Skip to comments.Columbus Mystery Nearly Solved 500 Years After Death
Posted on 03/11/2006 11:30:40 AM PST by blam
Columbus mystery nearly solved 500 years after death
By Phil Stewart
Fri Mar 10, 11:30 AM ET
ROME (Reuters) - Nearly 500 years after the death of Christopher Columbus, a team of genetic researchers are using DNA to solve two nagging mysteries: Where was the explorer really born? And where the devil are his bones?
Debate about origins and final resting place of Columbus has raged for over a century, with historians questioning the traditional theory that he hails from Genoa, Italy. Some say he was a Spanish Jew, a Greek, a Basque or Portuguese.
Even the location of his remains is the subject of controversy. The Dominican Republic and Spain both stake claims as the final resting place of Columbus, who died in May, 1506.
The Spanish-led research team, which includes Italians, Americans and Germans, sampled DNA from the known remains from Columbus' brother and son, and then compared them to fragments attributed to Columbus in Seville.
Although the official announcement is expected later this year, Italian researchers say they are confident based on the evidence gathered so far that Columbus' supposed remains in Seville are likely authentic.
"We have already started all of the analyses on a molecular level and we have good indications that the remains in Seville are effectively those of Christopher," said Olga Rickards, head of the team at Rome's Tor Vergata University laboratory.
If confirmed, it could lay to rest a dispute dating back to 1877, when Dominican workers found a lead casket buried behind the altar in Santo Domingo's cathedral containing a collection of bone fragments the country says belong to Columbus.
The bones should have left the island for Cuba in 1795 and then been sent along Spain a century later.
But the casket was inscribed with the words "Illustrious and distinguished male, Don Cristobal Colon" - the Spanish rendering of Christopher Columbus.
"Nobody knows (about the Dominican remains) ... because they haven't yet allowed DNA analysis," Rickards told Reuters.
COTTON SWABS FOR COLOMBO
Little is known about the early life of Columbus, the reputed son of a weaver in Genoa who would later change the world by accidentally stumbling upon the Americas in 1492.
With so many different theories about his origin, the DNA researchers hope to settle the matter once and for all by obtaining genetic samples from Europeans with the name Columbus.
In Italy, the researchers sent letters to modern-day "Colombo" men asking them to use cotton swabs to sample saliva from inside their mouths.
"We sent out 250 letters ... and we have already received 16 positive responses," Rickards told Reuters.
The Spanish had sampled less than 150 people, she said.
"If we're lucky, we might have a result by May, which is the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' death," she said.
Genoa's mayor, Giuseppe Pericu, joked to a newspaper that Columbus would wind up being "Genovese" -- one way or another.
"If it turns out that Columbus wasn't Genovese, we'll make him an honorary citizen," he said.
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It's about time...but think of all the money making operations using his name that will lose credibility when the truth comes out. I for one believe this:
His bones are in Al Capone's vault, of course!
You are welcome.
BTW----I love your "Abajo Fidel"---you probably heard about what happened in Puerto Rico, right?
They make him sound like a bumbling fool. How about:
Columbus, who's visionary dreams of a global world were temporarily interrupted by the barrier of the 'new world'...
A very subtle clue that the average person wouldn't notice.
Mmmmmmmmm, genoa salami, crunchy Italian bread, some hard "grating cheese" and some good red wine. :) Ahhh, life is good. Ciao. :)
Yeah, I'm surprised Geraldo wasn't there with his video camera to film all of this.
A very subtle clue that the average person wouldn't notice.
Wouldn't it be better translated as: "Illustrious and distinguished
male gentleman, Don Cristobal Colon", since his name is prefaced with the title "Don" [a.k.a. Lord/Sir]?
A Jew named Christopher? I'm suprised no one's claiming he was black.
A jew named Christopher?
If one were serious about studying the subject, short of a formal university multiyear program, which is the easiest way to begin learning in depth?
Say at the informed adult level in undestandable English?
Somewhat. He was quite the explorer already. His mission this time was to find a route to India (they say China in public school) that went around the supremely annoying Arabs.
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I have no idea.
But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
How exactly are they to determine whether he was from Genoa, or Portugal, or Spain?
I am happy to say that has already happened.
I do not have a reference, but I am certain that I have seen that claim. More than once.
Well, that's clearly as good as actually knowing something.
