Columbus mystery nearly solved 500 years after death

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Columbus mystery nearly solved 500 years after death

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.

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This is interesting, I never knew there was a dispute about Columbus's origins. We may find out for sure in May.

Replicas of the Pinta, Santa Maria, and Nina set sail from the southern Spanish port...

columbuship.jpg - 35.41kb
By YCON: posted on 11-3-2006

Neat, I knew he was foreign, but didn't know about the disputes. Magellen was also foreign and had to persuade the Spanish royalty before he was able to sail as well.

Seems that ships and resources needed were really expensive and took a toll on the money that was around. Spain had to borrow money to get Magellen's ships.
By netchicken: posted on 11-3-2006

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