Christopher Columbus Finding The New Jerusalem And King Solomon’s Ophir
Cristobal Colón was born in mid-1460 as the illegitimate son of Prince Carlos (Charles IV) of Viana, Spain, and Margarita Colón, of a prominent Jewish family in the ghetto of the Island of Mallorca, near the village of Genova. He took on the identity of Cristoforo Colombo, a wool merchant - born in the latter half of 1451, to Dominick and Susana Colombo in Genoa (Italian “Genova”) in the Liguria section of Italy - whom he had met on a ship, and so became ‘ Chrisopher Columbus’ . The question is why did he conceal his identity?
In the 13th century King James I of Aragon, also known as James the Conqueror, had launched an invasion into Mallorca and on December 31, 1229 Mallorca, birth place of Cristobal Colón, became part of Christian Spain. It should be remembered that Spain was only liberated from the Moors in early 1492. Because of the close collaboration between Jews and Moslems in Spain, Jews were persecuted by the Spanish crown and officially expelled from Spain at that time. In fact, the day that all Jews were to have left Spain under penalty of law, was the very day that Columbus had set sail for the Indies, August 3, 1492. If was safer and more lucrative to take on the name of a Genoese sea-fearer, than being persecuted for being Jewish.
The Search For King Solomon’s Ophir
Was Christopher Columbus looking for a new homeland for the exiled Spanish Jews, or perhaps searching for a lost Jewish city or Kingdom on the other side of the Atlantic? Perhaps he was doing both.
In the 12-volume set, Life of Christopher Columbus , it says that Columbus’ son wrote of his father: “ Their progenitors were of the Royal Blood of Jerusalem .” (Vol. 12, page 2) This statement makes one think that Colón/Columbus was deeply concerned with ancient Jewish history. Did he believe himself to be a descendent of King Solomon and other Biblical kings? Perhaps he believed that he was rediscovering the Biblical land of Ophir which had made King Solomon rich. He may also have been looking for a lost Jewish colony across the Atlantic and a new country with a New Jerusalem in which all of the Jews expelled from Spain might take refuge.
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David Hatcher Childress , is a captivating speaker and the author or coauthor of over 20 books. He is the founder of the World Explorer’s Club . He is the author of Pirates and the Lost Templar Fleet: The Secret Naval War Between the Knights Templar and the Vatican
Top Image : Christopher Columbus before the Catholic Monarchs at the court of Barcelona (V. Turgis, 19th century ) ( Public Domain )