Article casts doubt on Columbus' origins.

juancarlos

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Sep 28, 2003
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I don't know what to believe. Columbus was Columbus and that's it. They say DNA provides certainty about someone's origins, but in his case, tests are not complete. We still don't know anything about the remains in DR. Some were performed in Spain, but we still have to wait.
 

Mirador

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Apr 15, 2004
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juancarlos said:
I don't know what to believe. Columbus was Columbus and that's it. They say DNA provides certainty about someone's origins, but in his case, tests are not complete. We still don't know anything about the remains in DR. Some were performed in Spain, but we still have to wait.


Dominican authorities have steadfastly refused to allow DNA testing on Columbus remains in their possession. They argue that "historical" evidence is enough to vouch for the authenticity of the remains discovered in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in 1877, inside a small lead urn with the inscription: "Ilustre Varón Don Cristobal Colon, Primer Almirante de America".
 

samanasuenos

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Oct 5, 2005
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Deconstructing the Colombus Myth!

"In the final analysis, it is patently clear that we really have no idea who Columbus was, where he came from, or where he spent his formative years. It may be that he was indeed born in Genoa, perhaps of some "degree of Jewish blood," brought up in Portugal, and ultimately nationalized as a citizen of Spain, Province of Aragon. Perhaps he also spent portions of his childhood being educated in Greek and Latin while residing in Corsica, Majorca, Chios, or all three. Maybe he had grandparents who had immigrated from what is now Poland and France. It is possible that each of the parties now vying for a "piece of the action" in his regard are to some extent correct in their claims. "

http://www.uctp.org/ColumbusMyth.html
 

NALs

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Jan 20, 2003
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samanasuenos said:
"In the final analysis, it is patently clear that we really have no idea who Columbus was, where he came from, or where he spent his formative years. It may be that he was indeed born in Genoa, perhaps of some "degree of Jewish blood," brought up in Portugal, and ultimately nationalized as a citizen of Spain, Province of Aragon. Perhaps he also spent portions of his childhood being educated in Greek and Latin while residing in Corsica, Majorca, Chios, or all three. Maybe he had grandparents who had immigrated from what is now Poland and France. It is possible that each of the parties now vying for a "piece of the action" in his regard are to some extent correct in their claims. "

http://www.uctp.org/ColumbusMyth.html
The only myth that is not a myth at all is what Columbus thought of what he saw and experienced during his travels and adventures into the new world.

You can read his logs (in English) in the book:

THE FOUR VOYAGES by: Christopher Columbus, translated into English by J.M. Cohen

-NALs
 

samanasuenos

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Oct 5, 2005
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Thank you NALS.

Maybe you can help me out.

I read that Amerigo Vespucci ALSO wrote a similar book that goes by a similar name?
 

NALs

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Jan 20, 2003
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samanasuenos said:
Thank you NALS.

Maybe you can help me out.

I read that Amerigo Vespucci ALSO wrote a similar book that goes by a similar name?
Hmmm... this is the first time I hear of that. Perhaps he did.

I own "The Four Voyages", so I'm pretty sure the one I am referring to was written by Columbus. ;)

-NALs
 

samanasuenos

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Oct 5, 2005
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I will check out your 4 Voyages, thank you!

Note:

Amerigo Vespucci's name has suffered from the alleged "Mundus Novus" and the "Lettera" (also called The Four Voyages).. The letter, which told about the "New World", was so fascinating to the people of Florence that they thought it was necessary to distribute the news throughout Europe via the printing press [Pohl 148].

The letter also described half-naked native women and THAT made his letter very popular, soft-porn if you will.
 

Tuan

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Aug 28, 2004
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Cristoforo Colombo was a Genoese cargo carrier from Genoa, quite the ladies man, and trafficked only across the Mediterranean.

Cristóbal Colón, whom the English later mistakenly called Christopher Columbus after confusing him with Cristoforo Colombo, was a Genoese by virtue of his birth, perhaps by a Jewish mother, in the Genoa-governed Greek island of Chios. His mother tongue was Greek, but he and his brother Bartólome scamped their way from the Cabo Verdes to Iceland with ships of widows and cargos or oft-disappointed consigners. See Taviani, Durlacher-Wolper, West, etc. Not really worth debating.

