Christopher Columbus, the first European explorer to land on the island the indigenous Arawak people called Ayiti, claimed in his diaries that his flagship, the Santa Maria, hit a reef off the coast near what is now the town of Caracol on Christmas eve 1492. He then supposedly used the ship’s wreckage to build a fort called the “Navidad,” no trace of which has ever been found despite many attempts.
This official story is all a lie, asserts award-winning Portuguese-American historian Manuel Rosa, who has spent the past 24 years researching the life of Columbus and his historic voyage.
In fact, Columbus beached the Santa Maria on the shore at Caracol and possibly built a moat around it, turning the ship itself into the Navidad, Mr. Rosa says. When Columbus left Ayiti (which he renamed Hispaniola) to return to Spain with the Nina and the Pinta, he purposely fired a cannon ball through the Santa Maria’s hull to make it impossible for the 39 men he left behind to flee the island. Three of them were envoys of the Spanish royal court who could have revealed the truth.
On June 9 and 10, 2015, Mr. Rosa will visit Caracol with a television crew from the Travel Channel’s show “Expedition Unknown” to search for evidence of his theory, which he has presented in two books: “The Columbus Mystery Revealed” (2006) and “Columbus: The Untold Story” (2009). The books have been published to great acclaim in Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Lithuanian. (Mr. Rosa is currently looking for a publisher for the English version of the latter book, for which he has a finished manuscript.)
Mr. Rosa is asking any Haitians around Caracol who may have found any artifacts – pieces of metal, for example – that might be from the Santa Maria to meet with him and the Travel Channel team in Haiti. Mr. Rosa and the TV crew will retrace Columbus’ voyage from Cap Haïtien to Caracol, exposing what he contends are many lies and misunderstandings.
Based on his reading and rereading of many original historical documents and letters, Mr. Rosa argues that Christopher Columbus was not born to an Italian middle-class wool weaver from Genoa, as most historians claim, but was rather the son of a Portuguese noblewoman and Vladislav III, the former king of Poland, who disappeared from a battle with the Turks in 1444 and lived incognito on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
“Columbus’ real name is not known, and the name he went by – Cristo Ferens Colon, meaning ‘Christ Going Member’ – was really just a code, but everybody who was anybody knew he was royalty, or at least a nobleman, especially in the Spanish court,” Mr. Rosa told Haïti Liberté. “Based on my extensive research, I believe he was anti-Vatican – Christian but not Catholic – and a secret agent for the Portuguese king [Joao II]. He gave incomplete and false information to Queen Isabella, with whom he had a contract as equals, but gave the full story to the Portuguese king, because that’s who he was working for.”
Last June, marine archeologist Barry Clifford announced that his team had finally found the wreckage of the Santa Maria off Haiti’s coast. Mr. Rosa challenged the claim, and follow-up investigations seem to have proved him right. Various artifacts from the off-shore wreck postdate 1492.
A great deal of what we think we know about Christopher Columbus and his voyages is wrong, says the multilingual Mr. Rosa, who has made it his life’s work to set the record straight.
“This was a tremendous historical conspiracy which was orchestrated very well within the royal courts and endured until this day,” Mr. Rosa said. “Only now are we starting to unravel the lies and discover the truth.”
To get in touch with Manuel Rosa, he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.