Illustration for article titled Historian Casts Doubt On The Discovery Of Columbus Flagship

Back in May, marine archaeologist Barry Clifford made the extraordinary claim that Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria, had been found. But now, a Portuguese historian says this can't possibly be true — because the ship never sank.


Clifford made the apparent discovery off the north coast of Haiti. Among the various bits of evidence provided, he says he even found the ship's ballast — which now looks like this:

Illustration for article titled Historian Casts Doubt On The Discovery Of Columbus Flagship

But the find is now being called into question. The Telegraph reports:

A Portuguese-American historian, Manuel Rosa, has said that the discovery of the shipwreck is impossible – because the ship never sank.

His theory, based on over two decades of research, is that the ship did not sink, as is widely believed, but was hauled onto the Haitian shore, used to house the sailors Columbus left behind on his return voyage, and eventually years later burnt as firewood.

He says that Columbus deliberately misled the world with his journals, because he was acting as a spy for the Portuguese king, rather than reporting to his Spanish paymasters.

"He was the James Bond of his day," said Mr Rosa, speaking to The Telegraph from his home in New York. "It's unbelievable that he has managed to pull the wool over everybody's eyes for five centuries.

"But the important thing to remember is that the whole mission was to trick the Spanish – and tell the Portuguese what was really going on. In this he succeeded.

"Anyone who looks for a shipwreck off Haiti won't find the Santa Maria – because it never sank."

What's more, Rosa says the discovery of the Santa Maria's bell off the coast of Portugal in 1994 proves that the ship did not sink off Haiti. He says the bell was on land, and then carried to Portugal in 1555 in a ship which sank off the Portuguese coast.

So according to Rosa, Columbus was actually working for the King of Portugal, Joao II, which is why he faked the sinking.


Hmmm, sounds suspiciously conspiratorial and revisionist to me. But it's clear that more evidence will be required to bolster Clifford's case.

Much more at The Telegraph.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter