THE PORTUGUESE WHO DISCOVERED AMERICA
Much has been written since 1927 about the hidden secrets or half-truths involved in the saga of the voyages of discovery for over five hundred years.
Among the writers on the subject we can cite Patrocínio Ribeiro, Pestana Junior, Francisco Pinto Cabral, Roiz do Quental, Arthur de Vasconcellos, Mascarenhas Barreto, Manuel da Silva Rosa, Eric J. Steele, Julieta Marques, Janina Zofia Klawe, Paulo Loução, José Ferreira Coelho, Jorge Preto and Carlos Calado, as well as Manuel Luciano da Silva and Sílvia Jorge da Silva, whose work inspired Manoel de Oliveira to make a movie.
The subject was so fascinating that it led José Rodrigues dos Santos to write a competent novel about the Portuguese citizen Salvador Fernandes Zarco who under the pseudonym of Christopher Columbus, discovered the New World in 1492. The rights to make a movie of the story, with the title "Codex 632" were promptly sold to Hollywood.
Eighty years of literature have done nothing to alter the textbooks, but of late the subject has gained a sudden renewal of interest.
This could never have occurred without stirring up argument. Indeed, the solid mass of evidence found by Mascarenhas Barreto, Manuel Rosa, Luciano da Silva and others has created a great deal of discussion and disagreement, since it has turned official history upside down and threatened the sacrosanct theories of people whose interests prevent them from making new interpretations of the facts as they now stand.
It appears a proven fact that the Genoese plebeian Cristoforo Columbo did exist, but that he is not the same person, despite the similarity of names, as the true discoverer of America.
They are two distinct persons. Al Gore would doubtless describe this as an "inconvenient truth".
The evidence produced is overwhelming, yet the defenders of the "official truth" persist in turning a blind eye on the glaring facts before them. Yet not even the most conservative of societies can ignore for very long what undoubtedly are new facts.
Some may say that those who claim that the discoverer of America was of Portuguese origin suffer from a patriotic bias, but the truth is that we are involved here, not with the history of Portugal, but with the history of the world as a whole.
And this, as far as I interpret it, is the meaning of the Patrimony of Humanity.
We are face to face with one of the most tremendous cases of fraud in history, from prehistoric times to the present day.
Plotted with great cunning in the fifteenth century, this scheme has remained unchallenged for the best part of half a millennium.
To give but one example, the invention of false evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq is mere child's play: a game played with petroleum as the prize, yet child's play in comparison with what is seen here.
Our Portuguese forebears showed us that not only were they capable of giving a new world to the old, but were able as well to invent the most intricate plots, using the most cunning of stratagems to pull the wool over the eyes of the more unaware. These stratagems have survived for over five hundred years, and they have managed to go on fooling the public, despite the fact that we are now in an age where information is freely available. At the time, information relied on messengers on horseback, quite distinct from our times, when a mere click to access the Internet is enough to obtain any information about anything. The grand conspiracy worked up between Dom João II and the noble Lusitanian now known as Christopher Columbus, has remained stubbornly immune to all investigation, and, what is more, remains solidly resistant, though the bones of the monarch who was its inventor have long since been reduced to dust.
Despite this, there are some who have been sufficiently astute and free of received ideas to see through all the mystification.
These include Mascarenhas Barreto, Manuel da Silva Rosa, Carlos Calado, Sílvia Jorge da Silva, José Rodrigues dos Santos, Eric J. Steele, Manoel de Oliveira and Manuel Luciano da Silva, among others, who have kept their vision clear in spite of the fog surrounding them. The blind are those who refuse to acknowledge the facts before their very eyes.
But what could be the point of denying what is so obvious to our eyes? The point is that no one is prepared to review the textbooks of history, no one cares to change the inscriptions on all the statues and monuments, and above all, no one wants to admit that they were duped by two men of Portuguese origin who have been dead for over five hundred years.
The only possible reason for this is a reluctance to admit to the general public that the Spaniards were duped by the Portuguese. Anyhow, they did return the favour in the last thirty years, with the difference that in this case, no one was in the least bit deceived by them. All they did was to adapt their intelligence to the changing times and foresee a future beyond our wildest dreams.
It does not need a Saramago to say that Portugal has always been smaller than Spain, a tiny corner of Europe, a mere pinpoint on the map; yet we were also, in a sense, the most powerful nation in the world.
We may have been small, but we were by no means small-minded, and in this light we must try to emulate the ideals set by our forebears, dead long before our great grandparents came into the world.
We begin to realize that all the theories about the origin of the great navigator are just a lot of detail forming an immense web of deception woven during this period of history.
We are faced with a tremendous historical plot organized in minute detail with extremely well defined and successful political ends, constructed upon a whole literature devoted toward a distortion of the facts into the mold defined for us by official historians.
The discoverer of America is considered to be the second most famous person in the world. Indeed, so much has been written about him that he only loses in importance to Christ himself.
His life is wrapped in mystery, not only as to his nationality and origin, but also in relation to the role he played during his own life in the questions he raised in defying the monarchy and even the Catholic church of the epoch, incurring much debate around what was his most precious treasure: knowledge.
The first historical reference to his origin dates from the year 1486 in a book of tales by Pedro Diaz de Toledo, who refers to Columbus as "El Portugues".
He was never regarded as being Spanish; in fact Spanish texts refer to him as "a foreigner in Spain", but there were attempts to make us believe he was Italian, born in Genoa. This theory has now been discredited, on the basis of historical facts that can no longer be denied.
