If the claim is proved the history books will have to be re-written.


Scientists will soon be able to finally proclaim whether Christopher Columbus was born either in Majorca or Italy and end the debate which has been raging for decades. THis week, a team of scientists in Spain opened the tomb of Christopher Columbus' younger brother Diego in a bid to solve a mystery over the whereabouts of the great explorer's remains. The Spanish city of Seville and the Dominican Republic both claim to have the remains of the man credited with discovering America. A team of Spanish investigators now wants to settle the dispute once and for all using DNA analysis. They also hope to prove whether Columbus hailed from Genoa or Majorca. To this end they unearthed a small zinc box containing the remains of Diego Columbus. When the lid was lifted in the presence of reporters Tuesday, a partial set of bones and water were seen inside. Diego's remains were dug up from the garden of a ceramics factory, where they were buried after the 19th century factory owner bought the monastery where they previously lay. Now the team, which includes a geneticist, a historian, a biologist and a forensic scientist, hopes to win permission from Spanish and Dominican authorities to open the two sets of Christopher Columbus remains and compare the DNA samples. “These are the most interesting bones of all because they will determine not just where Columbus is buried but above all whether he originated from Genoa or Majorca,” historian Marcial Castro, leader of the project, told reporters. Though convention holds that Columbus was from the Italian port of Genoa, Spaniards claim he was born here in Majorca and was in fact the illegitimate son of a Spanish prince. Columbus, who died in the Spanish city of Valladolid in 1506, requested that his remains be buried on the Caribbean island that today is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The remains of Columbus and his son were taken there in 1537. The bones were subsequently ordered to be moved at least twice because of political upheavals - first to Cuba in 1795 and then to Seville in 1898 when Cuba won independence from Spain. But 12 years ago workers at the Cathedral in Santo Domingo discovered an urn inscribed with Columbus' name. Those remains are now buried at a Columbus monument in the Dominican capital. A number of Majorcan historians are adamant that Columbus was born on the island, books have been written to that effect and it will come as a great disappointment to many if it is proven that Columbus was born in Genoa. On the other hand, if Columbus was born in Majorca - all things Columbus, including his place of birth have the potential to become great assets for tourism.