COSTITX THOSE of us who learned in school that the great 15th century explorer Christopher Columbus was from the mainland of Spain, or perhaps even Portuguese, are now going to have to have another think. The Columbus Cultural Association holding the first ever international symposium on the explorer yesterday in Costitx, is sticking by the theory that he was in fact, Majorcan - from Felanitx.

At the Cultural Centre in Costitx, association president Gabriel Verd defended his thesis that the man who discovered America was born on the s'Alqueria Roja estate, now known as Son Ramonet, in the outlying municipality of Felanitx. Verd also pointed out that “in letters written by Colón, his language makes intermittent allusions to the Majorcan dialect.” Also present at the symposium was a first line descendant of Columbus, the Duke of Veragua - Christopher Columbus of Carvajal. He spoke about the loss of one of his ancestor's ships, the Santa Maria on Christmas Day in 1492.

Another eminent speaker was Dr. Alfonso Ballesteros, the president of the Royal Academy of Balearic Medicine who was one of the doctors who undertook the analysis of DNA samples taken from physical remains buried in Seville Cathedral. The occasion was brought to a close by the Speaker of the Balearic parliament, Maria Antonia Munar.