CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, A DUAL IDENTITY: CITIZEN OF VALENCIA AND “GENOVESE OF NATION”.
By Francesc Ll. Albardaner
(October 1rst, 2016)
THE GENOVESE COLONY IN VALENCIA IN THE XVTH CENTURY
Along the XVth century, the city Valencia became a very important economic, trading and industrial center in the western Mediterranean bassin and this fact provoked the presence of many colonies of foreign immigrants. The most important of these colonies has been the Genovese colony, known in Valencia as the “Genovese nation”, that was formed by all the immigrants coming from the Liguria, not only from the city of Genova, and these persons were not only merchants but also bankers, industrial masters or artisans. These colonies of immigrants had their own social organisations and were represented by a consul in front of the local municipal Valentian and royal authorities. The representant of these Genovese was called as “Consul de la Nació Genovesa” (Consul of the Genovese Nation) and all these immigrants were referred as “genovesos de nació” (Genovese of nation) even if they were born in Valencia and their families were established in Valencia for many generations. These “Genovese nation” had his own religious brotherhood in Valencia thas was initiated in the XVth century and lasted until the beguinning of the XXth century (1).
The first nucleous of these foreigners’s colonies were formed mainly by merchants sent to Valencia by their Italian central trading companies and the length of stay in Valencia of these merchants was totally different in every case: from one week to decades. But after the first merchants, in the case of the Genovese, many artisans moved also to Valencia in order to establish their own workshops in a very specialized field: silk and silk weaving industries, as the Gavoto clan of Savona. We have to remember that Valencia has been from the islamic occupation onwards, not only a silk textiles trading post of the textiles produced in Granada or wherelse of the muslim Andalucia, but also a very important productive spot, because the climate allowed the growth of the white mulberry trees. After the christian reconquest of Valencia by the Catalan kings the muslim population was allowed to rest there, so the silk production was kept going on by the muslim masters together with the newly incorporated jewish silk masters.
Dissimilarily to the merchants, the silk artisans moved to Valencia in the XVth century incorporated very rapidly in the Valentian society by marying young local women. The children of these mixed genovese-valencian couples were still considered to be “Genovese of nation”? Were these children considered natural subjects of the king of Aragon? As in the modern case of people having “double nationality”, these descendants of Genovese had a dual identity at the same time: they were considered as citizens of Valencia with full social rights, but they also were considered as “Genovese of nation”. As it is proved, the immigrants changed their original language to the native language of Valencia, that was the Catalan language, specially if they married with Catalan speaking women and lived immersed in a Catalan speaking family group or labour guild.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND VALENCIA
I challenge the reader to find the slightest reference to the city of Valencia among the hundreds of biographies and studies about Columbus that have been published for centuries up to this day and he will comprove that there are allmost none. In very rare cases (2), he may find, that the author suggests the possibility, never comproved, that Columbus passed through Valencia in a hurry in his terrestrial voyage from Sevile to Barcelona in order to inform the Catholic Kings of his success in finding a western passage to the Indies in April 1493. In these huge collection of orthodox biographies about Christopher Columbus the reader will not find any mention of a single stay of him at the city of Valencia in all his life. The conclusion is that there has been any relationship between Columbus and the city of Valencia.
But reading carefully the classical text of father Bartolomé de Las Casas “Historia de las Indias”, in its chapter 131 (free translation of the author):
“And the Admiral says, that even if any other profit could not be got, than these so beautiful islands, that are so green and full of trees and palms, with great advantage to the orchards of Valencia in the month of may, they should be very much estimated.”
But according to the before mentioned biographies of Columbus, he never visited Valencia in the month of may, because, even in his visit to the kings in Barcelona in 1493, he remained permanently in Barcelona with the kings precisely during all the month of May. This very only comparison stated by the Admiral could perhaps have been suggested by some Valentian sailor that was among the crew in the first voyage of discovery and may not deserve our attention about this comparative image with Valencia and his hinterland.
