Christopher Columbus: Master Double Agent and Portugal’s 007
Henry IV of Spain – known as "The Impotent" for his weakness, both on the throne and (allegedly) in the marriage chamber – died in 1474. A long and inconclusive war of succession ensued, pitting supporters of Henry's 13-year-old heir, Juana de Trastámara, against a faction led by Princess Isabel of Castile and her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon. Portugal, Spain's much smaller antagonist for centuries already, sided with the loyalists.
Wedding portrait of King Ferdinand II of Aragón and Queen Isabella of Castile. ( Public Domain )
The civil war ended in 1480, with the Treaty of Alcáçovas/Toledo, whereby Portugal withdrew support for Juana; in exchange, Isabel and Fernando promised not to encroach on South Atlantic trade routes that Portugal had long been exploring and wished to monopolize.
Treaty Not Worth Much
Spain immediately began to violate the Treaty of Alcáçovas. Portugal's gold trade with Ghana was a powerful enticement, but the Spanish were also lured by the priceless knowledge that Portugal had painstakingly gathered about the currents, territories, winds and heavenly bodies relative to the Atlantic regions. The Portuguese were far advanced in the sciences of geography and navigation pertaining to the Atlantic Ocean, both south and west of Portugal itself.
Meanwhile, John II ascended to the throne of Portugal in 1481, reversing the policies of his father, another weak, late-Medieval ruler who'd surrendered excessive estates and privileges to the nobility.
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Large swaths of the noble class rebelled, but John II was an astute diplomat, with powerful alliances among the military and religious orders across Europe, along with an extensive network of spies. He sprang a trap on his adversaries, capturing and executing the ring leader.
John II of Portugal. ( Public Domain )
Queen Isabel supported the traitors in Portugal, having obtained their promise to annul the Treaty of Alcáçovas. When the conspiracy was exposed, numerous traitors among the Portuguese nobility fled to Spain, where they found asylum, along with a base from which to continue their hostilities against John II. Prominent among the defectors were two nephews of the highly-born wife of Christopher Columbus – who would himself sacrifice the next twenty years of his life to join this exodus, faking desertion to his sovereign's most bitter foe. The internecine strife was so keen that after another occasion when his agents had tipped him off, which resulted in John II personally executing the Duke of Viseu, he threatened to charge his own wife with treason for weeping over her brother.
The Mother of All Secrets
It's now been amply proven that evidence of hostility between Columbus and John II was fabricated. Columbus was, in fact, a member of John II's inner circle, in addition to being one of the most seasoned of all Portuguese mariners. After his false defection to Spain, Columbus attended three secret meetings with John II, the second of these, in 1488, being prompted by the mother of all maritime secrets: Dias having rounded the Cape of Good Hope, thereby establishing the shortest route to India by sea.
Christopher Columbus was arrested at Santo Domingo in 1500 by Francisco de Bobadilla and returned to Spain, along with his two brothers, in chains. (Source: Usuaris)
Now, the Holy Grail of all commercial bonanzas was a sea route to the riches of India – sought because Christendom was at war with Islam, and Muslim armies blocked the much shorter land routes across the Middle East. What the most knowledgeable Portuguese pilots knew was top secret, state of the art, a scientific prize for international espionage.
The Portuguese discovered numerous territories and routes during the 15th and 16th centuries. Cantino planisphere, made by an anonymous cartographer in 1502. ( Public Domain )
The Portuguese had been the first Europeans to launch expeditions in search of the Equator, which they reached around 1470, discovering while they were at it, the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. By 1485, expert Portuguese technicians had invented charts and tables – based on the height of the sun at the Equator – which allowed navigators to determine their location in the daytime. While King John II was keeping Columbus up to date with all of the cutting-edge developments in maritime science, he was at the same time spreading so much disinformation elsewhere—among friends and foes alike— that we are still unraveling it.
This secret letter, written by King John II was found in Columbus’ archives. Here is the exterior, addressed in the hand of King John II to, “Xpovam Collon, our special friend in Seville.” (Via author)
John II’s agents spent years pursuing the most important traitors across Spain, France and England. With that in view, the following comparison is revealing. Both Columbus and his nephew Don Lopo de Albuquerque (Count of Penamacor) fled Portugal at the same time, took refuge at Isabel's court under false identities, and fostered invasions of the Portuguese Atlantic monopoly from foreign shores. Lopo was tenaciously pursued, finally cornered in Seville and assassinated; in contrast, Columbus disposed of Portuguese secrets, exchanged letters covertly with King John II throughout his eight-year residence in Spain, stopped in Portugal on three of his four voyages, and lied to the Spanish Monarchs about these secret contacts.
