Christopher Columbus, as we all know, was the first person in modern history to cross the Atlantic Ocean to discover a route back and forth between the Americas (“the New World”) and Europe.
He is the one who brought public awareness of the Americas to Europeans. Historians have portrayed him as an outstanding seaman, “one of the best navigators of all time“, or even “the greatest sailor of all time.“
Bea’s note: But we know that he was convinced he had reached the Indies and he could not even read a GPS! Sigh. Can you imagine that? This voyage also brought syphilis back to Europe from the New World, but it is not my point… I digress…
You may learn almost everything about this man by visiting your favorite bedtime reading, either Wikipedia or Encyclopaedia Britanica (I have no doubt you are member). But you know what? They both are wrong on a precise point (or two)!
- Wikipedia: “Christopher Columbus (c. 1451 – 20 May 1506) was a Genoese navigator…”
- Britanica: “Christopher Columbus (Italian explorer)” as it appears in the search engine.
Hey Britanica ! Italian ? The Italian unification process began in 1816 to be effective in 1861…Before that, what we call today ”Italia” was divided into smaller city states and independent territories, including the Genoese. The name “Italy” applied to a geographical area, the Italian peninsula, and not geopolitical. Genoa was a republic at this time. Was Julius Cesar Roman or Italian? Roman I guess, the same way Vercingetorix was Gaulish and not french. “Gaul united, Forming a single nation, Animated by a common spirit, Can defy the Universe.” Well, for now, i am defying Universalis… and Britanica (by french – Gaulish? – tradition) (geneta imi / daga uimpi). I know I know, my ancestors were barbarians. (We even know today that Homo-Sapiens had extramarital affair with Neanderthal, so what?). But I digress again…
Let’s go one step further:
- Wikipedia: “It is commonly, although not universally, believed that Christopher Columbus was born between 25 August and 31 October 1451 in Genoa“
- Britanica : “…born between August 26 and October 31?, 1451, Genoa [Italy]“
Ouch. At least, Wikipedia recognizes that there is doubt as to his nationality and city of birth (read more here).
The Genoese origin gathers the majority of modern and past historians. Columbus’ status as a Genovese no longer is doubted, as confirmed by Antonio Ballestrero Beretta, the prestigious Spanish historian, and Senator Paolo Emilio Taviani, the great Italian historian. Another great North American historian, Samuel Eliot Morison, confirms that “it all started in Genoa.” Mmm. If Genoa stands for the “Republic of Genoa” that’s correct, but doubt is much greater for the city. Even in the modern city of Genoa, several houses pretend to be the one where he was born. “Christopher probably was born in a house in Vico Olivella, today called Via Bosco, but it is also possible that he was born in his maternal grandparents’ home in Quinto.”
In fact nobody knows still today. But wait…
More and more clues tend to prove that Christopher Columbus could have come from
Calvi, a town on the island of Corsica, which at the time was part of the Genoese republic, thus that he called himself “genoese”. There was little widespread evidence that Columbus came from Corsica, but in 1983, the historian Lucien Saladini states that Columbus was born in Calvi (South Corsica). In 1992, two memorials for Columbus were unveiled in Calvi: a plaque, claiming Columbus was born somewhere in the pile of stones just behind it, and on another spot in town a bust of Columbus.
Until very recently, the birthplace of the man who first trod the soil of America remains a subject of controversy between Genoa and Calvi. But today, the historian Albert Mattei, illuminates in a new light on the origins of Christopher Columbus:
After five years of scientific research and rigorous genealogical study, he has just published an essay (published by Anima Corsa) in which he delivers a unique line of thought on the roots of the legendary navigator which will join the two previously opposing these (« Les origines de Christophe Colomb » by Albert Mattei – published by Anima Corsa). He highlights a string of clues which lead to the complementarity of Calvaise and Genoese theses, building bridges between elements, and also lead to demonstrate Columbus ‘s family has its origin in the North of Corsica. He tends to demonstrate that Colombus (<<Cristofanu Culombu>>) was not born in Calvi, but in Cap Corse (North of the island), and then he would necessarily transit through Calvi, when his family moved to Genoa, where they lived. In all case, Columbus was genoese, as Corsica was part of that republic (from 1347 until 1729). Corsica was incorporated into France in 1770, and today is designated as a french “territorial collectivity”.
So, dare I say as Britanica does that Columbus was French? lol, certainly not, but what is quite sure is that he was Corsican!
In the next chapter, you will better understand why this is important, and we ll see what happened after 1729, and how Corsican have changed the face of America (and the United States of America), in an article titled “Corsica my love“.