Worth debating, however: was he one of the greatest navigators, geographers and sailors ever to have lived?
Did he have the Chinese maps from the 1421-1424 voyages?
Yes, to both.

And his "logs" have never been found. His JOURNALS, however, are available with much miscopying and political editing. Las Casas left out navigation material in favor of his Indian biases.

But Colombus kept his logs as secret as the Portuguese pilots did theirs. The Viceroyship of the New World was at stake after all, and Portuguese pilots were killed for their logs, if they were able to be decoded. Columbus' journal from 1492-1493 were written in competition with the king's commissioner who was on-board and writing his own, which bashed the estranjero Colombus and elevated his and Pinzóns' contributions.

Since Fernando was a little gay, the Admiral got a leg up on the commissioner's report by including salacious descriptions of the naked young Indians he encountered -- he even brought back a few for the king's delectation, but they got sickly.

Columbus was one of history's greatest men. A world class rascal, who in the world of 1492 had no choice but to pretend to be a huge defender of the faith, he was quite possibly Jewish.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
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Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
THE REMAINS OF COLUMBUS


Burial of Columbus.--Disappearance of epitaph.--Removal of remains in
1795.--Discovery of remains in 1877.--Resting place of Discoverer
of America.


The greatest pride of the Dominican people is that they are the
custodians of the mortal remains of Christopher Columbus. The same
honor is claimed by Spain, but a Dominican would consider it almost
treasonable to doubt the justice of the Dominican claim. It is a
strange freak of fate that not only should the great navigator have
been denied in life the rewards promised him, not only should the new
world he discovered have been given the name of another, but that his
very tomb is a matter of controversy. It is admitted that after his
death in Spain his remains were transferred to Santo Domingo City and
there deposited in the cathedral. In 1795, when the Spanish colony of
Santo Domingo was ceded to France, the Spaniards carried with them to
Cuba what they supposed were the remains of Columbus, and these were
in 1898 taken to Spain, but in the year 1877 another casket was
brought to light in the Santo Domingo cathedral, with inscriptions
which indicated that it contained the bones of the great Discoverer.

It was the desire of Columbus to be buried in Santo Domingo, his
favorite island. In his will, executed shortly before his death, he
called on his son Diego to found, if possible, a chapel dedicated to
the Holy Trinity, "and if this can be in the Island of Espanola, I
should like to have it there where I invoked the Trinity, which is in
La Vega, named Concepcion." Columbus died on May 20, 1506, in
Valladolid and his body was deposited in the church of Santa Maria de
la Antigua in that city. In 1513, or perhaps before, it was
transferred to the Carthusian monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas
in Seville, where was also deposited the body of his son Diego, who
died in 1526. Diego Columbus, in his will of the year 1523, stated
that he had been unable to carry out his father's wishes, but
requested his heirs to found in the city of Santo Domingo, inasmuch as
La Vega was losing population, a nunnery dedicated to St. Clara, the
sanctuary of which was to be the burial place of the Columbus family.
His plans were modified in favor of a nobler mausoleum and his widow,
Maria de Toledo, in the name of her son Louis Columbus, applied to the
king of Spain for the sanctuary of the cathedral of Santo Domingo as a
burial place for her husband, his father and his heirs, which grant
the king made in 1537 and reiterated in 1539. A difference having
arisen with the bishop of Santo Domingo, who wished to reserve the
higher platform of the sanctuary for the interment of prelates and
cede only the lower portion to the Columbus family, the king in 1540
again reiterated his concession of the whole sanctuary. According to
the annals of the Carthusian monastery of Seville, the bodies of
Christopher Columbus and his son were taken away in 1536, and it is
probable that they were deposited in the cathedral of Santo Domingo in
1540 or 1541, after the issue of the king's third order and the
conclusion of the work on the cathedral. Where they were during the
intervening four or five years and in what year they were brought to
Santo Domingo, is not known. Las Casas, writing in 1544, states that
the remains of the Admiral were at that time buried in the sanctuary
of the cathedral of Santo Domingo. In the year 1572 Louis Columbus,
the grandson of the Discoverer, died in Oran, in Africa, and his
remains were taken to the Carthusian monastery in Seville. It is not
known when they were brought to Santo Domingo, but the transfer
probably took place in the beginning of the seventeenth century.