Nevertheless, twenty years ago, there were found nine copied letters of Columbus in an antiquarian bookshop of Tarragona that had been written in mid XVIth century. As two of the letters or texts were exact copies of the original manuscripts preserved in Spanish archives, it was assumed that the other unknown seven letters or travel logs were also exact copies of the original texts of Columbus. The consequence was that the Spanish Ministry of Culture bought this letter collection and deposited them at the Archivo General de Indias in Sevile. Afterwards, the same ministry encharged to Mr. Antonio Rumeu de Armas a study and transcription of these texts, that were published in a book called “Libro Copiador de Cristóbal Colón” (3).
By reading these new found Columbus’s texts, we will have an enormous surprise in finding that Columbus used in six occasions the luxuriance of the orchards in Valencia, the skillfulness of the Valencian workers in growing the rice fields or the perfection of Valencian handicrafts done with palm trees to make comparisons with aspects of the New World! So many references to Valencia, his landscape and culture, can only be done by a person that has lived there for a long time!
As we give an enormous importance to these comparative references, we will cite and transcribe them, one by one, so that the reader may take their own conclusions:
1 - Document N. 2 of the “Libro Copiador”: Report letter of the second voyage of discovery and exploration to America and of colonization of the Island La Hispaniola (Jannuary 1494):
“Here I saw fine, large houses and decorations of nets and reeds running from one side to the other of the paths to some of them; the paths ran from the houses to the sea, and where they ended on the beach they had a woven roof like that over a terrace, almost like a doorway, and the workmanship was so perfect that it would have been pleasing even in Valencia.”
“Here I have seen many good houses and ornaments; in the pathway of some of these houses, formed by nets and canes, on both sides of the path; pathways that started at the houses and flew along the sea and where they ended, they had a scaffold (done with interweaved leaves of cane or palms) in form of a shed above the pathway, forming a kind of arch or door, and it was so perfectly done, that in Valencia could be well accepted.”
2 - Document N. 2 of the “Libro Copiador”: Report letter of the second voyage of discovery and exploration to America and of colonization of the Island La Hispaniola (Jannuary 1494):
“I very much desire to secure an abundance of it because there is land here so suitable for plantations that every year could yield a million quintals of sugar and as many of the finest cotton and no less of rice if the peasants of Valencia were here.”
“...and I wish to get a lot of sugar quantity, because here there is plenty of land to plant the canes, in order to produce a milion of “quintales” of sugar every year; and similiar amount of very fine cotton, and no less of rice, if the rice farmers of Valencia would come here.”
3 - Document N. 3 of the “Libro Copiador”; Report letter of the exploration voyage to the isles of Hispaniola, Cuba and Jamaica; written at La Isabela on February 26, 1495:
“Later I anchored at Santa Gloria, for so I named yhis place on account of the extreme beauty of the land, surpassing th orchards of Valencia or any other place bar none, and that applies not just to a single valley or occasionally but to the whole island.”
“ And after I sailed and anchored at Santa Gloria (Holly Glory), place to which I gave that name for the extremely beauty of his land, because it can not even be compared with the orchards of Valencia, neither of any other part of the world por buenas que sean.”
4 - Document N. 3 of the “Libro Copiador”; Report letter of the exploration voyage to the isles of Hispaniola, Cuba and Jamaica; written at La Isabela on February 26, 1495:
“The island of Santiago is heavily populated and has an abundance of food. I travelled all around it and did not see a single league of sterile land; rather, it is exquisite in August and May, which was when I first went there; at both times it always seemed the same evetwhere, as pretty as the orchards of Valencia and everywhere dotted with settlements, etc.”
“And the island of Santiago (Jamaica) is very much populated, and the food is overhelmly abundant, I circumnavegated this island all around without finding an unfruitful (sterile) spot, finding this island very beautiful, in August as well as in May, that was when I went there for the first time and in the second; it looked allways similarly wherever you went, and so beautiful as the orchards of Valencia, and everywhere it was populated by enourmous villages, etc.”