THE ITALIAN COLUMBUS
The muddle of identity has its origin in a dispute over inheritance with the subsequent writing up of a clumsily forged will. It may be proved that there indeed existed a Genoese weaver under the name of Cristoforo Columbo, who emigrated to Portugal in 1476. It is interesting to make a cross-reference between this statement and the fact that Toscanelli sent a letter to the navigator, addressed to Portugal and dated . . . 1474, two years earlier.
In addition, Bartolomé de las Casas relates that Christopher made a complaint to King Fernando of Aragon that he had spent 14 years trying to obtain the sponsorship of the Portuguese Crown for his project. Now, a certain Colon, under the pseudonym Christopher Columbus, is known to have left Portugal in 1484. We may infer then, that he must have spent the previous 14 years here in Portugal, which means he is sure to have been here since 1470. Yet, if we recall, it was only six years later, in 1476, that the Genoese weaver left his country as may be proved by legal documents from Genoa.
So we may only conclude that the Genoese weaver and the navigator must have been two different persons.
THE PLEBEIAN AND THE NOBLE,
THE UNLETTERED ARTISAN AND THE MAN OF SCIENCE
It is unthinkable that a plebeian Genoese artisan could have had the phenomenal cultural and intellectual attainments shown by Christopher Columbus, who knew Latin, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew, and was well versed in philosophy, cartography, cosmography and navigation. Equally impossible was it that he should have married a noblewoman, which is what happened in 1479 when he wedded D. Filipa Moniz Perstrelo, daughter of Bartolomeu Perestrelo, the Captain of Porto Santo in Madeira, a descendent of Egas Moniz and a relative of D. Nuno Álvares Pereira.
Such a state of affairs was simply out of the question in the fifteenth century, quite unheard of. The first examples of intermarriage registered between different classes were not to emerge till a century later, between the 'nouveau riche' and noblewomen, and there is not one instance of this happening in the fifteenth century.
Two things were to contribute to perpetuate the muddle. One was that Christopher had very good reason to prevent his real name and origins from being made public. The other was that 1484 was a year of political conspiracies which gave the Portuguese court good reason not to do anything to rock the boat of the monarchy.
Today we know that Christopher Columbus was a pseudonym. The truth is that he was never known as "Columbus", but as "Colon". This is backed up by documents of the period.
One of the most popular theories is that he had gone to Castile as a spy for the king, D. João II. Why then is it that there is no record for him of a 'de facto' name from his birth onward?
Another puzzle: why should Portugal have not been interested in his project, when all her priorities were targeted on the voyages of discovery? As a result of Portugal's lack of interest, he ended up rendering his services to the Spanish crown.
Yet another mystery: how is it that we know every step he took from the moment he arrived in Spain with his plans for the voyage right up to the time he put them into practice in 1492, (information gathered from the vast array of papers and reports we have of the period) and going on until his death on May 20 1506… yet nothing whatever before this?
We know that he was in Portugal, but there is absolutely no register of the fact: why should this be so?
There can be only one answer, the simplest of explanations: we were after the wrong name. Christopher must have changed his name and taken a pseudonym, so that everything that he had done before would have taken place under another identity.
In no way less significant is the fact that a man who was definitely of the aristocracy (for he would never had moved within the circle of the most distinguished of the realm unless he were himself of noble birth, according to both Spanish and Portuguese sources), could never have disappeared from the scene, without the connivance and acquiescence of either his own family or of the 'powers that be' of the times.
This would have certainly helped him, in that both sides would have been able to conceal his true identity by authorizing the destruction or at least omission of information about him, both written and spoken.
But what was the need for all this scheming? There is no doubt that the most influential nobility in the world would never have deigned to become involved with the fantasy of a man who wanted to change the name he had been saddled with. That is, they would not have done so unless they had a vested interest in his purpose.
The reasons for this are to be found in the history of the voyages of discovery.
INDIA: PORTUGAL'S TARGET
The commercial interests of Europe at the time were without exception oriented towards India with all her riches, but the Ottoman emperors had placed an embargo on the so-called Christian nations. Only Genoa and Venice had the privilege to be able to import spices and other goods from the East via nations controlled by Islamic law. This was why Portugal wanted to discover the sea route to India: so as to be able to bypass the embargo imposed by Egypt and Turkey.
Christopher's aim was precisely to reach India by sailing toward the West. Now why did D. João II fail to show any interest in this project?
The answer is simple: it was because he must have already known of the existence of the other Indies, which were not the India he had in mind, but instead a vast continent whose inhabitants went about half naked and where instead of gold there was an abundance of exuberant vegetation.
But how could he have known?
THE GREAT DISCOVERY MADE BY
DR. MANUEL LUCIANO DA SILVA
This was because D. João II already knew about previous voyages to America that had been made in secret. The policy of the time was to keep a strict vow of secrecy so as not to arouse the greed of the Spanish.
68 years before the discoveries of Colon, Zuanne Pizzigano's 1424 nautical maps showed the existence of the Antilles, every one of them dubbed with Portuguese names: Antilia, Satanazes, Saya and Ymana. In 1986, Manuel Luciano da Silva came to the conclusion that these in fact were Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, the Peninsula of Avalon and Prince Edward Island.
