Columbus and His Jewish Ancestors

by Willie Martin

Here is a large part of what I have on Christopher Columbus; and it shows clearly, in my opinion, that he was, indeed, a Jew and that his intentions for finding India (he was not searching for a new world, he was trying to find a short cut to India; and this is why the indigenous people in South America, the Caribbean, and America were named Indians, because he, at first thought he had discovered a short cut to India) Also, one might keep in mind that the Jews have been run out of every country in Europe at one time or another, because of the evil they were committing, but it was always the royalty which brought them back, much to the dismay of the common people. For they never wanted the Jews back in the land, for they were well aware of the evil they would do to them, both in murder and theft of their property and etc.

Following is a short history of Columbus and his Jewish ancestors:

Over the next centuries the centers of Jewish development moved into the Western Hemisphere were land and commercial opportunities proved the incentives for immigration. The open and ungoverned territory and the docile and vulnerable native population offered an irresistible attraction to the "Maligned race." They acquired great wealth in their Caribbean and South American enterprises and eventually moved into the American Northeast which became the economic focal point. It started with the forced expulsion of the Jews from the Spanish Empire and with the early explorer and "discoverer" of America, Christopher Columbus. Columbus, Jews and the Slave Trade: "Not jewels, but Jews, were the real financial basis of the first expedition of Columbus." (George Cohen, The Jew in the Making of America, p. 33)

On August 2, 1492, more than 300,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, (Seymour B. Liebman, The Jews In New Spain: Faith, Flame, and the Inquisition, p. 32: The actual number is in dispute. Some authorities have said that 160,000 families were expelled, while others have said 800,000 individuals; few have estimated over one million) ending their five century involvement in the Black hostage trade in that region. In fact, the Spanish Jews amassed large fortunes dealing in Christian {White} slaves and became quite prominent within Spain's hierarchy. (Harry L. Golden and Martin Rywell, Jews in American History: Their Contribution to the United States of America, p. 5; Feuerlicht, p. 39; "The golden age of Jewry in Spain owed some of its wealth to an international network of Jewish slave traders. Bohemian Jews purchased Slavonians {Whites} and sold them to Spanish Jews for resale to the Moors." Also, Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 402)

They had obtained the most important offices and positions of trust in the cabinets and counting houses of the rulers and had maintained great influence over the regional trade causing many to believe that the Jews exercised an unhealthy domination over the economy of the region. (M. Kayserling, Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries, pp.28-31,83) The rulers were convinced enough to order all Jews to either convert to Christianity or leave Spain.

The Marranos: The Secret Jews: The Marranos were those compulsorily converted Jews and their descendants who outwardly became Christians but secretly continued to meet in the synagogue, celebrated feast days and observed the Jewish Sabbath. The name Marrano may be derived from the old Castilian Marrano {swine} or perhaps from the Arabic mahran {forbidden}. In 1350, Spain began a series of conversion drives to convert all Jews in Spain to Christianity, and in unprecedented numbers, and with little resistance, the Jews converted. (Max I. Dimont, The Jews in America, The Roots, History and Destiny of American Jews, p. 23) 2

This rush to mass conversion, an event, unparalleled in Jewish history, is perhaps best summed up by Cecil Roth: "It was not difficult for insincere, temporizing Jews to become insincere temporizing Christians." (Dimont, p. 24) The "Marranos," also called conversos {the converted}, or nefiti {the neophytes}, or "New Christians," wee simply charged with not being Catholic. The same applied to the Muslims, who were expelled in like manner and in greater numbers than the Jews. (Dimont, p. 27)

Some fifty thousand Jews chose to convert rather than leave their land and their riches. (Dimont, p. 27; Liebman, The Jews in New Spain, p. 32: Father Mariana, a Jesuit, sated: "Many persons [condemned] the resolution adopted by...Ferdinand in expelling so profitable and opulent a people, acquainted with every mode of collecting wealth.")

Contrary to popular notions, those who left were not refugees searching for religious freedom, but entrepreneurs looking for economic opportunities. When they fled, they brought few Torah scrolls and even fewer copies of the Jewish holy book the Talmud with them. When asked what he thought most Marranos knew of Judaism after their flight from Spain and Portugal, Roth answered in one word - "Nothing." (Dimont, p. 28)

The majority fled south and eastward to North Africa and to centers like Salonika, Constantinople, Aleppo and Damascus, (Simeion J. Maslin, "1732 and 1982 in Curacao," American Jewish Historical Quarterly changed from PAJHS, Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, Vol. 72 (December 1982), p. 158; According to Lee Anne Durham Seminario, The History of the Blacks, The Jews and the Moors in Spain (Madrid, 1975), p. 17, Jews were familiar with North Africa: "There are some Catalonian and Moroccan maps of the fourteenth century, drawn from the knowledge gleaned from Jewish merchants who could travel with relative freedom in North Africa, and showing, with surprising accuracy, the routes from the Mediterranean to the land of the Negroes in Guinea and the western Sudan) while others sought and found refuge in the Netherlands where they 'established synagogues, schools, cemeteries and a high level of wealth and culture.'" (Maslin, p. 160)