5 - Document N. 6 of the “Libro Copiador”; Report letter of the discovery and exploration voyage to South America. Written in Santo Domingo, September 1498 :
“Then I abandoned the course to the north and headed back toward land where, at the hour of compline, I reached a cape that I called La Galera after having named the island Trinidad. That place would have made a large and fine port, had I found the depth, and it had houses and people and lands so beautiful and green, like the orchards of Valencia in March.”
“ And there was a nice harbour if its depth would be enough and there were houses and people and very beautiful lands, that were so luxuriant and green as the orchards of Valencia in the month of March.”
6 - Document N. 6 of the “Libro Copiador”; Report letter of the discovery and exploration voyage to South America. Written in Santo Domingo, September 1498 :
“…that when I reached the island of Trinidad, where the North Star at nightfall was also at five degrees, there and in the land of Gracia I found the mildest temperature and lands and trees as green as beautiful as the orchards of Valencia in April, and the people there have beautiful bodies and are whiter than the others I was able to see in the Indies and have very long and smooth hair;”
“….when I reached the island of Trinidad, where the North Star at nightfall was also at five degrees, there and in the land of Gracia I found the mildest temperature and lands and trees as green and beatiful as the orchards of Valencia in April, and the people there have beautiful bodies and are whiter than I was able to see in the Indies and have vey long and smooth hair,”.
“ When I arrived at Trinidad Island, where the North Star was five degrees high in the evening, there and in the island of Gracia the temperatures was very mild and the land and trees very green and so beautiful as de orchards of Valencia in the month of April, and the people of there of very high tallness, etc. “
After Columbus using all these numerous comparative forms with Valencia it seems evident to us that Columbus had a perfect knowledge of Valencia, its orchards, the craftmanship of the artisans in palm and cane leaves or the dexterity of the rice farmers, etc. Who may doubt that Columbus spent an important part of his life in the city of Valencia?
If we accept the facts of his life declared by Columbus himself, specially when saying that he begun sailing beeing 14 years old and knowing also that we have defined the biography of Columbus from the year 1471 onwards, we believe that Columbus could only get his knowledge about the city of València in his childhood or first adolescence. We are very conscious that to accept the above mentioned facts implies the denial of the identification of the poor woolweaver of Genova Cristoforo Colombo, son of Domenico Colombo, as the discoverer of the New World. We have expressed our doubt about this false identification of the origin of Columbus in several of our articles, some of them written long ago (4), because the Genovese theory presents excessive anomalies in front of the true discoverer of America and, following the proceeding of the scientific method, when a new theory about a defined phenomen explain better the facts with no anomalies, then it it wise to change of theory.
COLUMBUS, HIS FATHER AND HIS BROTHERS: SILK OR WOOL WEAVERS?
If we believe to be true the identification of the Genovese Cristoforo Colombo with the discoverer of the New World, it results from the documents found at several Genovese historical archives that the Colombo family were considered as “lanerius”, that means wool weavers. Columbus himself was considered as “lanerius” in a public document (5), dated in Savona in March 20th, 1472, when he acted as testimony at 21 years of age.
Columbus declared, as said before, to have entered the sea as sailor when he was 14 years old in a clear contradiction with the Genovese orthodox version of the life and facts of Cristoforo Colombo. Such a big difference of facts has not impeded the Italian historians to keep asserting that the first job done by Columbus was to comb wool and to weave wool clothes. We think that Columbus has been only a sailor , a great sailor, during all his life, having never been an apprentice neither of wool nor silk textiles. On the other side, if we would accept that Columbus works in Savona as “lanerius” in the workshop of his family until, at least, 1473, when could have he got the knowledge of seamanship if he became afterwards a simple comercial agent until August 1479 (6). How can Italian scholars accept this version of his life when Columbus was a ship captain in the navy of René d’Anjou in 1471-1472, when he prosecuted the galeass Ferrandina in Tunisian waters?
But in the last 10 years another very important new document has been found at the General Archive of Simancas, the archive of the crown of Castile and Leon, that may help us in brightening the true profession of the father and brothers of Columbus. Mrs. Isabel Aguirre, the chief director of references at the “Archivo General de Simancas” discovered a never found before document about the “Inquiry” done by Francisco de Bobadilla in the Hispaniola Island in 1500 against the three Columbus brothers. This extremely important document was published in a book (7), that, as far as I know has not been published in English, and it is from this document that we will extract several interesting confessions of the inquired persons.