Further to the south, it is believed that the so called discovery of Brazil by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500 was merely a discovery in formal terms of lands that had already been discovered in secret by the Portuguese. There is evidence of the presence of the Portuguese in South America ever since 1493, in letters from Estevão Fróis addressed to D. Manuel, while another source, the colonial pioneers in correspondence with the Frenchman Jean de Léry, suggests a date earlier still, 1480.
These were times of great trouble: 1483 was the year when there was a plot to assassinate the king, organized by the houses of Bragança and Viseu, with the support of the Catholic monarchs and several hidalgos of Portugal, among them Colon himself. D. João II solved the problem by executing the leaders of this conspiracy. The Duke of Bragança had his throat cut in Évora, and the king himself was responsible for stabbing to death the brother of the queen. Those who managed to escape the king's wrath fled to Spain in 1484, and among them was our Christopher.
Despite this, D. João II was later to give Colon a new role in the plot.
"COME BACK: ALL IS FORGIVEN…"
Christopher, sorely disappointed with the refusal of help from the Spanish crown to put his project into practice, wrote remorsefully to the king of Portugal, begging forgiveness. The king wrote to him in Seville, guaranteeing his pardon and inviting him to return to Portugal under royal protection.
D. João II referred to him as "Xpovam colon, our special friend in Sevile" and went on to say: "Should you by chance be in fear of our laws of retribution in reason of acts committed without due penalty, we hereby give full warrant that we shall provide you with free entry, abode and permission of exit from the realm; furthermore we declare that you shall not be arrested or imprisoned, nor accused or cited in any matter of law, whether civil or criminal, of whatever nature".
In 1488, Christopher sailed for Lisbon and had audience with the king, but was shattered to discover that he was not to obtain the royal sponsorship for his voyage to the west. No reasons were given for this, yet surprisingly enough, Christopher was promised in total secrecy that the king would do all in his power to make sure that he obtained the full support of the Spanish Catholic kings.
A WELL-PLOTTED SCHEME
Portugal was, at the time, the cultural pivot of the western world. The Infante Dom Henrique, a man of extraordinary ability, who can be thought of as one of the first fathers of what we now call globalization, had founded in Sagres in Portugal an Academy such as had never existed. Among the distinguished men of science of the era involved with the Academy there were Jews and Muslims who were given appointments for which he paid a salary.
The Spanish kings were at the time not nearly as well lettered as the Portuguese. D.João II thought they would be easy to hoodwink, which indeed they were, with Colon as his pawn in the game.
To say that Colon was a spy in the service of his king is to over-simplify the issue. He was certainly an agent, a pawn manipulated by the Portuguese crown, but of this he was apparently unaware, just as he was unaware of the motives behind the moves of the monarchy.
All he was intent on was to make his plans reality, and the king was but a means to achieve this end, providing him with the interest, in the sense of sponsorship, and the help he needed to persuade the Spanish crown to offer funding so that he could embark on his adventure.
It goes without saying that he snatched at the opportunity without really knowing what the true setup was.
It was then that Bartolomeu Dias returned to Lisbon with the tidings that he had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, which confirmed what the king already knew: this was the route to be taken to reach the true India. But now comes the strange part of it: this was 1488, yet Portugal waited ten more years before sending out Vasco da Gama. Why should this be?
To answer this question is to explain exactly why D. João II needed Colon.
Once a route to the fabulous riches of India had been discovered, Castile would no doubt demand a slice of the pie and stop at nothing to get it, even if to do so meant war. The Treaty of Alcáçovas/Toledo was an attempt to settle the question of the ownership of territories. It gave the Canaries to Castile, and to Portugal it granted Madeira, the Azores and the coast of Africa as far as "the Indies", but that was as far as it went. The Spaniards were obliged to conspire against the Portuguese crown, for they had no intention of giving up their claim to India. That is why they had to be persuaded that they had found India, which was patently a lie. This is where Colon came onto the scene. But the crux of the matter resided in the fact that there must be no legal doubt as to the terms of possession of the lands in question: hence the necessity for a new treaty, that of Tordesillas.
But before this point could be reached, Castile had to be the first to produce the evidence of her great discovery. This was to happen with the arrival of Columbus in the lands that Castile believed was the true India, but which were not, as Portugal very well knew.
WE DUPED THE SPANISH KINGS
The treaty was all too easy to arrange The Spanish must have been inexplicably ingenuous not to have smelt a rat when the Portuguese offered them India on a platter with such great alacrity. Nor did they appear to suspect anything odd when the terms of the treaty established the right of Spain to all the land within a meridian a hundred leagues to the west of Cape Verde. The Portuguese promptly changed this to a distance of 370 leagues, which meant that on Castile's acceptance of this state of affairs, she would automatically have forfeited her right to Brazil, which would supposedly come to be discovered six years later.
There was no way the Spaniards could know: the Portuguese were aware of the true facts, and Portugal was by no means prepared to let Spain in on their secret.
But to go back to the subject of the East Indian adventure: Portugal waited with all the patience in the world until Colon's arrival to America in 1492. Two years later in 1494, the world as it was known was divided in half: one part, believed erroneously to be the East Indies by the Spaniards, was destined to be the Castilian wedge of the pie. The other gave Portugal the right to claim the treasures of the real India.
THE MAPS OF PIRI REIS
Piri Reis was an Admiral who lived between 1465 and 1554, born Ahmed Muhiddin Piri ("Reis" means Captain in Turkish)..
He is the author of a World Map, drawn in 1513, where he included Columbus discoveries, often quoted by him. This map is presently in the Topkapi Palace, in Istambul, where it was discovered, and is known as the Piri Reis' Map.
