The Columbus Legacy

Columbus Lead the European Invasion.

But Is He Buried in the New World or Lost Once Again?


Island Descriptions

Hotel Search

Cruise Planning

Island Tours

Caribbean Recipes

Caribbean Weather

Even after four voyages to the New World, Columbus always was convinced he had landed somewhere in Asia or India , which is why he named the islands the West Indies and its natives Indians.

Those inaccuracies were never changed by succeeding generations while there was still time to set the record straight.

Columbus landed in the New World either in the Turks & Caicos chain (probably the correct theory) or on the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas, which has several markers honoring his landing.

According to historical artifacts uncovered on the North American continent, Columbus was not the first to discover the New World, but for centuries no one was anxious to change all those encyclopedias.

It's always hard to replace myth with fact, except in Portugal where students were taught that Portuguese sailors found the western lands about a dozen years earlier and returned with tales that motivated Columbus.


Columbus, born in Genoa, Italy, sailed under the Spanish flag for the Spanish King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabella.

Columbus, considered a skilled navigator, followed the tradewinds on a westerly course across the Atlantic.  He and his three ships made landfall October 12, 1492. He returned to Spain triumphant in 1493, convinced that he had discovered Japan.   

He returned (1493-94) to found the first settlement on the island of Hispaniola, this time bringing 17 ships and volunteers. His third voyage (1498-1500) ended in disgrace.

After Columbus was made governor of Santo Domingo, the people there rebelled against his harsh authority and he was returned to Spain in chains in 1500. He was allowed to make a fourth voyage (1502-04) if he promised to stay away from Santo Domingo, which he did. He explored the coast of Central America and shipwrecked in Jamaica.

Columbus was not universally admired, especially after he was thrown out of Santo Domingo. When he shipwrecked in Jamaica and two of the survivors paddled to Santo Domingo, they couldn't hire anyone to come and rescue the former governor. The Santo Domingans preferred to let Columbus rot in Jamaica for a year before his rescue.

Columbus returned to Spain and died in 1506 at the age of 50. His daughter-in-law had his remains buried in Santo Domingo in 1544.

There is a dispute whether his body was removed after the Haitian invasion of 1796. Supposedly Columbus was taken to the nearest Spanish soil, Cuba.


Presumably it was done, because remains identified as Columbus' were sent to Seville a century later. The body of Columbus (or whoever) was returned to Santo Domingo for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World.

Somehow, all this confusion about Columbus' remains seems bizarrely appropriate since he never truly knew where he was while alive.


Dividing Up The New World

Sugar and Slavery

Return To History Homepage