The inquiry of Francisco de Bobadilla is a set of confessions of many residents in the island of La Hispaniola in 1500 against the behaviour as governor of Columbus and against his brothers Barthelemy and Diego. A specially mean and nasty incident related by several testimonies was the amputation of the tongues of two women, Teresa de Baeza and Ynés de Malaver, because they were accused by Don Barthelemy Colom of gossiping against the Colom brothers telling that they were plebeians of low social class because his father and themselves had been silk weavers and, even worse, the younguest brother, Don Diego, had done apprenticeship in silk weaving in the workshop of a muslim master! We give the highest importance to these assertions of the two women and therefore we proceed to their translation and transcription as follows:
1 - Testimony of the witness Francisco de Sesé (pg. 206):
“ He says that (Barthelemy Colom) ordered to flog a naked woman riding on the back of a donkey because she had said that she was pregnant without beeing true her prengnancy and ordered to cut the tongue to another woman, because she offended the Admiral and his brothers by saying the the admiral’s father was a weaving master and that his brothers had been also weavers.”
2 - Testimony of the witness Juan de Salazar (pg. 221):
“He declares that the Adelantado (Barthelemy Colom) spying at night among the houses of the village, heard that two women, Teresa de Baeza and Ynés de Malaver, were saying that the Admiral (Christopher Columbus) and the Adelantado were plebeians and that Don Diego, (his younguer brother) worked as a silk weaver. For this reason he orderderd to flog them and to cut off their tongues and he knows these facts because he had seen them.”
3 - Testimony of the witness Rodrigo Pérez (pg. 232):
“The witness declares that five years ago (1495-96) two women, Teresa de Baeza and Ynés de Malaver, were telling that the Admiral and his brothers were descendants of a family of weavers and that a muslim master had teached the art of weaving to Don Diego. For this reason their tongues were cut and when the Admiral knew about this punishment wrote a letter to the Adelantado, letter that was read by this witness, in which he said: “This done by you was well done, because anyone that says bad things against us shall die, and so is the law.”
In front of the content of these witnesses shall we think that these two women were saying the truth or their sayings were pure calumnies? The detail given about Don Diego as an apprentice in the shop of a muslim silkmaster is in our opinion too precise to be a lye or calumny. And considering also the cruel reaction of Don Barthelemy Columbus, together with the criminal content of the letter of the Admiral, we consider that the two women were saying the truth and that they were unveiling a hidden past of the father of the Columbus brothers and of Christopher, Barthelemy and Diego themselves.
From the aceptance as true of what the women said, we have to conclude that the apprenticeship of Don Diego took place in a city were muslim silk weaving masters were living and working and this was not exactly the case of the city of Genova. Instead in the city of Valencia there was a centuries old tradition in silk weaving, art that was done in the XVth century by muslims, genovese and jewish converted (“conversos”) masters. A very interesting blend of cultures unique in Europe!
The conclusion of the analysis of the above mentioned documents brings us to admit as true the fact that all the family of Columbus was living in the city of Valencia and that the family workshop weaved silk textiles and not cotton textiles.
