End of the Enigmatic Christopher Columbus: A Man at Last Emerges to Eradicate the Myth
Deceptions and a Double Agent
The mass of circumstantial evidence – drawn from a stunning range of sources, periods and locations – is overwhelming. Professor of history Trevor Hall agrees that Colón was a double agent, working against the Spanish monarchs on behalf of Portuguese King João II. Lusófona University's José Calazans supports Rosa’s conclusions, regarding Colón’s very high birth and his relations to a swath of European royalty. In 2012, the president of the Portuguese Academy of History publicly confirmed that Colón was a Portuguese-born nobleman.
Portuguese King João II. ( Public Domain )
Running down and cross-referencing hundreds of documents from hundreds of years ago, in various archaic languages, was itself a mindboggling feat (not to mention knowing what to look for). But that was only the groundwork for analyzing and interpreting this data.
The task was made more difficult by the fact that deceptions abounded from the start. Even if we limit ourselves to Colón's own, extensive writings, the reality behind his records must be filtered through an appreciation of who Colón was lying to and who he was conveying essential truth to by cryptic means. Similarly, on the other side of the ledger – to choose just one example – the chronicler Rui de Pina, serving a Portuguese monarch now in the pocket of the Spanish throne, left in the very falsity of his writings clues whose correct interpretation shows that Cristóbal Colón's identity and role were being censored at the highest levels of state.
This paradigm shift – identifying Colón as a double agent, and emphasizing his hitherto neglected Portuguese background – brings all the relevant data suddenly into a state of coherence, whereas "Columbus" had always been enigmatic, notwithstanding the (grossly inaccurate) consensus built up around his pseudo-identity.
Secret Messages and Puzzling Artifacts
Another dimension of consistently supportive clues exists in the form of artifacts. Among the many who played some role in Colón's original conspiracy, there were able schemers who left furtive messages for posterity to decipher – hoping that the great events of their times might be rightly understood someday, when the political imperative for secrecy would have passed. Thus, the inscription on a tombstone, the peculiarities of a signature, the details in a painted portrait, or a figure in a chapel's ceiling mural – all subject to analysis – add still more, neatly-fitting pieces of the puzzle.
Painting depicting Christopher Columbus on Santa Maria in 1492. ( Public Domain )
Other evidentiary artifacts emerged without pre-planning. We know Colón was lying to the Spanish monarchs – for instance – through his account of how the Santa Maria had been lost. The ship's anchor, now on display in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is concrete proof of his duplicity, as it would not have been recoverable (by the natives in 1493) if Colón's account of the ship’s sinking were true.
The Santa Maria’s huge anchor: inside the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The anchor was located onshore when the Europeans returned on November 22, 1493. (Photo Manuel Rosa, 2015)
There is yet a further layer to assimilate in triangulating all of the uncertainty away.
Islam and Christendom were at war. Constantinople had fallen in 1453. The immensely lucrative Spice Trade between Europe and India was controlled and exploited by the Muslims, who had expanded into the Indian Ocean. Portugal sought an alternate route to the greatest riches of the age. Hence, the arts and cutting-edge technologies of seamanship were sought after and guarded as state secrets in Portugal, where these sciences were unsurpassed.
The Death of old Myths
As the old "Columbus" mythology collapses, one big sub-myth to go down with it is the notion that Europeans knew little or nothing of the Americas prior to Colón's First Voyage. The Portuguese could never have discovered the Azores, a generation before Colón was born, were it true that sailors never left sight of land. In fact, premier navigators that they were, the Portuguese knew of the Antilles, South America, and even the easternmost longitude of Brazil before Colón's First Voyage.
Sometimes there exist various ways of proving such facts. In this case, the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) may be instructive.
Original page from the Tratado de Tordesilhas - Treaty of Tordesillas. ( Public Domain )
Who got what and who wasn't allowed to sail where is perfectly consistent with the other evidence. In fact, King João II of Portugal ran a brilliant, international network of spies and agents, a study of which can be made to show that the terms of this monumental treaty, dividing the known world between two superpowers, had been aimed for long in advance and cunningly realized by this most anti-Spanish of all Portuguese kings. João II had suffered a wave of betrayals and defections early in his rather brief career. He deftly took advantage of this treason to slip his own, small army of double agents into the Spanish inner circles. Cristóbal Colón was foremost among them.