Nazarene Space

Was Columbus Jewish?
By
James Scott Trimm



Monday is Columbus Day.  There has been some speculation that Columbus may have been secretly Jewish.

On March 31, 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella proclaimed that all Jews were to be expelled from Spain.

The now famous voyage was not funded by Queen Isabella alone. Two Conversos (Conversos were Jews who were forced to renounce Judaism and embrace Catholicism.): Louis de Santangel and Gabriel Sanchez advanced Columbus an interest free loan of 17,000 ducats to help pay for the voyage, Rabbi Don Isaac Abrabanel, a Jewish statesman did the same.

Columbus was originally scheduled to sail on August 2, 1492, a day that happened to coincide with Tisha B'Av, a fast commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples. Columbus postponed this original departure date by one day to avoid embarking on the holiday, which would have been considered by Jews to be an unlucky day to set sail. Instead they left on August 3rd, 1492, the very day that all Jews were required by the edict to leave Spain.

On the upper left-hand corner of all but one of the thirteen letters written by Columbus to his son Diego are two handwritten Hebrew letters BEIT and HEY. This is a traditional abbreviation for the Hebrew b'ezrat Hashem ("with the Lord's help"). For centuries it has been the custom of Torah Observant Jews to add this blessing to their letters. None of Columbus' letters to outsiders have these letters. The only letter to Diego in which he omitted these Hebrew letters was one meant for King Ferdinand.

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Views: 96

Comment by Mikha El on October 19, 2017 at 12:35pm

If he was "jewish" perhaps it was of one of the more distorted varieties?

Fair Use:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus

Accusations of tyranny

Following his first voyage, Columbus was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies under the terms of the Capitulations of Santa Fe. In practice, this primarily entailed the administration of the colonies in the island of Hispaniola, whose capital was established in Santo Domingo. By the end of his third voyage, Columbus was physically and mentally exhausted, his body wracked by arthritis and his eyes by ophthalmia. In October 1499, he sent two ships to Spain, asking the Court of Spain to appoint a royal commissioner to help him govern.

By this time, accusations of tyranny and incompetence on the part of Columbus had also reached the Court. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand responded by removing Columbus from power and replacing him with Francisco de Bobadilla, a member of the Order of Calatrava. Bobadilla, who ruled as governor from 1500 until his death in a storm in 1502, had also been tasked by the Court with investigating the accusations of brutality made against Columbus. Arriving in Santo Domingo while Columbus was away in the explorations of his third voyage, Bobadilla was immediately met with complaints about all three Columbus brothers: Christopher, Bartolomeo, and Diego. Bobadilla reported to Spain that Columbus regularly used torture and mutilation to govern Hispaniola. The 48-page report, found in 2006 in the national archive in the Spanish city of Simancas, contains testimonies from 23 people, including both enemies and supporters of Columbus, about the treatment of colonial subjects by Columbus and his brothers during his seven-year rule.[84]

According to the report, Columbus once punished a man found guilty of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off and then selling him into slavery. Testimony recorded in the report stated that Columbus congratulated his brother Bartolomeo on "defending the family" when the latter ordered a woman paraded naked through the streets and then had her tongue cut out for suggesting that Columbus was of lowly birth.[84] The document also describes how Columbus put down native unrest and revolt; he first ordered a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed and then paraded their dismembered bodies through the streets in an attempt to discourage further rebellion.[85] "Columbus's government was characterised by a form of tyranny," Consuelo Varela, a Spanish historian who has seen the document, told journalists.[84] "Even those who loved him had to admit the atrocities that had taken place."[84]

Because of their gross misgovernance, Columbus and his brothers were arrested and imprisoned upon their return to Spain from the third voyage. They lingered in jail for six weeks before King Ferdinand ordered their release. Not long after, the king and queen summoned the Columbus brothers to the Alhambra palace in Granada. There, the royal couple heard the brothers' pleas; restored their freedom and wealth; and, after much persuasion, agreed to fund Columbus's fourth voyage. But the door was firmly shut on Columbus's role as governor. Henceforth Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was to be the new governor of the West Indies.

Later life

Replica of the Santa María, Columbus's flagship during his first voyage, at his Valladolid house[86]

Columbus had always claimed the conversion of non-believers as one reason for his explorations, but he grew increasingly religious in his later years. Probably with the assistance of his son Diego and his friend the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio, Columbus produced two books during his later years: a Book of Privileges (1502), detailing and documenting the rewards from the Spanish Crown to which he believed he and his heirs were entitled, and a Book of Prophecies (1505), in which he considered his achievements as an explorer but a fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the context of Christian eschatology.[11][87]

In his later years, Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10 percent of all profits made in the new lands, as stipulated in the Capitulations of Santa Fe. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by that contract and his demands were rejected. After his death, his heirs sued the Crown for a part of the profits from trade with America, as well as other rewards. This led to a protracted series of legal disputes known as the pleitos colombinos ("Columbian lawsuits").

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