols, had baffled historians.

Ferdinand sent the letters to Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba known as the Great Captain, during a military campaign in Italy in the beginning of the 16th century.

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The Spanish newspaper ABC describes the letters as “one of the great mysteries in the history of Spain.”

One of the letters written by King Ferdinand II of Aragon to his military commander Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, with the secret code.

(Credit:Duques de Maqueda)

Documents of the Dukes of Maqueda, a Spanish noble house, helped experts to unravel the mystery. The treasure contained 16 letters from Ferdinand to the Córdoba, which were transferred to the modern text of a handwriting expert. “It was then that it was discovered that four of these letters were encrypted, and the Museum continues its attempt to deciphering of them,” according to the Army Museum, in a statement translated from Spanish.

After the historians were not able to crack the codes of the Museum to the CNI. A small piece of text deciphered by the Córdoba, at the foot of one of the pieces that a critical clue that helped the CNI team unlock the code.

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Nevertheless, the BBC reports that the intelligence agency for almost a half a year to decipher the letters.

One of the letters written by King Ferdinand II of Aragon to his military commander Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, with the secret code.

(Credit:Duques de Maqueda)

The Museum highlighted the “careful and detailed instructions given to the Córdoba by King Ferdinand: in addition to the information on the troop movements, the King also discusses the administration of justice, and even promotes the marriage between the local widows and the Spanish army in a commitment to greater social integration. Ferdinand also criticizes the commander for the launch of diplomatic initiatives without consultation with him, according to the BBC.

The king, known as Ferdinand the Catholic, is an important historical figure. He played an important role in the “Reconquista” or “Reconquest”, which ended centuries of Islamic domination of the Iberian Peninsula. Ferdinand, with his wife Queen Isabella I of Castile, also sponsored the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492.

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The princes also laid the foundations for the unification of Spain as their two kingdoms were combined in the 15th century. Thanks to his marriage, became King Ferdinand of Castile, following Isabelle’s coronation as Queen of Castile in 1474. He was also King of Aragon on the death of his father in 1479.

CNI Director Félix Sanz Roldán providing the transcription of the letters to the chief of staff of the Army, Francisco Javier Varela Salas

(Museo del Ejercito)

Now that the secret code has been unlocked, more letters can be deciphered, The Independent reports.

Modern techniques are also used elsewhere to unlock the secrets of the ancient documents. Researchers in Canada, for example, recently said that they had used artificial intelligence to decode a mysterious 15th-century manuscript. Discovered In the 19th century, the Voynich manuscript makes use of “strange” characters long puzzled cryptographers and historians.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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