The early records of the Santo Domingo cathedral were burnt at the
time of Drake's invasion in 1586, and those since that year have been
so damaged by the ravages of tropical insects that little is left of
them. They make little and only passing reference to the tomb of
Columbus, and mention no monument or inscription whatever. Juan de
Castellanos, in his book "Varones Ilustres de Indias," printed in
1589, recites a Latin epitaph which he says appeared near the place
where lay the body of Columbus in Seville, but pretty Latin epitaphs
were Castellanos' weakness, and it is to be feared that this one, like
others which he dedicated to American explorers, was nothing more than
a figment of his poetic imagination. Two writers, Coleti and Alcedo,
who almost two centuries later mentioned the same epitaph as marking
the grave in Santo Domingo, must have copied from Castellanos.

Undoubtedly there was at first some inscription to mark the tomb, but
in the course of the years any slabs with inscriptions were permitted
to disappear entirely from the graves of Columbus, his son and
grandson, and the very existence of their remains in the cathedral
became a matter of tradition. It is possible that the epitaphs
disappeared at some time when the pavement of the church was renewed,
or when damages inflicted by earthquake shocks were repaired, or when
changes were made in the windows and doors about the main altar, or
when the higher altar platform was extended to reach the desks on
which lie the Gospels and Epistles. At any such times the slabs over
the burial vaults may have been broken or laid aside and never
replaced. It is also possible that they were intentionally removed in
order to guard against profanation of the tombs by enemies in time of
war or by West Indian pirates, who captured and sacked stronger cities
than Santo Domingo. In 1655 when an English fleet under Admiral
William Penn appeared before the city and landed an army under General
Venables, there was great excitement and fear in Santo Domingo, and
the archbishop ordered that the sacred ornaments and vessels be hidden
and that "the sepulchres be covered in order that no irreverence or
profanation be committed against them by the heretics, and especially
do I so request with reference to the sepulchre of the old Admiral
which is on the gospel side of my holy church and sanctuary," That
other tombs were hidden, whether at this time or another, was shown in
1879, when, on repairing the flooring in the chapel of the "stone
bishop" in the cathedral, the slab indicating the grave of the
Adelantado Rodrigo de Bastidas, the explorer, was found concealed
under a stone, and it was discovered that the epitaph of Bastidas on a
board which from time immemorial had hung on the wall of the chapel
was an incorrect copy of the original graven on the burial slab. From
the words of the archbishop it appears possible that the sepulchre of
Columbus was marked in some way in 1655, although even then there may
have been nothing, since the prelate saw fit to specify the point in
the church where the tomb was situated.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
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Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
The first document in which tradition appears invoked for designating
the burial place is the record of a synod held in 1683, which contains
the following clause: "this Island having been discovered by
Christopher Columbus, illustrious and very celebrated throughout the
world, whose bones repose in a leaden box in the sanctuary next to the
pedestal of the main altar of this our cathedral, with those of his
brother Louis Columbus which are on the other side, according to the
tradition of the old people of this Island." The synod and tradition
were not strong in Columbus genealogy when they referred to Louis
Columbus as the brother instead of the grandson of the Discoverer, and
it is noticeable that no mention is made of the son Diego Columbus. It
may be remarked, in passing, that the body of Bartholomew Columbus,
brother of the Admiral, was deposited in the convent of San Francisco
in Santo Domingo, upon his death in 1514, and while some writers
suggest it may have been taken to Spain, there is nothing to indicate
that it was ever given sepulture in the cathedral of Santo Domingo.

