After Four Centuries, Jews at last give tribute by reciting Kaddish, the memorial prayers, at the tomb of a fellow Jew buried in a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville Spain.
It is believed that Christopher Columbus (his real name was Christobal Colon, a common Sephardi name) was the son of "Marranos", Jews forcibly converted to Christianity. Why?
He left Spain on August 3, 1492. The day which was the Ninth of Av (marking the destruction of the Temple) following the edict expelling all Jews from Spain. His diary states in its first entry,
At least 5 of a crew of about 88 men were Jewish. The interpreter and second in command was Luis de Torres who knew Hebrew and Aramaic. Torres was a new Christian. It is thought that he expected to find the ten tribes in India. The ships' doctor, Bernal, and the surgeon, Marco, were also of Jewish descent. No priests were noted for being aboard any of the ships.
Colon's son Fernando admitted in a biography that his father deliberately veiled his birthplace and his origin. In a letter to a Marrano nurse he wrote,
In letters to his son, the letters (B) and (H) appear in Hebrew. This was an abbreviation for "Be-ezrat HaShem", "With the help of the Almighty" and also "Baruch HaShem", "Praise the Almighty."
Columbus was fond of using quotes from Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezra, applying them to himself.
The fact that Colon's history has a shroud of mystery to it was common to Jews and Marranos in this perilous time in Spanish history. The fact that his business associates and companions included many Jews and Marranos is also a strong indication. The Vatican has refused to divulge any more information on this subject, declaring Columbus' history has blemishes.
None of Colon's letters are in Italian, he always wrote in Spanish. His first two letters were written to Gabriel Sanchez and Luis de Santangel. Both of them were under surveillance by the Inquisition and had their family members murdered for being Marranos. They helped finance his trip. His third letter was to the King and Queen.
The maps for the voyage were prepared by the cartographer and astronomer, Abraham Zacuto. In his diaries, Colon mentions Zacuto as a personal friend and maintains that the lives of his crew were saved by information of an eclipse of the moon on February 29, 1504. Zacuto's works were written in Hebrew!