To these very important new document found in Simancas, we have to add a very nice document found by the Valencian historian Mr. Jaume Richart i Gomà in the historical archive of notarial protocols called “El Patriarca” in Valencia (8). This document is an apprenticeship contract between a young man, 20 years old, Barthomeu Colom, Genovese resident in Valencia, and the silk weaving master Antonio di Piero, Florentine, operating in his workshop in Valencia. The contract was suposed to last for five years and defines the normal conditions of such a kind of contract, beeing valid from the same day of August 23rd of 1479 onwards. This apprentice has a similar age as Barthelemy Columbus, that in 1501 declared to have been born around 1460. If we accept that this contract refers to the brother of Columbus, our new theory gets reinforced and we proclame that the Columbus family lived in Valencia and their job was silk weaving.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND THE CONVERTED JEWS OF VALENCIA
It is perfectly known and accepted that if Columbus could realize his first discovery voyage to the New World it was due to the support given by the merchant and “escrivà de ració” Lluís de Santangel to him. Santangel, neglecting any kind of geographical or teological reasonments and basing his support only in base of echonomic decisions gave his full support to Columbus’s voyage. The second personage of the court of king Ferdinand that also helped very much Columbus was Gabriel Sánchez, general treasurer of the Crown of Aragon. Both men belonged to jewish converted families with their origin in the kingdom of Aragón, that moved to Valencia afterwards. Alfonso Sánchez, Gabriel’s brother, was living in Valencia and became the head of a huge trading company that was sending ships annually from Alexandria to Bristol and Galway.
In his return voyage after the discovery of the New World, Columbus wrote and sent three letters after his arrival in Lisbon in March 1493. One letter was sent to kings Ferdinand and Isabbella, but the other two letters were sent to Luis de Santangel and to Gabriel Sánchez respectively thanking them for their support. I want to point out that Santangel and Sánchez were natural subjects of the Crown of Aragon and Columbus wrote no letter to any subject of the Crown of Castile. This fact has to be seriously considered because the contract between the Catholic Kings and Columbus for the discovery of America has been done with the royal administration of the crown of Aragon. In the case that Columbus would have been a natural subject of king Ferdinand, doing the contract with the administration of the Crown of Aragon, there was no need to
define any nationality to Columbus, because the kingdom of Valencia was part of the Crown of Aragon. The forementioned contract doesn’t mentions any nationality of Columbus, fact that would have appeared if Columbus would had been the Genovese Cristoforo Colombo, totally of Genovese origin and family. As you see, the Crown of Aragon has had a more active role in the discovery of America than generally accepted, since, in the end, the newly found territories were adscribed only (ONLY!) to the kingdom of Castile.
Following our new theory that accepts that the family group of Columbus was living in Valencia, with close connections to the “converso” world, as we will see further, the support of the Santangel and Sánchez family clans to Columbus becomes logical and understandable, inviting us to research even some possible family links among them.
Many authors that have studied the writings of Columbus have concluded that he belongued to a jewish or a jewish-converted family (9). We can not here and now analyse extensively their arguments in favor of a jewish origin of Columbus, but we want to remember and stand out the comproved fact that in 13 letters sent by Columbus to his son Diego, he always added a mark at the top of these letters, that specialist in jewish writing have always decifered to be two letters of the hebrew alphabet meaning “b’ezrat Hashem”. This is a clear demonstration that Columbus grew and belongued to the Hebrew World. In Genova did not exist such a hebrew social entourage, because jews had been expulsed from Genova many years before, but in Valencia and during Columbus’s childhood and adolescence, extensive family clusters of the society in Valencia were jewish oriented parts of its society.
Valencia had a multicultural society in the second half of the XVth century: there were christians, conversos (recently converted jews), jews and muslims! It is clear tu us that Columbus grew in such a kind of mixed society and he tried to find a sincrethism of all these religions when he said:
“And I say that the Holy Spirit works equally in christians, jews and moors and in any person or any other sect.”
To make such a statement was very dangerous at that moment, because it could be considered immediately as an heressy against the Roman Catholic church, but we consider that it reflects perfectly the world in which Columbus grew, and the Genovese society doesn’t fits at all with these facts.
THE FATHER AND THE MOTHER OF COLUMBUS
In our new theory we propose as father of Columbus a Colombo young man of Liguria, that has emigrated to Valencia in the forties of the XVth century and is a silk weaving master. We can not detail if the city of origin of this silk master is Genova or Savona or any other Ligurian town, but he could have come to Valencia forming part of the silk masters that came in the first company of the Gavoto clan of Savona at this time. His family name “Colombo” was adapted quickly to the Catalan form “Colom”, as it happened with the “Gavoto” clan family members, that were known in Valencia as “Gavot”. And, beeing our man a bachelor, he married, with a young woman of Valencia entering in the family clan of silk weavers of his wife.