After the lapse of another century tradition referred to two
sepulchres, one of Christopher Columbus, on the right side of the
altar, the other of his brother or son, on the left side of the altar.
Moreau de Saint-Mery, a French diplomat and statesman, who lived in
the French colony of St. Domingue for some years during the decade of
1780 to 1790, in his book "Description de la partie espagnole de
l'isle Saint-Domingue" states that, being desirous of obtaining
accurate information with reference to the tomb of Columbus, he
addressed himself to Jose Solano, an ex-governor of the colony, then
in command of a fleet in the insular waters; that this official wrote
a letter to his successor in the governorship, Isidoro Peralta, and
that he received the following answer:

"SANTO DOMINGO, March 29, 1783.

"_My very dear friend and patron:_

"I have received the kind letter of Your Excellency of the 13th of this
month, and did not answer immediately in order to have time to
ascertain the details it requests relative to Christopher Columbus,
and also in order to enjoy the satisfaction of serving Your Excellency
as far as is in my power and to permit Your Excellency to have the
satisfaction of obliging the friend who has asked for those details.

"With respect to Christopher Columbus, although the insects destroy
the papers in this country and have converted whole archives into
lace-work, I hope nevertheless to remit to Your Excellency the proof
that the bones of Columbus are in a leaden box, enclosed in a stone
box which is buried in the sanctuary on the side of the gospels and
that those of Bartholomew Columbus, his brother, repose on the side of
the epistles in the same manner and under the same precautions. Those
of Christopher Columbus were transported from Seville, where they had
been deposited in the pantheon of the dukes of Alcala after having
been taken there from Valladolid, and where they remained until their
transport here.

"About two months ago, in working in the church, a piece of thick wall
was thrown down and immediately reconstructed. This fortuitous event
was the occasion of finding the box of which I have spoken, and which,
although without inscriptions, was known, according to a constant and
invariable tradition, to contain the remains of Columbus. In addition
I am having a search made to see whether in the church archives or
those of the government some document can be found which will furnish
details on this point; and the canons have seen and stated that the
greater part of the bones were reduced to dust and that bones of the
forearm had been distinguished.

"I send Your Excellency also a list of all the archbishops which this
island has had and which is more interesting than that of its
presidents, for I am assured that the first is complete, while in the
second there are voids produced by the insects of which I have spoken
and which attack some papers in preference to others.

"I also refer to the buildings, the temples, the beauty of the ruins
and the motive which determined the transfer of this city to the west
bank of the river which constitutes its port. But with reference to
the plan requested by the note there is a real difficulty, as this is
forbidden me as governor; the superior understanding of Your
Excellency will comprehend the reasons, etc."

The documents sent by Governor Peralta were as follows:

"I, Jose Nunez de Caceres, doctor in sacred theology of the pontifical
and royal University of the Angelical St. Thomas d'Acquino, dignitary
dean of this holy metropolitan church, primate of the Indies, do
certify that the sanctuary of this holy cathedral having been torn
down on January 30 last, for reconstruction, there was found, on the
side of the platform where the gospels are chanted, and near the door
where the stairs go up to the capitular room, a stone coffer, hollow,
of cubical form and about a yard high, enclosing a leaden urn, a
little damaged, which contained several human bones. Several years
ago, under the same circumstances and I so certify, there was found on
the side of the epistles, another similar stone box, and according to
the tradition handed down by the old men of the country and a chapter
of the synod of this holy cathedral, that on the side of the gospels
is reputed to enclose the bones of the Admiral Christopher Columbus
and that on the side of the epistles, those of his brother, nor has it
been possible to verify whether they are those of his brother
Bartholomew or of Diego Columbus, son of the admiral. In testimony
whereof I have delivered the present in Santo Domingo, April 20, 1783.

JOSE NUNEZ DE CACERES."

