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by Vanessa Cortez, staff writer  [October 8, 2001]

[]  Like all seamen of his day, Columbus was a keen astronomer! -- a skill that came in handy when on his last voyage in 1504, the gutsy "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" accurately predicted an upcoming lunar eclipse -- and fooled local Indians into thinking he had supernatural powers!

That's just one of the startling facts unearthed by a crack team of Weekly Universe correspondents about the amazing life of the salty sailor!

The Weekly Universe has also learned:

* Columbus Day is proudly celebrated by Italian-Americans everywhere -- but amazingly! -- Columbus may not even be Italian!

* Many historians believe Columbus was born in the Italian port city of Genoa -- but others think he was born on the island of Corsica -- as was Napoleon!

* Columbus was a fervent Catholic who believed God had chosen him for a great destiny -- but his folks may have been "conversos" -- converted Spanish Jews!

* Columbus wrote in Spanish -- not Italian! -- his entire life!

* Other experts believe Columbus's family tree included Vikings -- which goes a long way to explaining the gutsy explorer's skill with a mast!

* At age 14, while many American kids are thrilling to Treasure Island, Columbus was a real-life pirate! -- yo-ho-hoing to Greece and Iceland!

* Columbus never wanted to prove the Earth was round! -- because everyone already knew it!  His goal was to find an overseas trade route to India and China -- because Arab bandits made land travel risky!

* In 1484, Columbus gave Portugal -- not Spain! -- first crack at his plan to sail West to China -- but Portugal's King John II rejected Columbus's plans as too vague!

* King John was right!  Portugal's own Vasco da Gama discovered an easier sea route to India -- by sailing around Africa -- six years after Columbus found the New World!

* Contrary to popular myth, Spain's svelte but thrifty Queen Isabella never sold her jewelry to pay for Columbus's voyage!  She and hubby Ferdinand financed the trip partly through investors -- Italian investors!

* Columbus's crew included four jailbirds!  A murderer who killed a man in a brawl -- and three punks who helped him break out of prison!

* Contrary to popular myth, Columbus's voyage to the New World was smooth- sailing!  His ships had food for a full year, and encountered no storms.  But a huge hurricane on the return voyage almost destroyed Columbus's tiny fleet!

* Columbus left Spain with three ships, but returned with only two.  The Santa Maria was shipwrecked in 1492 -- on Christmas Day!

* Although many paintings show Columbus coming ashore with a priest, the first voyage included no priests!  Five priests came on the second -- much larger -- voyage.

* The first white settlement in the New World was a fortress on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti), erected in 1492 and christened "La Navidad."  When Columbus returned a year later, the found fortress empty -- Indians had massacred all 38 men!

* But not the women -- because there were none!  Columbus didn't bring women until his third voyage in 1498.  The ladies was brought as wives for the Spanish colonialists -- one lady for every ten guys!  Some of the Spaniards eventually took Indian wives.

* Columbus's first battle with Indians was on St. Croix, on November 14, 1493.  A gutsy fighter, Columbus survived!

* Columbus introduced horses into the New World.  Although American Indians are known as skilled cowpokes, until the arrival of Europeans -- there were no horses in America!

* Europeans also brought smallpox to the New World.

* Indians gave Europeans syphilis and tobacco.

* Although Columbus found lots of islands, he never hit North America!  He discovered South America during his third voyage (1498--1500).

* Columbus died in 1506 -- never discovering that he'd discovered a new continent!

* No one knows Columbus's finally resting place!  He was buried in Spain, then in 1536 his remains were moved to Hispaniola (Haiti), then in 1899 they were returned to Spain, and reburied in 1902 -- three years later!

* Parts of Columbus may also lie in Italy and the Dominican Republic.  For a while -- they were in Cuba!

* Columbus died forgotten -- but not poor!  He died peacefully, relatively rich, and surrounded by friends and family.

Vanessa Cortez is a Los Angeles based tabloid reporter who has investigated the occult underbelly of the entertainment industry. Read more about her journalism in Hollywood Witches.


Despite an often repeated claim that Europeans "gave" venereal disease to Indians, the opposite may be true!  According to E. Michael Jones: "Syphilis made its first appearance in Europe at the end of the fifteenth century.  Its arrival coincided with the discovery of the New World.  In fact the latter event was the necessary condition for its arrival in Europe in the loins of Spanish soldiers."  SOURCE: Monsters From The Id, by E. Michael Jones, p. 114.

On Fenruary 25, 2011, Jeannie emailed us:

"[Your article says that] 'Columbus introduced horses into the New World. Although American Indians are known as skilled cowpokes, until the arrival of Europeans -- there were no horses in America!'

"This is false, at least scientifically. It was the Mustang, a descendant of the horse (Equus ferus) that was re-introduced to America by the Spanish. Some or even many had escaped and became free roaming, or semi-feral on the plains of North America since then. Scientific evidence shows the horse (Equues ferus ferus) a true wild horseoriginated in North America and spread to other areas, yet did died out some time after the Pleistocene era in North America. The reasons may be uncertain, such as global cooling, or more likely over hunting and global cooling together.... I understand I may be nitpicking, but... Saying they were 'reintroduced after becoming extinct 12.000 years prior....' would be more factual.


Evolution, Systematics, and Phylogeography of Pleistocene Horses in the New World: A Molecular Perspective, 

Humans Might Have Wiped Out Wild Horses,"

Copyright 2001 by

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