Marriages were arranged many times among the members of a same guild at this time and knowing that silk weavers in Valencia were mainly “converso” families, the possibility that our newly immigrated Ligurian silk master has married a young woman of a converso family is very high. Doing so, his integration in the Valencian society should have been very quickly. The most logical fact is that the Catalan language has become the current language among this new couple. Both, groom and bride, were Roman Catholic believers and even if this couple was a mixture of two different cultures, their kids would be educated in christian religion and assist for their education to the school of the cathedral in Valencia, between 8 and 14 years of age.
Being the mother of jewish origin, it is possible that Columbus and his brothers had received also some complementary education from the jewish side. If we make such important assertion is because it seems proved that Christopher and Berthelemy, at least, could write in hebrew. In the 13 manuscript letters sent by Columbus to his son Diego that still remain, all of them present a similar mark on the top of this letters, that have been determined as the jewish expression “b’ezrat Hashem”, written from righ to left, by jewish professors.
We have to admit, nevertheless, that we do not know the family lineage of the mother of Columbus, but it has to be one of the many “converso” families that were silk weavers in Valencia at that time and that may be found in the lists or census done by the Inquisition of Valencia of the “converso” families in 1506 (10). Many of the women included in that census finished their lifes beein burnt to death after been declared as heretical by the newly imposed Castilian Inquisition of Valencia. Columbus has always concealed his past and the main reason for doing so may have been that, beeing the son of a “converso” woman, he could easily be condemned by the Inquisition, fact that would destroyed the future of all his descendents. Therefore having a double identity Genovese-Valencian, he allways choosed to enhance his Genovese origin, even if he may never have been in Genova or the Liguria.
If we accept that Columbus formed part of a jewish “converso” clan of Valencia and we have a look to which persons were condemned by heresy at that time, we will find several members of the Colom family that were condemned by the Castillian Inquisition of Valencia . Among several of the condemned Colom family members, we may find Johana Colom, who was burnt alive at the stake in 1500 (10). These woman could perfectly by a sister of Columbus! We have tried twice (1991 and 2009) to have acces to some documents about the Columbus’s canonization process kept in Vatican Archives in Rome without succes, because the Vatican authorities doesn’t allow historical researches to study them. The caution shown by the Vatican in not allowing to open freely these documents to the specialists’s study about som facts that happened more than 500 years ago sounds extremely protective, as if the story written in these documents could be fearsom or negative for the interests of the Roman Catholic Church. In the case that the sister, or even the mother, of Columbus had finished their lives in the stake of the Holy Castilian Inquisition in Valencia, we can understand their fear. Better to keep accepting a false Genovese biography of Columbus than to have to accept that several members of his family in Valencia were punished by the Inquisition!
SQUARING THE CIRCLE
In the year 1992, professor Francesco Giunta of the University in Palermo invited me to take part in an international symposium about Columbus, that was hold in the small village of Erice in Sicily and he asked me to expose the theory of a possible Catalan origin of Columbus of the Peruvian historian Luis Ulloa Cisneros (1927). For me it was a great challenge to give such a lecture in front of so many university history professors and academics, mainly Italians, that were absolutely convinced of the total truth of the Genovese origin of Christopher Columbus and that were waiting my speach as a moment of merriment and mockery in a very tedious and boring official meeting.
Therefore, before beguinning my lesson, I exposed to the assistants, that the state of confrontation of the two most important theories about the national origin of Columbus, the Genovese and the Catalan, was very similar to the confrontation given in the XIXth century among physics about the nature of light: ondulatory or corpuscular. The two theories about the nature of light seemed completely contradictories at that moment, but after the discoveries and works of Einstein, Louis de Broglie and other scientists, finnally it was demonstrated that the nature of light is at the same time ondulatory and corpuscular, giving a solution to what it was considered as impossible as squaring the circle. I told to them that I hoped to find a similar solution for the confrontation Genovese- Catalan of the origin of Colombus, and that is what I have achieved now in my research. the dual identity of Columbus: beeing a citizen of Valencia (Catalan culture) and a “Genovese of nation” (Genovese person immigrated in Valencia).