An identical certificate, signed by Manuel Sanchez, was also sent, as
well as a third which reads as follows:

"I, Pedro de Galvez, schoolmaster, dignitary canon of this cathedral,
primate of the Indies, do certify that the sanctuary having been
overthrown in order to be reconstructed there was found on the side of
the platform where the gospels are chanted, a stone coffer with a
leaden urn, a little damaged, which contained human bones; and it is
remembered that there is another of the same kind on the side of the
epistles; and according to the report of the old men of the country
and a chapter of the synod of this holy cathedral that on the side of
the gospels encloses the bones of the Admiral Christopher Columbus,
and that on the side of the epistles those of his brother Bartholomew.
In witness whereof I have delivered the present on April 26, 1783.

PEDRO DE GALVEZ."

The certificates were not carefully drafted, for in speaking of the
rebuilding of the sanctuary only the interior thereof, probably only
the platform, was referred to, and from a notarial document of
December 21, 1795, quoted below, it is evident that by coffer was
meant a vault and that the word urn was used synonymously with box.
The papers give eloquent testimony of the uncertainty in which the
eminent men's remains were involved. Governor Peralta died in 1786 and
was interred under the altar platform near the supposed remains of
Columbus. In 1787, when Moreau de St. Mery endeavored to find the
official record of the find of 1783, it had already disappeared.

In 1795 Spain ceded to France the entire Spanish part of Santo
Domingo, and in evacuating the island the Spanish authorities
determined to carry with them the remains of the great Discoverer. It
is to be assumed that there were still persons connected with the
cathedral who could point out the location of the vault accidentally
discovered twelve years before and that as tradition referred to only
one vault on that side of the altar, the remains contained therein
were extracted without further investigation. The description of the
vault opened tallies with that of the vault found in 1783. The
document attesting the embarking of these remains reads as
follows: "I, the undersigned clerk of the King, our Lord, in charge of
the office of the chamber of this Royal Audiencia, do certify that on
the twentieth day of December of the current year, there being in this
holy cathedral the Commissioner Gregorio Savinon, perpetual member and
dean of the very illustrious municipal council of this city, and in
the presence of the most illustrious and reverend friar Fernando
Portillo y Torres, most worthy Archbishop of this metropolitan see; of
His Excellency Gabriel de Aristizabal, Lieutenant-General of the royal
navy of His Majesty; of Antonio Cansi, Brigadier in charge of the fort
of this city; of Antonio Barba, Field-marshal and Commander of
Engineers; of Ignacio de la Rocha, Lieutenant-colonel and
Sergeant-major of this city, and of other persons of rank and
distinction, a vault was opened which is in the sanctuary on the side
of the gospel (between) the main wall and the pedestal of the main
altar, which is one cubic yard in size, and in the same there were
found several plates of lead, about one tercio in length, indicating
that there had been a box of the said metal, and pieces of bone as of
the tibia or other parts of some deceased person, and they were
collected in a salver that was filled with the earth, which by the
fragments of small bone it contained and its color could be seen to
belong to that dead body; and everything was placed in an ark of
gilded lead with iron lock, which being closed its key was delivered
to the said illustrious Archbishop, and which box is about half a yard
long and wide and in height something more than a quarter of a yard,
whereupon it was transferred to a small coffin lined with black
velvet, and adorned with gold trimmings, and was placed on a decent
catafalque.

"On the following day with the presence of the same illustrious
Archbishop, His Excellency Aristizabal, the communities of Dominicans,
Franciscans and Mercenarians, military and naval officers, and a
concourse of distinguished persons, and people of the lower classes,
mass was solemnly said and fasting enjoined, whereupon the same
illustrious Archbishop preached.