Hadji Muhammad was a descendent of Kamal Reis, another Turkish Admiral. He fought and defeated the Spanish, Venetian and Genoese fleets in the Mediterraneum, and was finaly defeated himself by the Portuguese, which had him beheaded by the Sultan.
What is then the curiosity about these maps?
They were started longer before the final draw in 1513, including the first ever map to show the two American coasts, South and North, with exact references to Brazil, which he learned from early Portuguese secret navigations before 1500.
Piri Reis knew the exact circumference of the Earth and reproduced it with Antarctica shaped as it was 4000 years before Christ. This shows how old his sources must have been, including that he makes reference to data from the times of Alexander the Great (332 BC).
Something curious occurred when they tried to superimpose Piri Reis' Map on a modern chart of the Mediterraneum: everything was there, but out of place.
Then, someone thought of doing the same, but, instead of using a map, a globe was placed under the Piri Reis' Chart: miracle, everything fell into place!
Now, information has reached us that Christopher Columbus had the maps of the Turkish Admiral in his possession, which he had always kept and took along on his trips. Will this be true?... Everything seems to confirm it, considering the exact knowledge Columbus had of the seas he crossed.
Thus, Churchill 's unhappy quote about Columbus "he didn't know where he was going, he didn't know where he was… and he did it all at taxpayers expense" was never right. In fact, as Brandão Ferreira so humorously puts it, "He always knew where he was going, he always knew where he was and, he if he did so at taxpayers expense, since the taxpayer was Spanish, all the better!""
As we now understand, the discovery of the New World was never a blind adventure, it was a project based upon the best knowledge science had in those times.
WHERE DID THE MONEY COME FROM?...
It was by no means easy, but D.João II did all he could so that Colon could set his bait. He then waited for Castile to bite. To begin with, Isabel the Catholic was short of money and was only able to contribute the sum of a million maravedis, which was by no means enough. Christopher provided an additional 250 thousand needed just to make ends meet.
So where would he have got the rest of the money? It is claimed that he obtained loans from bankers, yet there is no register of anyone attempting to claim interest on loans. In other words, it could only have been the Portuguese king himself who provided the money that was still needed, so as to guarantee that his plan was to succeed. It is obvious that evidence of these schemes would have been thoroughly smothered.
There is ample proof, however, of the efforts of the king to make the voyages of discovery feasible. It is known that two days before Christopher was due to embark on his voyage of discovery, on August 1st, he was presented with a priceless scientific aid to navigation, written in Hebrew, known as "The Route Calendar", or the "Tables of Solar Declination".
The gift showed rather too much generosity, unless there were other motives in play.
INDIA, AT LAST
D. João II died in 1495, so that it was his successor, D. Manuel who sent Vasco da Gama to the East on July 8th, 1497.
So at last Portugal "discovered" the sea route to India on April 17 of the year 1498.
In a similar way, Brazil was "discovered" by Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500.
So where can we place the mysterious Columbus? His origins unknown, and under an assumed name, he nonetheless regularly appeared before the king and dined with nobles of the highest echelons of society.
The New York Times' World Almanac and Book of Facts 2011" states on page 682 that Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 near Genoa in Italy. This cannot be denied, but I do question that he made four voyages to America. There was never even anything to prove that the unlettered artisan could have been part of the crew aboard Columbus' caravels, to make the point clearer still.
The fact of his birth can be proved from documents written up by a notary public in Genoa in 1470. These refer to a "Cristoforo Columbo, son of Domenico, being nineteen years old" and therefore of age. There was indeed a boy of this name born in 1451.
But the man we are talking about was not the immigrant artisan drinking wine in the taverns of Lisbon since landing there some time after 1476. The Genoese newcomer never enjoyed access to the royal palaces, nor did he bed a noblewoman, D.Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, and become father to her child.
DATE OF BIRTH
According to Colon himself, he was born in 1447.
In the ship's diary on board the Santa Maria he wrote: "I have made countless voyages without cease for it seems time more than can be measured, but surely for over 23 years". This entry was dated December 21, 1492, during the first voyage. So, counting the 23 years of the voyages, together with the 8 years spent in Castile, plus the minimum of 14 years he would have to have had before being permitted to sail, this makes for a total of 45 years. Subtracting these 45 from the year of the entry, 1492, we can infer that he was born in 1447.
Nine years later at the age of 54, in a letter written to the catholic monarchs in 1501, he writes of his career as navigator in the following terms: "It is for over 40 years that I have been ever at sea in this manner". 40 years, plus the statutory 14, makes 54 in the year 1501, so that he must have been born in 1447. This means that we have two references to confirm the calculation of the year of his birth, 1447.
We can now go back half a century to take a closer look at the Portuguese province of Alentejo.
At the time, the Duke of Beja was the Infante D. Fernando, son of D. Duarte and nephew of the Infante D. Henrique, who officially recognized him as his heir, and granted him the title of Duke of Viseu.
He married a cousin, Dona Beatriz, by whom he had nine children, one of whom, Leonor, was to become Queen of Portugal on her marriage to D. João II. Their son, Manuel, was later crowned king. It was this Manuel who was to send Vasco da Gama to India.
The Infante D. Fernando was therefore a five star hidalgo.
MADE IN PORTUGAL
Fernando fell in love with or was smitten into an adolescent passion by a girl, about a year before he was married to his cousin. The object of his passion was a girl of good family, the daughter of João Gonçalves Zarco who was a knight of the realm and the discoverer of Porto Santo and Madeira Islands. She became pregnant by D. Fernando. Her name was Isabel Gonçalves Zarco.