In the scientific world, when a theory presents too many anomalies respect the phenomenoms that wants to explain, it is normally replaced by a new theory, that fits better the real facts. Presenting the Genovese theory such a great number of anomalies as the related below, it was urgent to find a better and new theory:
How could Columbus be of Genovese origin if he did not speak neither Tuscan nor popular Genovese dialect? And when writing to the Banc of Saint Giorgio in Genova for help and support he wrote the letters in Spanish.
How could accept the Genovese Senate that Columbus was born in Cogoleto in his letters to several Genovese ambassadors in Madrid (11), if it was suposedly accepted that he was born in a Genova established family?
How may we identifie Columbus with the wool-weaver Cristoforo Colombo still working in Savona in 1472 and beeing considered as “lanerius” in a notarial act, when the son of Columbus, Fernando, tells us that his father was already a ship captain on the fleet of René d’Anjou in 1471-1472?
How could Coulumbus become Viceroy, General Governor and Admiral of the Ocean Sea for the Kingdom of Castile and León, whitout beeing previously nationalized as Castilian, if he was a pure Genovese foreigner, as in the cases of other foreigners as Magalhaes (Portuguese), Caboto (Venetian) or Vespucci (Florentine)?
Why Columbus signed his contract for the discovery of America with the administration of the Crown of Aragon and not with that of the Crown of Castilla, if America has been adscribed exclusively to the kingdom of Castile? (Note: it did not exist the kingdom of Spain in Columbus time as many may think!) If Columbus would have been a foreigner in the Crown of Aragon, in that contract his nationality would have been mentioned, following the normal administrative proceedings. But it was not, fact that ment that Columbus was considered a natural subject of king Ferdinand.
But after this anomalies, selected among many others, of the Genovese theory, we can mention also several anomalies on the Catalan theory side, beeing the most important, that Fernando declares that his father was “Ginovés de nación”!
The solution of Columbus enigma is that he had a dual identity: He was “Genovese of nation” due to the fact, that he was the son, or the grand-son, of a Ligurian man, immigrated in Valencia. But he was a citizen of Valencia, because his mother belongued to a long in Valencia established jewish-converted family of merchants and silk-weavers. But Columbus was born in Valencia and his daily life culture was the Catalan culture, with some contacts with the muslim and Castillian comunities of Valencia. Columbus could never have visited Genova in all his life and the knowledge of several Genovese personages happened in the Iberian peninsula during his life.
I hope that my new theory about the life and facts of Columbus will be also aceppted by the Italian scholars, since, in the end, an important part of his dual identity keeps beeing Genovese, but they will have to admit that the Valencian origin of Columbus fullfills absolutely and explains all the facts and deeds of Columbus’s life in a perfect form. Such a mongrel origin of Columbus combined with his childhood and youth spent in the multicultural and multiracial ambiance of Valencia, makes the life of Columbus much more atractive to us. In our humble opinion we have squared the circle: Columbus has been at the same time Genovese (of Savona?) and Catalan of Valencia.
(1) David Igual Lluís: “La Confraria dels genovesos de València. Una associació interprofessional a les darreries de l’Edat Mitjana”. Organització del treball preindustrial: confraries i oficis; Publicacions de la Abadia de Montserrat (2000).
(2) Tomás Caballé i Clos: “1493 : Un año barcelonés célebre”, Editorial Freixinet, Barcelona (1948).
(3) Antonio Rumeu de Armas; de la Real Academia de la Historia: “Libro Copiador de Cristóbal Colón: correspondencia inédita con los Reyes Católicos sobre los viajes a América”. Estudio Histórico-crítico y edición (Two volumes). Colección Tabula Americae; Ministerio de Cultura, Testimonio Compañia Editorial (Madrid, 1989).
(4) Francesc Albardaner: “John Cabot and Christopher Columbus Revisited”; The Northern Mariner / Le Marin du Nord, Vol.X,n.2; ps. 91-102. July 2000.