"On this day, about half past four o'clock in the afternoon there
came to the holy cathedral the gentlemen of the Royal Order, to wit,
Joaquin Garcia, Fieldmarshal, President-Governor and Captain-General
of this Island of Espanola; Jose Antonio de Vrisar, knight of the
royal and distinguished order of Charles the Third, Minister of the
royal and supreme council of the Indies and at present Regent of the
Royal Audiencia; Justices Pedro Catani, dean; Manuel Bravo, likewise
knight of the royal and distinguished order of Charles the Third, and
with honors and seniority in the Royal Audiencia of Mexico; Melchor
Joseph de Foncerrada and Andres Alvarez Calderon, state's attorney;
there being in the cathedral the most illustrious and reverend
Archbishop, His Excellency Gabriel de Aristizabal, the municipal
council and religious communities, and a complete picket with draped
banner, and taking the wooden box covered with plush and gold
trimmings, in the interior of which was the box of gilded lead, which
contained the remains exhumed on the preceding day, the President
Joaquin Garcia, the Regent Joseph Antonio de Vrisar and the Justices,
Dean Pedro Catani and Manuel Bravo conducted it to a little before the
exit through the door of the said holy church, where the President and
Regent separated, passed to their respective places and were
substituted by Justice Foncerrada and Calderon, state's attorney, and
upon leaving the church it was saluted by the said picket with a
discharge of musketry, and there followed the Fieldmarshal and
Commander of Engineers Antonio Barba, the Brigadier and Commander of
militia Joaquin Cabrera, the Brigadier and Commander of the fort
Antonio Cansi, and the colonel of the regiment 'Cantabria,' Gaspar de
Casasola, and thereafter the military officers alternated according to
their grade and seniority until reaching the city gate which leads to
the harbor, where their places were taken by the members of the very
illustrious municipal council of this city, dean Gregorio Savinon,
Miguel Martinez Santalices, Francisco de Tapia and Francisco de
Arredondo, judge of the rural court, and upon emerging from the gate
it was placed upon a table prepared therefor; a response was chanted
and during the same the forts saluted it with fifteen minute guns, as
for an admiral, and one after another took the key of the ark and
through the said illustrious Archbishop placed it in the hands of His
Excellency Aristizabal, stating that they delivered the ark into his
possession subject to the orders of the Governor of Havana as a
deposit until His Majesty should determine what may be his royal
pleasure, to which His Excellency acceded, accepting the ark in the
manner stated and transferring it aboard the brigantine 'Descubridor,'
which, with the other war-vessels waiting with insignia of mourning,
also saluted it with fifteen guns, whereupon this certificate was
concluded and signed by the parties.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
13,273
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Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
"Santo Domingo, December 21, 1795. Joaquin Garcia. Friar Fernando,
Archbishop of Santo Domingo. Gabriel de Aristizabal. Gregorio Savinon.
Jose Francisco Hidalgo."

The brief account of the remains when everything else was related with
such detail leads to the logical conclusion that there was no epitaph
on the vault and no inscription on the leaden plates found within. The
Spanish judicial chronicler's habit of minute description would not
have permitted the omission of such important particulars, if they
had existed.

The remains were transferred to Havana where their reception was even
more solemn than their embarkation in Santo Domingo. On January 19,
1796, they were landed amid the booming of guns, conducted in state by
the civil and military authorities and a large concourse to the plaza,
and deposited on a magnificent bier in the shadow of the column
erected where, according to tradition, the first mass was said in
Havana and the first municipal council met. Here the ark was formally
delivered to the Governor of Havana, who had it opened and its
contents inspected, whereupon it was again closed and transferred with
great pomp to the cathedral. The key was there delivered to the bishop
and the remains deposited in a sepulchre with suitable bas-reliefs
and inscriptions. The notarial narrative of the event goes into the
most minute particulars, but the contents of the ark are merely
described as "several leaden plates nearly a tercio in length, several
small pieces of bone as of some deceased person, and some earth which
seemed to be of that body."

For over eighty years it was generally accepted in Santo Domingo, as
throughout the world, that the bones of Columbus rested in the
cathedral of Havana. There were, indeed, persons who handed down a
tradition that the remains taken away by the Spaniards were not those
of the great navigator and that these still remained under the altar
platform in the Santo Domingo cathedral, but such persons were very
few and no attention was paid to their allegations. Some Dominicans
even called on the Spanish government to return the remains and let
them be laid to rest in Dominican soil in accordance with the
Discoverer's dying wish. In the meantime no one thought of the tombs
of Diego Columbus or Louis Columbus, nor was it remembered that they
were buried in the cathedral.