Sorry to have attached that question to your post. I was hoping someone reading this thread might know.
The family name of the most numerous body of Columbus decendants is "CARVAJAL", or "CARBOHAL", or "CARVALHO" (depending on the country/language in which the name is rendered).
"Turks" ~ the Arabs had not been particularly bothersome for the previous 400 years since they were under the thumb of the Ottomans, who were NOT Arabs.
maybe if the enamel from any teeth is present, or from his brother as well, they can get some idea where he was born, at least.
I hope his Y haplotype is R1b M343 like mine...
He was also, no doubt, Gay.
"Okay, but just one more question first."
Whenever I see expensive research like this, I wonder who the heck is paying for it.
I had my DNA done http://www.familytreedna.com found a long lost relative too. Highly recommended!
Full Disclosure: Some days I'm lucky if I can correctly find my way out of my driveway [...before being ensnared by Free Republic, that is...]
REMOVAL OF THE REMAINS OF COLUMBUS
It is stated from Havana that the remains of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the New World, are again to be removed to a new and splendid cemetery, soon to be opened near that city. They are to be deposited in a silver urn, upon which will be inscribed in letters of gold the most remarkable events of his great enterprise. A bronze statue is to be erected over them, representing the great discoverer in the attitude of revealing the great mission of his wonderful life.
Columbus died Ascension day, the 20th of May, 1506, in about the 70th year of his age. His obsequies were celebrated with great pomp at Valladolid, and his body deposited in the Convent of San Francisco. Then, nine years after, in the year 1513 [sic? their date], it was removed to the Carthusian monastery of Seville, where likewise was deposited the body of his son, Diego. Twenty-three years after, in the year 1539, the body of both the admiral and his son were removed, with appropriate pomp and ceremonies, to the New World he had discovered, and interred in the principal chapel of Santa Domingo, Hispaniola. There they remained undisturbed for the period of 250 years.
In the year 1805, however, at the close of the war between France and Spain, all the Spanish possessions in the island of Hispaniola were ceded to France, whereupon a request was preferred to the French Governor to have the remains of Columbus removed to Cuba. The request was granted, and on the 20th of December, 1795, the vault in the cathedral of San Domingo was for the first time in nearly two hundred years opened. "Within," says the record of the event, "were found the fragments of a leaden coffin, a number of bones, and a quantity of mould [sic], evidently the remains of a human body. These were carefully collected and put into a case of gilded lead, about a half an ell in length and breadth, and a third in height, secured by an iron lock, the key of which was delivered to the Archbishop. The case was enclosed in a coffin, covered with black velvet, and ornamented with lace and gold.
After appropriate funeral ceremonies, the body was taken on board the ship San Lorenzo and taken to Havana, where it arrived on the 15th of January, 1796. It was received in the most solemn manner, with all the honor given to a sovereign. "On arriving at the mole, the remains were then met by the Governor of the Island, accompanied by his generals and military staff. The coffin was then conveyed between the files of soldiery which lined the streets to the obelisk, in the Place d'Armes, where it was received in a hearse prepared for the purpose. Here the remains were formally delivered to the Governor and Captain General of the island, the key given to him, the coffin opened and examined, and the safe transportation of its contents authenticated."
The ceremony concluded, the solemn rites of the dead were performed by the archbishop, and the remains of the great discoverer were again deposited in the wall, on the right side of the Cathedral of Havana, where they have ever since remained, the object of reverence to all visitors of the island.
Given their importance, I wonder if the remains were ever split up in the past, with part of them going overseas and part being kept at home.
Don't fault me for the dates posted above. They are as they appeared in the article (e.g., 1805 followed by 1795).
Nice find. Thank you for sharing.
The routes went through Bedouin territory, or Egypt at least, and every tribe had its own fee for safe transit, renegotiated every caravan. When the Romans held the routes, trade went to Rome, and India prospered. When Rome fell, so did India--collateral damage. Columbus sought to reestablish direct trade with India, which would restore both Europe (Spain, Italy) and India to a degree of wealth. America intervened, and somewhat later Jefferson tried continue Columbus' idea by establishing a route to China across the American West, which ran out of river, but by the time the railroads pushed across, New Orleans was the major port.
If he's Jewish they'll be able to tell. Some genetic researcher has traced several lines of Jewish DNA tracing back to the original tribes.
He can tell if a modern Jew named Cohen actually has DNA markers that track back to the tribe that was selected as the priests.
