Christopher Columbus Finding The New Jerusalem And King Solomon’s Ophir

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Christopher Columbus before the Catholic Monarchs at the court of Barcelona (V. Turgis, 19th century )  (Public Domain)

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?

Colombo (baritono), costume design for ‘Cristoforo Colombo act 1’ by Adolfo Hohenstein (1918) (Archivio Storico Ricordi / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Colombo (baritono), costume design for ‘Cristoforo Colombo act 1’ by Adolfo Hohenstein (1918) (Archivio Storico Ricordi / CC BY-SA 4.0)

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.


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