Dr. Manuel Luciano da Silva declares in his book that the offspring of this illicit union was baptized with the name of Salvador Fernandes Zarco. Baptism in this case would have meant a naming rather than a performance of religious ceremony, given that the child was illegitimate, quite apart from the fact that the child's grandfather was a Sephardi Jew; in other words he was of Hebraic origin from the Iberian Peninsula, written in Hebrew as: : sefarad).
THE REASON FOR SECRECY
So there were two reasons for hushing up his name: not only was he a bastard, but also a Jew. There are those who believe that the name "Christopher" was an attempt to mask his connections with a Jewish family at a time when the Inquisition was building up its terrible powers: in Spain since 1478 and a few years later also in Portugal.
Both Spain and Portugal were to be responsible for legislation in view of expelling the Jews, Spain on August 3, 1492 and Portugal on October 31, 1497..
As a matter of interest, it happens that August 3, 1492 was the date that Colon set sail for the New World, from the port of Palos in the south of Spain.
It appears that our navigator had given orders the previous day that the crew should board at 11 at night, which is quite unheard of in the usual procedure before embarkation. One cannot help but smell a rat.
So that it makes total sense that a Sephardi Jew should take the precautions to pass for a Christian. The name Christopher means "he who carries Christ", after the legend that tells of the occasion when St. Christopher carried the child Jesus while fording a river.
CUBA IN THE ALENTEJO
Under the circumstances, D. Fernando did what any nobleman would have done: he spirited the girl to as far away from Beja as was feasible to have the baby and that was 20 kilometres to the north, to Cuba, which was where the child was born.
Why to Cuba of all places? We will never know for sure, but it must have been for one of two reasons. The place was at a convenient distance from D. Fernando's town, and as it happens, it seems there were several of her relatives who had settled in the area. A gravestone has been found quite recently in Albergaria dos Fusos, a village about 15 km from Cuba, with a clear inscription of the name ZARCO.
This gravestone is now to be seen in the church of Nossa Senhora do Outeiro (Our Lady of the Mound), which dates back to the fifteenth century and which used to belong to the Convent of Saint Clare in Beja, where D. Fernando came from. The nuns went on to found a second convent in Funchal on the island of Madeira which was paid for by funding from João Gonçalves Zarco, the baby's grandfather.
This is a little too much to expect from mere coincidence.
On October 27 of the year 1492, Colon discovered the island known today as Cuba. He is said to have called Cuba "the most beautiful place on earth". Could it be that he was referring to the island of his discovery, or was he expressing the tradition in Portugal of describing one's birthplace in the same terms?
As far as the circumstances of his birth are concerned, there have been countless bastards throughout history who have made it to the top echelons of society during the monarchy in Portugal. "Noblesse oblige", as the saying goes, and royal blood was nothing to be sniffed at, and what today would be termed gunshot weddings without the piece of paper were by no means the exception. Contraceptive measures were not unknown, since the condom was known to the Chinese, the Egyptians and the Greeks, but they were made of animal bladders and were so uncomfortable as to justify not wanting to make use of them. It is not even certain whether the claims of Dr. Condom in the seventeenth century that they could prevent Charles II of England from spawning so many illegitimate children have any basis in fact. It was only as recently as 1939 that the condom became a viable means of contraception.
In an era when there was no television, no mobile phones to be able to exchange the usual vapid formulae of "Where are you, what are you doing, (or, reading between the lines, who are you with?)," the occurrence of illegitimate children was a common thing and what is more, the innocent offspring were more often than not absorbed into the class of the aristocracy.
We do not know when Salvador Fernandes Zarco began to be known as Cristovão Colon, but we can be sure that from now on he would be known by both names, which would clearly reveal his origins, Jewish or otherwise. Whenever he needed to sign anything, he made use of a singular stratagem, using an elegant acronym.
One example is the monogram he was in the habit of inserting just to the left of the acronym whenever he signed anything.
Sílvia Jorge da Silva came to the conclusion in 1989 that the monogram is composed of a juncture of the letters "S", "F" and "Z":
As for the acronym, it has all the characteristics of the cabala, implying the knowledge of three languages, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
Here is the famous signature of Colon:
The signing of a name always began with a phrase addressed to Christ in Latin: Sanctus, Sanctus, Altissimus Sanctus, which to this day is part of the ritual of the Church. On the next line, the X is the Xristos of the Cross of Christ and is followed by an M and a Y, representing Mary and Joseph respectively. The message thus reads: Son of Mary and Joseph.
This is one possible interpretation. José Rodrigues dos Santos suggests another in his book "Codex 632". He argues that the acronym may be derived from studies of the Cabala by the Knights Templar, whereby the two top lines are meant to represent the Trinity, whose base is the A of Altissimus. This is to show that the reading should be made from the bottom which represents matter, towards the top which represents spirit, that is, from the third line upward.
The resulting message should now read: Sanctus, Sanctus, Altissimus Sanctus, Xristos Messias Yesus (Holy, Holy, Most Holy, Christ the Messiah, Jesus).
This would be the interpretation of a Knight Templar. But this reading made under cover of the mask of Christianity would be transliterated into Hebrew by a Sephardi Jew into: SHIN for the S, for SHADAY, one of the names of God and ALEF, for the A of ADONAI, another name attributed to God. Our message becomes: SHADAY, SHADAY, ADONAI, SHADAY, meaning: LORD, LORD, GOD, LORD.
