Christopher Columbus - A Son of Chios?

Christopher Columbus was the great navigator and explorer, as well as the respective discoverer of America as everybody knows. The year 1492 is probably one of the first historic dates every child learns, but the date and especially the place of his birth is unknown and topic of passionate discussions. Amongst others the island of Chios plays an important role too.














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We can say for sure that Columbus had been born before the 31st October 1451 and died on the 20th May 1506. But it is impossible to say where he was born. There are Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian and Greek locations claiming to be the birth place of the famous explorer.

There are less information about Columbus' pre-America life remaining - Some people even speculating his real name was „Christopher Bonde“ from Norway

According to the so far most common thesis Christopher Columbus was part of a wool weaver family in Genoa. His family was Genoese and he was born in Genoa - That is in the most teaching books and was for centuries considered to be relatively sure.

Indeed Columbus himself said he was from the Genoese nation. In fact there are many indications that Columbus was born in Genoa, at the time one of the most wealthy and powerful seaport in North Italy. But "the Genoese nation" includes also Corsica, parts of Sardinia / the Crimea and a plenty of Greek islands. All those belonged at the time of Columbus' birth to the "Repubblica di Genova", the Republic of Genoa. The crown jewel of the Italian trading empire was Chios, the Greek island, which value was mirrored in its unique mastic.

So it is anything but excluded that Columbus was born on Chios. This thesis is supported by Ruth G. Durlacher-Wolper, the founder and director of the "New World Museum" and the "New World Foundation" in San Salvador, Bahamas, where Columbus' ships first landed in 1492. She noted that a contemporary of Columbus wrote the discoverer was "from some place in the province of Genoa". This "place" could be Chios - there are evidence for a deep connection with the island. Ruth G. Durlacher-Wolpe goes even one step further: In her book "A New Theory Clarifying the Identity of Christopher Columbus: A Byzantine Prince from Chios, Greece”  she summarizes 21 more facts contributing to the clarification of Columbus' identity as an educated, spiritual Byzantine-Chian with a passion for sailing.

There has been more written about Christopher Columbus than about any person with the exception of Jesus Christ

Robert M. Fusion, historian and emeritus professor of geography, speaks about "substantial arguments" Columbus' birthplace being "on the island of Chios" too.

For instance: In the village named Pirgi in the south of the island are many inhabitants carrying the name "Columbus". The name Columbus is carved above many doors in the villages of Pirgi and Cimbori. There is also a priest with the surname "Columbus", who traces his ancestry on the island back over 600 years.

There are evidence, which indicates that Columbus called himself "Columbus de Terra Rubia" or "Columbus of the Red Earth". Chios is famous for such red earth. Although nobody can say for sure Columbus was from Chios, it is without controversy that he at least visited the island. It is very likely that Columbus took part in voyages from Genoa to Chios in 1474, 1475 and 1476 A.D. . Dr. Miljan Peter Ilich supposes that Columbus owes his "masterful seamanship" to those journeys.

Chios, probably, has even more share in the discovering of America. There are considerable sources which are suggesting Columbus visited the island 1492 just before his historic voyage. Ilich states that Columbus "ha[d] landed at the beach of Daskalopetra" and was guest of Andrea Bianco, a famous Genoese cartographer. His presumptive purpose: Map material.

Columbus seemed to get a lasting impression of the Greek island. He wrote many times about mastic trees of Chios on Cuba. In a report to the Spanish monarchs he wrote:

"And in this river of Mares whence I started last night, without doubt there is a very great quantity of mastic, and there may be more if it is desired that there should be more, because in planting the trees they grow easily and there are a great quantity and very large ones, and the leaf is like the mastic-tree and the fruit, except that the trees as well as the leaves are larger, as Pliny says, and as I have seen on the island of Scio* in the Archipelago. And I ordered many of these trees tapped to see if resin would flow out in order to bring some..."
(*Scio is the common Italian name for Chios)

Columbus preferred throughout his life to make a secret out of his origin - his unknown origin now just increase his myth

Those written records proof that Columbus was at least very familiar with Chios. But if he was born on Chios or rather if he was a Byzantine prince still remains open. However, the birthplace Genoa is highly controversial too. There are only two known sources in which Columbus wrote in Italian. He used to write in Castilian - suffused with French words - and Greek. For the first part of this forename he used the Greek alphabet: In this way his signature consists of "Xpo-Ferens" - X like the Greek name for Chios, Χίος.



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