Francesc Albardner: “Columbus, Corsair, and the Pinzón Brothers, Pirates, in the Mediterranean before 1492”; The Northern Mariner / Le Marin du Nord, Vol. XXI, n.3; ps. 263-278. July 2011.
(5) Municipal Notarial Archive of Savona. Lodovico Moreno, notary. Bastardello 921-26 (205 x 154 mm). Text: “Actum Saone in contracta palacii causarum communis Saone/ in apoteca ipsius Nicolai testatoris quam titulo / locationis conducit a Iohanne de Uxilia presentibus / Iohanne Vigna sartor Francisco Urmeta dominico / de facio accuratore ieronimo sartore / calegario bernardo sambaldo sartore / christoforo de columbo lanerio de ianua et dominico / vigna sartore ciuibus Saone testibus ad / haec vocatis et rogatis ore propi ipsius/ testatoris etc.”
(6) Manuscrito Archivio Notarile di Stato. Genova. Notario Gerolamo Ventimiglia. Filza 2ª, anni 1474- 1504. nº 266 (299 x 314 mm).
(7) Isabel Aguirre - Consuelo Varela: “La caída de Cristóbal Colón, el juicio de Bobadilla”; Marcial Pons Historia; Madrid 2006.
(8) Archivo de Protocolos del Colegio del Corpus Christi “El Patriarca”; Ref.: APP28487, Jaume Valero, 1479-1481.
(9) We adjoint herewith only two of the best works on this theme:
Simon Wiesenthal, “Operation Neue Welt. Judenverfolgung und Columbus-Reise”; Editions Rober Laffont, Paris 1991.
Sarah Leibovici: “Christophe Colomb Juif”, Editions Maisonneuve et Larose; Paris 1986.
(10) Ricardo García Cárcel: “Orígenes de la Inquisición Española; el tribunal de Valencia (1478 - 1530). Ediciones Península, Serie UNiversitaria Historia/Ciencia/Sociedad 132, Barcelona, 1976.:
(11) Letters of the Senate of Genova to the following ambassadors in Madrid:
1586: Giovanni Battista Doria.
1590: Pier Battista Cattaneo.
1595: Cesare Giustiniani.
1602: Giovanni Antonio de Marini.
Text: “Il Colombo di Cogoleto è tanto grande in Spagna, come sapete, ha tra altre cose ordinato nel suo testamento, secondo intendiamo, che a Genova debba star di continuo aperta una casa del suo cognome in memoria sua....etc.” (Raffaele Ciasca).
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: “Accounts and letters of the second, third and fourth voyages”.Nuova Raccolta Colombiana, English Edition. Edited by Paolo Emilio Taviani, Consuelo Varela, Juan Gil and Marina Conti; National Comission for the celebration of the Quincentennial of the Discovery of America. Istituto Poligrafico e Zeca dello Sraro; Roma 1997.
DAVID IGUAL LLUÍS: “Los mercaderes italianos, sus funciones económicas y estratègies sociales en la Valencia de finales del siglo XV (1484- 2494) Universitat de València, 1993;ps. 225-475.
DAVID IGUAL LLUÍS: “La Confraria dels genovesos de València. Una associació interprofessional a les darreries de l’Edat Mitjana.” Organització del treball preindustrial: confraries i oficis; Publicacions de la Abadia de Montserrat (2000).
DAVID IGUAL I LLUÍS: “Valencia y Sevilla en el sistema económico genovés de finales del siglo XV”. Revista de Historia Medieval, núm. 3 (1992),ps. 79-116.
MARK D. MEYERSON: “Un Reino de contradiccions: Valencia, 1391-1526”.
GERMAN NAVARRO ESPINACH: “El despegue medieval de la industria de la seda valenciana (1465-1483)”. València: Consell Valencià de Cultura, Generalitat Valenciana, 1992.
GERMÁN NAVARRO ESPINCAH: “La seda entre Génova, Valencia y Granada en época de los Reyes Católicos”.