The last line, reading from right to left as in Hebrew, would appear as YMX: Y for Jehovah, M for maleh and X for xessed. This is a Jewish prayer, Jehovah maleh xessed, meaning that God has mercy.
Just two readings, but there is more to this than meets the eye. If we read the third line of the Hebrew from left to right, we get XMI or SHMI which means "my name is". If we now reverse the direction of reading and use the system in Hebrew, from right to left, we end up with YMX or YMACH. To close the circle we then have the two readings, one from right to left and the other from left to right: YMACH SHMI.
This, in Hebrew means: May my name be rubbed off the slate.
But it is precisely his name or rather, names, that deserve more research.
ONE LINE, TWO NAMES
We must pause for a time to examine certain conventions of the times.
Greek punctuation possessed two characters called colons, ":" and "./" , which were the forerunners of our modern colon and semicolon; one was used to open a clause of particular importance and was always followed by the other to close it.
The colon limits a phrase which acts within its own boundaries without affecting the main body of the sentence, which will eventually find its own resolution. The comma is a device to pause the flow of information in attempt to make the main sentence the most important in terms of meaning. In the process of signing a document, there is always the tendency to leave a space for later editing, and the relative chances of the appearance of a comma, a colon or of a semicolon are a question of one in three. XPO means XRISTOS, or Christ in Greek.
"Ferens" is from the Latin verb "fero", meaning to carry or to bear, so that the meaning of XPOFORENS or Christopher is "he who bears Christ". Christopher in English would have been Cristoforo or Cristofõm in the Portuguese of the time, hence the navigator's pseudonym.
"fõm" is a suffix in Portuguese whose equivalent today is "vão", which has augmentative connotations, implying the meaning "great bearer".
The inclusion of the name of Christ might be thought of as unacceptable to a Jew, although it could equally well be of use in masking his Jewish origins. Hence his care to include the cabalistic interpretation: "may my name be rubbed off the slate".
So where in this series of double meanings does the name Salvador Fernandes Zarco find a place?
Let us have another look at
XPO or Christ is also known as the Savior, which is the meaning of Salvador. Nothing could be more obvious.
Then comes "ferens", which also happens to be a frequent abbreviation in the Middle Ages for Fernandes or Fernandez.
Finally our attention is drawn to the unusual rendering of the S of XPOFERENS. If this apparent final S is turned upside down, it forms the tenth letter of the alphabet in Hebrew, LAMED whose meaning is member or phallus, in colloquial language, zarco.
"Colon" in Greek has the same meaning. Can this be coincidence?
It is known that Fernandes means the son of Fernando, and it was usual for the first born male heir to take the name of the mother, which explains the full name, Salvador Fernandes Zarco.
This should be enough to claim that he was Portuguese, but there is more proof at hand: Pope Alexander VI in a papal bull of the year 1493 written in Latin cites Christopher's name in Portuguese, not as Columbus but as Colon. In another bull dated the following year, his name is given as Cristofõm. This is clearly Portuguese: "Cristo" without the letter H and "fõm" written with a tilde over the O.
Now, there has never been any language other than Portuguese that uses a tilde over the vowel O.
Other evidence includes that of the Spanish scholar, Altolaguirre y Duval, who states that Columbus' dialect and speech patterns were definitely those of Portugal.
The Jewish scholar Simon Wiesenthal mentions that he spoke Castilian or the Spanish of the time with a pronounced Portuguese accent.
In a legal document entitled "Pleyto de la Prioridad", two witnesses, Hernán Camacho and Alonso Belas refer to Columbus as "infante de Portugal", meaning a son of Portugal.
The Spanish president of the Royal Geographical Society, Ricardo Beltrán y Rózpide states clearly that the discoverer of America was not born in Genoa, and goes on to say that he was a native of some place between the Cape of Ortegal in Galicia and Cape San Vicente in the province of the Algarve.
In the navigator's own hand in a letter addressed to Diogo Colon, we find the following words: "Muy caro filo", with the F of Portuguese rather than the H to be found in Castilian Spanish (hijo).
All the evidence points to the fact that he spoke Castilian with a Portuguese accent and indeed his writings are full of expressions that were characteristic of Portuguese.
A will registered in the year 1498 disappeared under mysterious circumstances. It was replaced eighty years later, during an attempt to determine who the true heirs of Colon were, by a forged document issued by a lawyer under the name of Verástegui. This forgery was carried out so clumsily that it claimed as witness Prince Juan of the Catholic monarchy, who as it happened had been dead since the previous October. The courts of law granted the legacy to D. Nuno of Portugal, grandson of Colon's own Portuguese-born son.
The case before us is an example of hiding one's origins without ever going to the trouble of denying them. Colon, in the heading to his last twelve letters to his son, Diogo, makes use of yet another monogram which appears above the greeting: "Muy caro filo".
This monogram is none other than the union of the Hebrew letters called HEI and BETH. These letters read from right to left as BETH HEI form a greeting in Hebrew, "Baruch haschem", meaning "May the Lord be praised", or when used in the form of a blessing, "God bless you".
SCIENCE AND DNA
Once there was the documentary proof that Colon was Portuguese, Dr. Manuel Luciano da Silva, a doctor, suggested setting up a kind of scientific "acid test" using techniques involving DNA methods.
