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Columbus’ tomb (3)

CHRISTOPHER Columbus travelled almost as much after his death as in his life. In 1537, his bones and those of his son Diego were sent from Spain to Santo Domingo. In 1795, they were moved to Havana, Cuba. In 1898, the remains were sent back to Spain. Thus, Columbus ended his fifth round- trip journey to the New World…. Or so it seemed.

In 1877, workers in the Santo Domingo cathedral found a heavy leaden box inscribed with the words “Illustrious and distinguished male, don Cristobal Colon.” Inside were human remains and everyone assumed they belonged to Christopher Columbus. The Dominicans have claimed ever since that the Spanish hauled the wrong set of bones out of the cathedral in 1795. Meanwhile, the remains sent back to Spain via Cuba were interred in an imposing tomb in the Cathedral in Seville. But which city had the real Columbus?

The Dominical Republic claimed that the remains in the box shows signs of advanced arthritis, an ailment from which the elderly Columbus was known to have suffered. There is, of course, the inscription on the box, which no one suspects is false.

The Spanish claimed that the DNA contained in the bones in Seville is an extremely close match to that of Columbus’s brother. The experts who did the DNA test believes the remains are those of Christopher Columbus.

Each city believes they have the real Columbus. Some people think that Columbus is in both places. By 1795, his remains would have been nothing but powder and bones and it would have been easy to send half of him to Cuba and hide the other half in the Santo Domingo Cathedral. (Floro Mercene)