Friday, March 10, 2006
Where are you buried, Christopher Columbus?--Seville. You asked. And who are you, Christopher Columbus? Stay tuned; we're still working on that.
Exactly who Christopher Columbus was (was he really a Sephardic Jew?) has long been the object of considerable speculation. So too is his burial site, with two cities, Seville and Santo Domingo, both claiming to have Chris's body. Columbus died in May, 1506 and it was generally believed he was buried in Seville. But in 1877, workers uncovered bones in Santo Domingo's cathedral, the Dominican Republic says are his.
A Spanish-led research team took DNA samples from Columbus' son and brother and then sampled the bones in Seville. They matched. The bones in Seville are Columbus'. The authorities in the Dominican Republic haven't permitted DNA sampling. It is conceivable, those bones are real also and poor Chris' skeleton was distributed to both sites.
As to who he was and his origin, the scientists are tracking down everyone they can find who might be related to him and will subject their DNA to analysis to see if they can pinpoint an origin. Stay tuned.