Most escaped "with considerable sums of money." (Dr. M. Kayserling, "The Colonization of America by the Jews, Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, Vol. 2 (1894), p. 75) Though scattered throughout the globe by political, economic and religious circumstances, they would reunite later in a an unholy coalition of kidnappers and slave makers. The day after the Spanish expulsion, Christopher Columbus, whose actual name was Cristobol Colon, took a group of Jewish refugees with him to the New World. (Max J. Kohler, "Luis De Santangel and Columbus," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, Vol. 10 (1902), p. 162)

Columbus himself, in his journal, calls attention to the "coincidence" of his first voyage of discovery with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, in the following passage: "So, after having expelled the Jews from your dominions, your Highness, in the same month of January, ordered me to proceed with a sufficient armament, to the said regions of India. " For further clarification see Kaysering, Christopher Columbus, p. 85 and p. 85 note) Queen Isabella signed the expulsion decree and Columbus' voyage order the very same day. But it was not the queen or the king who funded the voyage.

George Cohen, among many Jewish historians, proclaims that wealthy Jews financed the expeditions of Columbus, and adds that the story of Isabella's jewels "is not founded on facts," but rather it was an invention "intended to glorify the Queen." (G. Cohen, p. 37; Kayserling, Christopher Columbus, p. 74, states the same: "This story...has recently been relegated to the realm of fable.") Three Marranos, Luis de Santagel {or Santangelo}, (Cecil Roth, History of the Marranos, pp. 272-273: "The first royal grant to export grain and horses to America was made in favor of Luis de Santangel, who may thus be reckoned the founder of two of the greatest American industries." 3

Kohler, "Columbus," p. 159: "In Emilio Castelar's 'Life of Columbus,' Century Magazine, Vol. 44 (July, 1892), p. 364, an interesting passage concerning Columbus' indebtedness to the Jews reads as follows: "It is a historical fact that one day Ferdinand V, on his way from Aragon to Castile, and needing some ready cash, as often happened, owing to the impoverishment of those kingdoms, halted his horse at the door of Santangelo's house in Calatayud, and dismounting, entered and obtained a considerable sum from the latter's inexhaustible private coffers."

Also, Kayserling, Christopher Columbus, shows that this same Luis de Santangel, who was then chancellor of the royal household and comptroller general of Aragon, personally advanced nearly all this money (pp. 55-79). He says (p. 75): At that time "neither Ferdinand nor Isabella, had at their disposal enough money to equip a fleet." See Kohler, "Columbus," p. 160)) a wealthy merchant, Gabriel Sanchez, (Roth, Marranos, p. 272: "Gabriel Snaches, the High Treasurer of Aragon, who was another of the explorer's most fervent patrons, was full Jewish blood, being a son of a converso couple...") the royal treasurer and his assistant, Juan Cabrero, influenced Queen Isabella to help them finance the voyage. Cabrero and Santagel invested 17,000 ducats, which would be well over $100,000 today. (Two hundred years later a fully equipped sailing vessel might have cost $30,000)

Alfonso de la Caballeria and Diego de Deza also provided funds; Abraham Ben Samuel Zacuto provided astronomy and navigation equipment and Isaac Abravanel also assisted. Six prominent Jews accompanied Columbus including Mastre Bernal, a physician; Marco, a surgeon; Roderigo Sanchez, and inspector; Luis de Torres, an interpreter; and sailors Alfonso de la Calle, (Roth, Marranos, p. 272-273) "Mestre Bernal, who had been reconciled in 1490 for Judaizing." ; "Roderigo Sanchez, a relative of the High Treasurer, joined the party as Superintendent at the personal request of the Queen."; Luis de Torres, the interpreter, was, according to Golden and Rywell, the first European to set foot in the new land; Alsonso de la Calle, whose very name denoted that he was born in the Jewish quarter.') and Roderigo de Triana, who is claimed to be "the first white man ever to see the new world." (According to Golden and Rywell, p. 9: "It was two o'clock in the morning when he shouted 'Land, Land.' The sails were shortened and at daybreak Friday, October 12, 1492, a new world was before them." Columbus claimed that it was he who first sighted land in order to claim the royal gratuity of ten thousand maravedis and a silk waistcoat promised to the one who made the first sighting. See Kayserling, Christopher Columbus, pp. 91, 110)

Torres settled in Cuba and has been credited with introducing tobacco to Europe from his vast tobacco plantations. (Levitan, p. 4; Golden and Rywell, p. 9, claim that Torres "acquired great tracts of land from the Indians." A family member, Antonio de Torres, later commanded twelve of Columbus' fleet {Golden and Rywell, p. 7}; Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, p. 138; "Tobacco, so far as its use in Europe is concerned, was also discovered by a Jew, Luis de Torres, a companion of Columbus. The Church, as is well known, raised many objections to the use of tobacco, and King James 1st pedantic treatise only voiced general prejudice. Jewish Rabbis, on the other hand, hailed the use of tobacco as an aid to sobriety." Abrahams, p. 139, "It is worth noting that Jews early took to the trade in tobacco, a trade which they almost monopolize in Europe today." Torres is also claimed to have named the turkey calling it "tukki," the Hebrew word for peacock. (See Jack Wolfe, A Century with Liow Jewry, 1833-1944, p. 10)

