End of the Enigmatic Christopher Columbus: A Man at Last Emerges to Eradicate the Myth
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Another sub-myth that crumbles is Colón's hatred of King João II. Colón sacrificed his last 22 years – giving up domestic happiness and the life of a minor prince – to play a very high-stakes game of betrayal against the most powerful rulers of his time, to lie and commit atrocities, all in the loyal service of his beloved King João II.
Maps and Logs
Nor was Colón ever lost at sea, or delivered haphazardly to safe harbor at Lisbon in a storm. He made a beeline for his destinations every time, back and forth. The accounts in his logbooks and correspondence can be interpreted consistently with this claim. Colón kept secret from his own men (with few exceptions) the methods he used to find his way at sea.
The "discoverer" of America owned a copy of Ptolemy’s Geographia, published in Rome in 1478, which included this map, representing the half of the globe that was then known. Note the added labels, in white, where we indicate the mouths of the River Indus, to the west, and Ganges to the east. The territory between these two rivers had been known as "India" for thousands of years. (From The New York Public Library, DigitalCollections.nypl.org)
Among the many revealing personal effects Colón left behind is the ancient map of Ptolemy, showing half the globe. 1300 years after they were drawn, these borders of the known world had not been significantly extended. However, as far back as Ptolemy’s time, the circumference of the Earth had been calculated with tolerable accuracy, and Colón's state-of-the-art navigational expertise was at least that advanced.
Thus, Colón knew perfectly well as he sailed due west for the first time that he'd reach landfall five time zones away – and that another ten time zones lay between the New World and India. Referring to the inhabitants Colón encountered as "Indians" was just another pebble in his mosaic of deception. The whole purpose of his trickery was to send the Spanish on a wild goose chase, leaving Portugal as the undisputed master of the Spice Trade with the real India.
The landmark Waldseemüller map of 1507 represents Earth as a sphere for the first time. It fits Ptolemy's known half of the world like a glove sliding onto a hand – with the mouth of the Ganges (black arrow) still exactly nine time zones east of the Canaries and far west of Ptolemy's eastern limit (white arrow). (Map from James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota callouts added by Manuel Rosa)
Simple arithmetic confirms that Colón understood what he was doing. The top secret science of his day assured that he'd make landfall a mere five time zones west of Portugal. This left seven additional time zones to the line of Sinae, Ptolemy’s easternmost border of the known world, and still another three time zones to the mouth of the Ganges. (Map from James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota callouts added by Manuel Rosa)
None of this does more than hint at the great variety of evidence and keen analysis that's now poised to demolish the old "Columbus," setting in his place an infinitely better focused and more believable – yet even more stupendous – figure.
Who Really Was Columbus?
The last big question in this whole tableau is: Who, exactly, was the man that left his homeland in his late-20s, under the false identity of Cristóbal Colón? A prime suspect has been identified, and DNA analysis is bound to confirm it.
Colón definitely married an elite resident of a convent belonging to the Military Order of Santiago, and thus it may not stretch credulity to identify his mother as a member of the Portuguese high nobility. But to claim that Colón's father was none other than the young Polish king long believed to have fallen in battle against the Muslims at Varna, Bulgaria, in 1444, sounds even more fantastic than pegging the world's most famous admiral as the unlettered son of an Italian peasant. But this is what a mass of reliable data now clearly points to.
The conspiracy to hide Cristóbal Colón's Portuguese origins was international in scope, including even (amazingly) the Spanish monarchs he betrayed. His coded signature is a puzzle unto itself and still remains to be fully deciphered. On the lower line is written his chosen pseudonym ": XpoFERENS ./” [colon (:) Christopher semi-colon (;)] (La Real Academia de la Historia, Biblioteca San Román)