In the year 1877 extensive repairs were undertaken in the cathedral of
Santo Domingo. The worn brick flooring was to be replaced with marble
squares, the old choir was to be torn down and a choir established
elsewhere in the church, and the altar platform was to be extended
into the church proper and reduced in height. Shortly after the work
had begun, a heavy bronze image kept in the vestry--which adjoined the
sanctuary on the side opposite that where the remains were exhumed in
1795--was, on May 14, 1877, placed in a doorway long closed leading to
the sanctuary. In doing so it was noticed that a hollow sound came
from the wall adjoining and in order to ascertain the cause a small
opening was made in the wall about a yard above the floor. It was then
seen that there was a small vault under the altar platform of the
church, and that the vault contained a metal box with human remains.
Canon Billini, in charge of the cathedral, immediately ordered that
the opening be closed until the return of the bishop from a pastoral
visit to the Cibao. The hole was hidden behind a curtain and no
immediate attention given to it. Towards the end of June Mr. Carlos
Nouel, a friend of Canon Billini, obtained permission to look in at
the box and deciphered a rude inscription reading, "El Almirante D.
Luis Colon, Duque de Veragua, Marques de--" "The Admiral Don Louis
Columbus, Duke of Veragua, Marquis of--." The last word was missing
because of a hole in the corroded leaden plate, but was supposed to be
"Jamaica." At this time the box was broken, because several days
before in placing a scaffold in the church one of the posts had been
located over the box and had broken through. The persons who
afterwards sought to draw out the box pulled to overcome the obstacle
and tore the weak plates apart entirely.

The bishop returned on August 18, 1877, and being informed of what had
happened, on September 1 invited the Cabinet officers, the consular
corps and a number of civil and military authorities and private
persons to witness the removal of the remains of Louis Columbus. To
the chagrin of the bishop and canon, it was found that the plate with
the inscription had been stolen. Probably shamed by ever increasing
popular indignation, the grave-robber anonymously returned it on
December 14, 1879, by leaving it in the cathedral door in a package
addressed to the archbishop. The other plates with the earth and
pieces of bone were carefully collected.


[Illustration: SANCTUARY OF CATHEDRAL IN SEPTEMBER, 1877
(Scale; 1 centimeter = 1 meter)

1. Vault containing remains of Christopher Colombus.
2. Vault opened by Spaniards in 1795.
3. Vault containing remains of Louis Columbus.
4. Pedestal of main altar.
5. Door leading to vestry.
6. Door leading to capitular room.
7. Location of containing wall of old altar platform, as it existed
in 1540.
8. Location of stairs which in 1540 led up to altar platform.
9. Tribune of the Gospels.
10. Tribune of the Epistles.
11. Steps of altar platform.
12. Grave of Juan Sanchez Ramirez. Isidore Peralta had also been
buried at this spot.]


The unexpected finding of the long forgotten remains of the grandson
of the Admiral recalled the tradition that the Discoverer's body still
remained in Santo Domingo, and several gentlemen, among them the
Italian consul, requested the bishop to take advantage of the
repairing of the church for a thorough investigation of the altar
platform in order to ascertain whether it contained any other notable
graves. The bishop gave his consent, and the investigation commenced
on September 8, under the direction of Canon Billini. Digging was
begun near the door of the capitular room and in a short time an
unmarked grave was found containing human remains and military
insignia. It was proven by witnesses that they were the remains of
Juan Sanchez Ramirez, Captain-General of Santo Domingo, who died on
February 12, 1811, and was buried in the same place where had been the
grave of General Isidore Peralta. A narrow wall was then encountered
which was afterwards found to be the containing wall of the ancient
altar platform. On the ninth, a Sunday, the work went on during the
morning with the permission of the bishop. An excavation was made at
the place where, according to tradition, the remains taken to Havana
had lain and soon a small vault was discovered quite empty. It was
evidently the vault opened by the Spaniards in 1795. The examination
was continued between this vault and the main altar, but nothing new
was encountered, whereupon the work was left to be resumed on the
following day, rather with the hope of finding something of Diego
Columbus, for the empty vault seemed to show that the remains of
Christopher Columbus were really removed in 1795.