Seven burials of Columbus

Christopher Columbus is perhaps the “record holder” among prominent people for the number of reburials. Here is a list of places where the sailor’s remains are believed to have been.

1. Monastery in Valladolid, then the capital of Spain. It was here that Columbus died on May 20, 1506.

2. Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas (literally Our Lady of the Caves) in Seville, Spain. The body was moved here in 1509 at the request of Columbus’ son Diego.

3. Cathedral of Seville. The pioneer was reburied here in 1513.

4. Santo Domingo, the island of Hispaniola (now the island of Haiti, the territory of the Dominican Republic). The remains of Christopher and Diego were brought here around 1536. Probably, this was the fulfillment of the will of the elder Columbus, who asked to be buried in the New World (which he himself considered to be India). Diego served as governor here for some time and founded the Alcazar de Colon estate.

5. Havana, Cuba. The bones of Columbus were allegedly sent here at the end of the 18th century, after the French took possession of Santo Domingo (and Cuba remained Spanish).

6. Cathedral of Seville. The remains returned to Spain after Cuba became independent in 1898. They are still there.

But the linear development of this story stopped in 1877. Then, during the renovation of the cathedral in Santo Domingo, they found a box with the bones of an arm and a leg. An inscription on it claimed that these were the remains of Columbus. Could there have been a mix-up or a deliberate substitution at one time that resulted in the wrong remains being found in Havana? It is possible.

These bones were in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo until 1992, when they were moved to the Columbus Lighthouse – a memorial built for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America.

The bones from Seville were submitted for DNA analysis in the 2000s, comparing them with the remains of Columbus’ brother. Scientists came to the conclusion that these two people were born from the same mother – that is, this is a pioneer. At the same time, they say that the skeleton belonged to a thin man of 45 years old, you like Columbus, as far as is known, had a strong build and lived for more than 60 years.

In Santo Domingo, they continue to believe that they are the real bones of Columbus, but they do not agree to give them for analysis.

Cover photo: Columbus’ sarcophagus in Seville. Source: Vvlasenko / CC BY-SA 3.0