A Secret Identity
Christopher Columbus is the garbled pseudonym of a very wellborn, learned, seafaring Portuguese nobleman. The antidote to all subsequent confusion about this man's true identity and character is simply to recognize that the news of his "discovery," which broke like a thunderbolt across the rest of Europe, was in fact nothing more than the release of information that the Portuguese had been hoarding for decades, laced with a linguistic insinuation that Spain had just pioneered the shortest route to India .
Everything Falls into Place
This new perspective on Columbus – as a Portuguese double agent – results in a major paradigm shift. All of the lies perpetrated by Columbus, his family, and the royal chroniclers suddenly begin to make sense as elements in a single, grand design, whose architect was King John II.
It is remarkable that the wave of treasons occurring in Portugal during the mid-1480s – engaging both Queen Isabel and Columbus so deeply – has never been linked by Portuguese historians to the biography of Columbus. Yet, no serious historian today accepts that Columbus was the first European to reach the Americas. There is no excuse any longer for maintaining that he was, or for sustaining the obsolete, pseudo-historical pretense that Columbus invented the idea of sailing west or that he ever really believed he'd landed in India.
The secret Memorial Portugués, advising Queen Isabel that Portugal engineered the Treaty of Tordesillas specifically to safeguard the best territories for herself. Note how King John II is called (A) “an evil devil,” malvado diablo , and (B) how the “Indies,” Indias, that Columbus visited are described as NOT the real India. (Via author)
Having skirted the western lands from Canada to Argentina, the Portuguese understood there were no established commercial ports, no ready-made commercial goods, and was thus no trade potential there to compare with that of India. Columbus – and his many other co-conspirators in Spain, easily identified in retrospect – guarded these secrets faithfully, secrets they had to be privy to if they would guide the Spanish Monarchs to the counterfeit of India.
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The trade for gold and other goods along the west coast of Africa was immensely profitable, but still more jealously guarded was knowledge that the sea route to India lay also in this direction. The Portuguese were intent on keeping Spanish ships out of these waters. With both war and treaties having failed, John II and Columbus launched an audacious ruse to obtain their objective through less obvious means.
Martin Behaim’s globe ( CC BY-SA 2.0 de ) intentionally placed the Azores islands, where Behaim lived and was married, on top of the Americas. This made Asia appear much closer to Europe than it really is, thus supporting the project that Columbus was advocating for. Map of Atlantic Ocean ( Public Domain /Deriv)
How History is Shaped
Colossal planning, nerve, and effort went into this accomplishment – seven years of convincing knowledgeable skeptics that the voyage was possible, outfitting a fleet and loading it with merchandise for trade (including cinnamon that would later be presented as evidence of contact with India). On a secret mission to Germany, Martim Behaim, another Templar knight member of the Portuguese Order of Christ, built a false globe based on Toscanelli's theory that East Asia lay just across the Atlantic. This globe still exists; it is the oldest one in the world. Genuine Portuguese traitors warned the Spanish Monarchs that they were being deceived.
The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), observed fairly well by both sides, achieved John II's strategic objective: to engage the Spanish in the west while keeping them out of those regions that Portugal wished to dominate. Its effect on the linguistic, racial and cultural substance of an immense portion of the globe has scarcely been rivaled by any other treaty between two nations. No single factor did more to realize this outcome than the erudite seamanship, cunning, ruthless persistence, loyalty and sangfroid of the man whom we still remember today as "Christopher Columbus," a real-life 007, who died 511 years ago, on May 20th, 1506.
Cover from the master spy and sailor's Book of Privileges , which clearly shows that the owner's pseudonym was "Colon." An international transmission of the stunning "discovery," in March of 1493, distorted the name in such a fashion as to leave us with "Columbus" in English today. Technically speaking, "Colón" as the Spanish still call him, is correct, and it will someday most likely replace "Columbus" in common usage. (Via author)
This brief synopsis by Manuel Rosa and Bob Lamming touches on just one astonishing dimension of what's revealed in Manuel Rosa's paradigm-busting Columbus: The Untold Story , double-winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award: in World History and Historical Biography. | Find out more at www.Columbus-Book.com
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Top Image: Portrait attributed as Christopher Columbus (Public Domain) Deriv.
By Manuel Rosa