The technique is relatively easy to understand. The human species has 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs within each cell. The smallest of these pairs is number 23 which is responsible for the determination of sex. The pair described as XX produces females, while the XY pair produces males. Of the two sexes it is only the male who determines the sex of his progeny, as only he can contribute with the Y chromosome necessary for the expression of masculinity.
Chromosomes are made up of molecules of DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, and these provide valuable clues for analysis.
The curious fact is that the Y chromosome is NEVER subject to modification, generation after generation over thousands of years. It therefore serves as an efficient marker that determines whether or not a given individual is descended from one of his male forebears.
This means that a DNA test may be performed on any man claiming that he is a descendent of Colon, since if his Y matches the original nothing more needs to be said.
COLON WAS NEITHER ITALIAN
NOR FRENCH NOR SPANISH
The Y chromosome was duly identified from the mortal remains of the son, Fernando, and the brother, Bartolomeu of the navigator Colon and was proved to be identical in both these individuals. The skeletal remains were exhumed from their resting place in the Cathedral of Seville by the professor of forensic medicine José Lorente of the University of Granada and his conclusions were recorded by Discovery Channel in May 2005.
Hundreds of people turned up claiming they were descended from Colon. They came from as far afield as Catalan, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, the South of France, Lombardy, Liguria and Piedmont, and they formed a total of no less than 477 people.
Professor Lorente applied the DNA test to all of them: every single case proved negative. None of these claimants were related to our navigator, who was neither an Italian, nor a Frenchman nor a Spaniard.
Could there be any more need of proof? The written evidence is strong enough, but after the DNA testing, do we need anything more?
A team of experts was formed in Portugal under the direction of Eugenia Guedes da Cunha, an anthropologist of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) and of Francisco Corte Real, of the Institute of Forensic Medicine.
The team includes scientists from Portugal and anthropologists from the University of Granada, and their goal was to make a thorough analysis of the mortal remains left to us of the Portuguese nobility.
With the approval of the Archbishop of Coimbra, they obtained an agreement to put their plan into practice, also approved by the local branch of the Portuguese Institute for the Preservation of Architecture (IPPAR), but the group of scientists that included the forensic expert from Granada, Miguel Botella, soon found that the Government was to refuse to give the go-ahead for their project.
Once again, the University of Coimbra put in a new request which was promptly shelved by the national Directors of IPPAR and the Ministry of Culture and which has not as yet shown signs of being recognized. Dr. Manuel Luciano da Silva made a statement only a while ago over the telephone: "No government can be granted the power to deny the right of its scientists and researchers to investigate new evidence available to make us understand in all its details the truth of our history".
VACATION IN PORTUGAL
This is a small detail, one of the many that remain at the back of the mind to remind us that there are facts that refuse to fit into the niche provided by history in its attempt to keep the ship of convention afloat.
Instead of setting sail on a straight course bound for Castile, to place at the feet of the king his offering of the discovery of the New World, Christopher apparently sailed into a storm that put him ashore in the Azores. Another storm would have forced his ship to seek berth in Lisbon.
His ship sailed into the port of Restelo on March 4, 1493. He requested audience with the king soon after landing, but was only received at court five days later because the king had retired to Azambuja in order to escape the bubonic plague.
Christopher spent three days in the company of D.João II. On leaving the court, instead of boarding his ship, he went overland to have audience with the Queen in the town of Vila Franca da Xira where he reportedly stayed until nightfall.
He then spent the night in Alhandra, only to return on board his ship on March 13, 1493.
Soon after, he sailed to Faro where he docked on the 14th, with a Spanish crew impatient to get home to their families and wondering why Christopher was spending so much of his time in Portugal.
AN IGNORANT PLEBEIAN
AT MAFRA'S NATIONAL PALACE
Julieta Marques is a researcher who has proven herself to be a fierce pursuer of historical truth, never mislead by fantasy or unproved theories.
Sometimes, hard evidence is right in front of us and we seem to be blind to it. She was not and saw what others failed to notice for over 280 years: the painting that fills the ceiling of the "Hall of Discoveries" in the Mafra National Palace, built by order of King John V in 1717, over two centuries after the death of Columbus.
In the painting, by the hand of artist Cirilo Wolkmar Machado, the monarch perpetuates the great achievements of some great Portuguese. Incidentally, the Hall is also known as "Hall of the Portuguese Heroes".
Among angels and atlantes, a sea god and the feminine figures of Lusitania and Europe, four great heroes of the Discoveries are portrayed.
On the top left corner, we can see Prince Henry the Navigator, in a shield where he is identified as "D. Henrique de Portugal" (Infant Henry of Portugal). On the right top side, the figure portraits either Vasco da Gama defeating a sea monster or Duarte Pacheco Pereira, the scientist of the Portuguese Discoveries; Julieta Marques opted to consider it is Pereira, as the King wanted to glorify the discovery of Brazil and there is evidence that he has been there two years before the "official discovery" in 1500, being the first author to describe a land with abundant "brasil wood", which eventually named the country. Also, he integrated Pedro Álvares Cabral expedition.
Cabral is on the left down corner, pushed to his destiny by winged atlantes.
Who, then, is the forth figure? Well, apart from Prince Henry, that is the only one identified!
Even if we didn't see the chains of Bobadilha, which cursed Columbus until the day he died, the writing is there, clear and precise: "A CASTILLA Y A LEON NUEVO MUNDO DIÒ COLON", a famous quote about Columbus, which means "To Castille and Leon a New World gave Columbus".
What, then, would a plebeian wool weaver from Genoa be doing among such distinguished nobles, in the "Hall of the Portuguese Heroes"?...
That he is the discoverer of the New World is a proven fact. That his name was Colon is documented there… that he is a "Portuguese Hero" presents no doubt!...
THE NAMES OF THE DISCOVERED PLACES
A study published in 1989 by Mascarenhas Barreto shows how idiot it is to try and make Columbus a Genovese: the names which he gave to the places he discovered in the New World.
There is not a single one in Italian and over 40 are Portuguese.
He called the first island discovered San Salvador (his own name), the second Fernandina (to honor his father?), the third Isabella (the Queen who employed him… or his mother?) and then he left there a vast collection of Portuguese names, such as Belém (in Lisbon) or Cuba: the only place in the world with that name at the time was the small town in Alentejo.
Others: Ponta Faro (Algarve's capital and a county in Cuba), Graciosa (Azores), Guincho (small island in Madeira), Porto Santo (old name of Beja's Porto d'el Rei and the island where he lived and where his son Diogo was born), Santo Antonio (another Portuguese Saint the Italians claim), Sta Catarina (Algarve coast, Azores and Madeira), Sta Clara (1 km from Beja, also in Madeira and the name of the Convent where his aunt was Head Mother in Beja and Funchal), Sta Cruz (village near two parishes in Beja - the other was San Salvador), S. Bartolomeu (his brother and two villages in Alentejo), Sanctus Spiritus (Holy Spirit and the village Espírito Santo, South of Mértola), S. Jorge (Castle in Lisbon, island in Azores, city in Cape Verde and port in Madeira), S. João (village near Cuba), Conceição (village near Beja and church where lye the remains of his step mother and four of his half brothers), S. Miguel (biggest island of the Azores and village near Mértola), S. Luiz (North of Odemira), S. Vicente (South of Beja), S. Domingos (two villages in Alentejo, near Mértola and Santiago), S. João Baptista, S. Nicolau (Portuguese Saints), Mourão (between Beja and Évora), Guadiana (Portuguese river), Santarém (Portuguese City), etc…
These were the names Columbus spread through out the Caribbean…
So there we are: the tale is told, though the tale of History remains relentlessly in the hands of men whose interests prevent them from telling the whole truth.
It was no easy feat to condense into a few pages the essence of what must have taken millions of pages to write. Of these, close to a few thousand have helped me to understand better whatever I had already known. Part of this enlightenment is my awareness that I have deliberately been duped by people obsessed by their convictions to such an extent that they feel they are justified in masking the past in order to befog the future, or who are too idle to take on the challenge, or else too lazy and panic at the thought of the hard work involved to keep afloat in the oceans of knowledge.
This story provides poor copy for soap opera. There are no scenes of sex or violence to tease the audience and thereby make them blind. But history remains to tell us what happened in the past and has gone on to form what we are at the present moment and what we will become in the future. The fact is, the truth is always much more fascinating than lies.
We are back to the beginning of the cycle. This is the time to remember what was said at the start: MUTATIS MUTANDIS...
an expression in Latin meaning: ""LET CHANGE COME WHERE IT IS DUE" "!
All the facts mentioned in this article, except for the role played by D.João II in his sponsorship of the voyage of 1492, which is mere conjecture,
are firmly based on facts supported by material evidence registered in documents of the era.
Bibliography, sources and illustrations:: “The Portuguese Columbus” e “Colombo Português, Provas Documentais”, by Mascarenhas Barreto, “Cristóvão Colon era Português“ by Manuel Luciano da Silva and Sílvia Jorge da Silva, “O Mistério Colombo Revelado” and “Colombo Português”, by Manuel da Silva Rosa, “Português de Estirpe”, by Arthur de Vasconcellos, “Dom Cristovão Colon, um dos vectores referenciais da Ibero-América”, by Jorge Preto, “Cristovão Colom - Um Filho de D. Fernando, Duque de Beja” and “Cristóvão Colom, o Almirante de Nobre Estirpe”, by Julieta Marques, “O Codex 632” by José Rodrigues dos Santos, “Cristóbal Colon, esse (des)conhecido”, by Roiz do Quental, “As Repercussões dos Descobrimentos Portugueses nas Obras de Autores do Século das Luzes”, by Janina Zofia Klawe, “1492, Conquest of Paradise”, by Ridley Scott, “Cristóvão Colombo, o Enigma”, by Manoel de Oliveira, “Colombo Enigma Decifrado”, by Charles Merrill for the Discovery Channel, Grande Enciclopédia Portuguesa e Brasileira, “pt.wikipedia.org”, “dightonrock.com”, “www.colombo.bz”, “colombo-o-novo.blogspot.com”, “amigosdacuba.no.sapo.pt”, João José Brandão Ferreira, Carlos Calado, José António Machado Pereira, Carlos Paiva Neves, Santos Ferreira, José Ferreira Coelho, Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão, António Pestana Garcia Pereira, Fina d’Armada, Abel Cardoso, Margarida Pedrosa, António Cabós Gonçalves, Francisco Matoso, Paulo Loução, Paulo Mascarenhas Barreto, brothers Mattos e Silva, Casa Colombo in Vale do Paraíso, Cristóvão Colon Center, Cuba, Alentejo, Mafra National Palace and the Museum of the Dr. Manuel Luciano da Silva Foundation in Cavião, Vale de Cambra, Portugal.|