Who was Christopher Columbus?
Christopher Columbus was the first admiral and sailor, he began his adventure to a new world with his three caravels from the Port of Palos heading towards the unknown, due to a miscalculation that could cost him his life. It was probably in 1441 when he was born, although it is still not certain where, but everything indicates that he was of Genoese origin.
At just over 20 years old, he was already commanding a ship. He traveled the main Mediterranean trade routes, working for the main Genoese companies and in 1474 he was hired as a sailor on a ship that took him to the Aegean Sea. He settled in Lisbon, his experience with the Portuguese sailors was very productive, learning to function in the ocean.
The beginning of an idea that changed history:
Given that his home and his professional career had been mainly linked to Portugal, Christopher Columbus went to the then king of the country, Juan II, to offer his project. The monarch analyzed it with a committee of experts and ended up rejecting the idea.
So, convinced of his idea, he persevered. He then went to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain and convinced Isabella the Catholic, who promised him that when the Spanish Reconquest had just ended with the desired conquest of Granada, she would take care of his project, we unraveled all of this in our Tour of the Cathedral of Seville.
Through the Capitulations of Santa Fe, Columbus obtained different privileges. After gathering the necessary financing and in collaboration with Martín Alonso Pinzón, a fleet with three vessels was prepared. They were the famous Pinta, Niña and Santa María, as well as a total crew of 90 men. On August 3, 1492, he left the Huelva port of Palos, heading for the Americas, although he did not know it.
The end of his travels:
On October 12, 1492, when desperation had already taken its toll on most of his men, Columbus arrived in San Salvador (Bahamas). They also arrived in Cuba and Santo Domingo (then called Hispaniola).
He returned to Spain in 1493, convinced that he had reached Asia. However, despite his ignorance, Columbus had discovered the American continent for the Europeans. Later he made three more trips, in one of which they suffered the revolt of the settlers of Hispaniola. They deposed him and returned him to Spain as a prisoner. Finally, in 1502 he made the last trip, once tried and rehabilitated.
Columbus died in Valladolid on May 20, 1506, his body being buried in the convent of San Francisco. His remains have traveled as much as Columbus himself, since in 1513, they were transferred to Seville and deposited in a chapel of the former convent of the Cartuja de Santa María de las Cuevas (today it is the Cultural Center of Contemporary Art, in which there is a pantheon of illustrious Sevillians).
Next to him were buried the remains of his son Diego when he died in 1526. In 1544, the remains of Columbus and his son were transferred by order of Diego’s widow to the main chapel of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, in the first island that Columbus stepped on, current Dominican Republic, which at that time belonged to Hispaniola.
In 1795, Spain lost control of the eastern part of Hispaniola, surrendering to France by the Treaty of Basel. A squadron was sent to Santo Domingo to collect the remains of Columbus and transfer them to Cuba, deposited in the main altar of the Havana Cathedral.
A century later, and in 1898 Cuba became independent from Spain. Columbus’ remains were returned to Seville one hundred years later and placed in the Cathedral inside a monumental sepulcher designed by Arturo Mélida, although initially it had been intended for the Havana Cathedral.
The veracity of the remains of the Cathedral of Seville have been constantly questioned, but the DNA analyzes carried out in recent years have put an end to the controversy, proving their veracity.
If you want to delve into the history of this mythical character, you cannot miss our Seville Cathedral Tour.