Columbus' father's name was Domenico, hence the name Santo Domingo for the city established on Hispaniola, and subsequently the name Dominican Republic...if Columbus' father had been a Pasquale it would be the Paschal Republic.
If Columbus had never sailed, the New World would have been rediscovered in 1500 by Europeans, by Pedro Cabral (who hit Brazil while trying to sail round Africa).
Every little bit helps.
Go to your local library and search the Interlibrary loan system for books and materials on the scientific subjects in which you're interested. It's free (as long as you get the items back on time, of course). Somewhere in the many libraries that make up your city's library system, you'll find sufficient material.
How to learn about molecular biology , genetics, unraveling human DNA, etc. I am currently reading 3 library books that might interest you:
1)"Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo," Sean B. Carroll, 2005. This book plunges right into the important new subject of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo Devo). It describes the details of how the basic template for ALL bilateral creatures was established over one half billion years ago, and how it has been modified to produce all subsequent bilateral creatures. Chapter titles include: Animal Architecture, Modern Forms, Ancient Designs; Making Babies: 25,000 Genes, Some Assembly Required; The Big Bang of Animal Evolution; A Beautiful Mind: The Making of Homo sapiens. I started to read the second book but decided this one should come first.
2) "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution," Richard Dawkins, 2004. This book starts with humans and then goes back through 40 steps showing where we diverged from each of our common ancestors, giving the time period when this probably occurred. For those who are upset that we and apes had a common ancestor, wait til they find out that we and bacteria had a common ancestor. An excellent book for understanding the tree (or bush) of life
3) "Darwin's Chost: The Origin of Species Updated," Steve Jones,2000. This book puts Darwin's work in modern scientific perspective. It also include some of Darwin's chapter summaries. Great book for arguing with those who would use 150 year old science to po po evolution.
I hope you find this helpful, and if you do I wouldn't mind hearing from you.
I mistyped the first book it should be "Darwin's Ghost"
I recently read a book about the Gulf Stream. Apparently Columbus knew about the equatorial current that flows away from Spain to the Azores and then across the Atlantic before hooking up with the Gulf Stream. Wherever he traveled he looked at old maps, spoke with experienced seamen and picked as many brains as possible. He went to as many coastal ports on the extreme west of Europe as he could, even in the British Isles, where he saw seeds and vegetation that had been washed there from the New World.
He didn't accidently discover America, he "knew" there was something there all the time. He just had the name wrong.
Jews that converted out of fear for the inquisition often
took on an overly christian sounding name inorder to 'apease' the church.
So it could be true. Although i saw a documentary suggesting that Columbus hid his past as he was from Catalonia, which would not make him popular in Spain.
(Despite Catalonia now officially part of Spain)
From Discovery Channel: Spanish Saliva May Reveal Real Columbus | Hundreds of saliva samples may reveal the disputed origins of Christopher Columbus, according to a genetic investigation aimed at finding possible distant descendants of the admiral's family.
A team of geneticists, led by José Antonio Lorente Acosta from the University of Granada, has begun to collect samples from Spanish men sharing the surname Colón (Columbus) in the effort to find a common ancestor who may be the link with the man credited for discovering the New World in 1492.
Columbus is widely thought to have been born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy, the son of wool trader Domenico Colombo and Susanna Fontanarossa.
Other theories, however, argue that the explorer was born in Spain, his real name being Cristóbal Colón.
Various versions of the story have Columbus as a pirate born in Catalonia, a Catalan Jew who fled to Genoa to hide from the Spanish Inquisition, and the illegitimate son, born in Majorca, of Spain's prince of Viana.
Already 300 Spanish volunteers have agreed to take part in the genetic study. The search will be conducted in Catalonia, Majorca and Valencia; samples will be also taken in Genoa.
The DNA of hundreds of men sharing Columbus' surname will be then compared to DNA from the bones of Hernando - Columbus' son through an extramarital affair - whose identity is certain.
"If we find a chromosome (which males inherit through the paternal line) we could say they were related," Acosta told reporters.
It will not be an easy task: in Catalonia alone, there are about 2,000 Colóns in the electoral register.
I think using DNA, microbiology and genetic engineering in the evolution-creation catfight is a wate of time. It bores me.
Yes, whichever side I embrace is irrelevant, as is anyone else's faith, whatever form it takes.