MAJORCA is one of four or five locations in Spain in contention to be declared the place of birth of Christopher Columbus.
DNA and other tests are being carried out to discover whether any of the hundreds of families in Spain with names close to his might be direct descendants. Apart from genuine historical interest in the origins of one of the world's greatest explorers, there are, of course, also considerable financial advantages in prospect for any place that can claim him as its son, especially if a very old finca can also be located as the probable home of his parents. However, second thoughts may be in order about the advantages of the Columbus connection following the recent deciphering of an ancient document in Valladolid. According to an historian who has seen the 48page document it is a report prepared for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand who had received news of acts of cruelty by Columbus in the Indies and asked for them to be investigated. The report includes the testimony of 23 people who had seen or heard about a tyrannical Columbus who ordered violent punishments, such as the cutting off of noses and ears and even of tongues; women were stripped naked and paraded in front of the public. Whether this revelation of Columbus' true character will lessen the enthusiasm of those anxious to claim him as their own will have to be seen. Probably not!
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