Christopher Columbus was a royal prince, son of a Portuguese noble lady and exiled Polish King Władysław III, according to Columbus’ new biography, COLON. La Historia Nunca Contada (COLUMBUS. The Untold Story), by Manuel Rosa, just released in Spain.
There have been several different theories that suggest Columbus did not come from Genoa, Italy, including that he was Scottish, Catalan, and even Jewish. Manuel Rose, a researcher from Duke University, has spent 20 years working investigating this story and believes that the true identity of Christopher Columbus was hidden in order to protect his father from being discovered. It is believed that Władysław III, king of Poland from 1434 and Hungary from 1440, died in 1444 at the Battle of Varna.
Rosa suggests that the king survived the battle with the Ottomans, fled to live in exile on the island of Madeira where he was known as “Henry the German” and married a Portuguese noblewoman. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Rosa explained, “The courts of Europe knew who he was and kept his secret for their own reasons. Our whole understanding of Christopher Columbus has for 500 years been based on misinformation. We couldn’t solve the mystery because we were looking for the wrong man, following lies that were spread intentionally to hide his true identity.”
In formulating this new argument, the author utilizes medieval documents and chronicles from multiple kingdoms to cross-reference historical events and personalities, plus ancient genealogy and heraldry. He notes some interesting facts, including that Columbus was married to a high noble Portuguese lady in 1479, 15 years before the first voyage, and that both he and his brother had direct access to four European courts – hardly the life of Genoese peasants. Rosa also believes that a will dated 1498 in which Columbus is said to have written “being I born in Genoa” is actually a forgery.
Rosa also finds that Columbus’s coat of arms looks very similar to that of the Polish king and that a painting of the explorer shows a crown is hidden on his sleeve. Her also explains that the Columbus’ appearance – “reddish-haired, fair skinned and blue eyed – all features commonly found in Poland.”
Several historians based at the University of Lisbon agree with Rosa’s findings. Professor Antonio Vicente states, “For the first time ever a book was written about Columbus without starting from any preconceived certainties and every piece of the puzzle is explained point by point.”
“I never started out to look for Columbus,” says Rosa, who works at Duke University in North Carolina. “It was Columbus who came looking for me.” His journey began fortuitously with the translation of Mascarenhas Barreto’s 1988 book about a Portuguese secret agent.
Like the rest of the world, Rosa thought the history of Columbus was settled long ago. But this new book, by “the sheer weight of the evidence presented makes the old tale of a Genoese wool-weaver so obviously unbelievable that only a fool would continue to insist on it.”
“Another nutty conspiracy theory! That’s what I first supposed as I started to read … I now believe that if Columbus is guilty of huge fraud carried out over two decades against his patrons,” wrote professor James T. McDonough, Jr., who taught at St. Joseph’s University for 31 years.
Rosa is now hoping that Polish authorities will open the tomb of King Władysław II in Krakow, so he could obtain a DNA sample of the monarch to compare that with research on people with the surname Columbus.