Cecil Roth's History of the Marranos: "The connection between the Jews and the discovery of America was not, however, merely a question of fortuitous coincidence. The epoch-making expedition of 1492 was as a matter of fact very largely a Jewish, or rather a Marrano, enterprise. (Roth, Marranos, p. 271) Columbus, the Jew? A few scholars, including Roth, present strong evidence that Columbus was himself a Jew. 4

He hid his Jewishness, they say, because 'no Spanish Jew could ever have expected aid from the king and queen of Spain, so the explorer claimed to be an Italian Catholic.'" (Tina Levitan, Jews in American Life, p. 4; See also Cecil Roth, Personalities and Events in Jewish History, pp. 192-211)

Tina Levitan, author of Jews in American Life, found the first reference to Columbus' Jewishness in print in a diplomatic document dated fifty-eight years after the discoverer's death. The French ambassador to Spain, she reveals, refers to "Columbus the Jew," (Levitan, p. 5)

Furthermore she states: "From him we learn that Cristobal Colon {who never called himself Christopher Columbus and never spoke or wrote Italian} was the son of Susanna Fontanarossa {also spelled Fonterosa} and Domingo Colon of Pontevedra, Spain, where those bearing such surnames were Jews, some of whom had been brought before the Spanish Inquisition...Letters written by him to strangers have the customary X at the top to indicate the faith of the writer, but of the thirteen letters written to his son only one bears an X, and that letter was meant to be shown to the King of Spain. The others have in the place of the X a sign that looks like the Hebrew characters B and H, initials used by religious Jews meaning in Hebrew, 'With the Help of God.'" (Levitan, p. 5)

Harry L. Golden and Martin Rywell, authors of Jews in American History: Their Contribution to the United States of America, are quite insistent about the Jewishness of Columbus. The cite where Ferdinand, Columbus' son, writes that his father's "progenitors were of the blood royal of Jerusalem..." (Golden and Rywell, p. 7; Friedrich Heer, God's First Love: Christians and Jews over Two Thousand Years, pp. 04-106; Heer discusses Columbus' interest in the messianic implications of his western explorations and his repeated references to prophecy as well as other indications of his Jewish descent)

In Columbus' words, "for when all is done, David, that most prudent king was first a shepherd and afterwards chosen King of Jerusalem, and I am a servant of that same Lord who raised him to such a dignity." (Golden and Rywell, p. 7) One Jewish author insists, "All existing portraits of the discoverer gave him a Jewish cast of countenance." Another claimed that a "certain soft-hardness in Columbus is a Jewish trait." (Lee M. Friedman, Jewish Pioneers and Patriots, pp. 6263) His lineage also pointed to Jewish roots - his mother's maiden name was Suzanna Fonterosa, "daughter of Jacob, granddaughter of Abraham and a Jewess. His father, Domingo Colon, was a map-seller. Did not Columbus write the King of Spain that his ancestors were interested in maps?" (Golden and Rywell, p. 7, cite the works of Celso G. de la Riega (Geographical Society of Madrid, 1898) and Henry Vignaud (American Historical Review, n.d.) Columbus, the Slave Dealing Jew? Christopher Columbus was an experienced sailor long before his infamous voyage west. Sir Arthur Helps writes that, "In the course of [his] letters [Columbus] speaks after the fashion of a practiced slave dealer." In fact, in 1498, his five ship expedition brought 600 Indians to Spain as slaves. Two hundred were given to the masters of the ships and four hundred sold in Spain. (Golden and Rywell, p. 18 note; Sir Arthur Helps, The Spanish Conquest in America, Vol. 1, pp. 113-114) Columbus employed slave labor in gold mining even before sailing for the New World. He helped to start the Portuguese West African settlement of San Jorge El Mina (St. George of the Mines) in present-day Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast. (Eric Rosenthal, Gold! Gold! Gold!: The Johannesburg Gold Rush, p. 71 note) 5

When the Spaniards found gold in the New World, reports Eric Rosenthal in his book, Gold! Gold! Gold!: The Johannesburg Gold Rush, they started "on a gold hunt of such intensity that the natives came to believe the white men suffered from some disease curable only by the limitless application of this metal...[When] Columbus discovered that, apart from some poor alluvial deposits, the gold simply did not exist, he forced the harmless Indian aborigines into slavery...The entire importation of gold from the New World for the first 20 years after 1492 represented in case only $300,000 a year, and the total then recovered, worth about $5 million, cost at least 1 million Indian lives. (Humboldt is paraphrased in Rosenthal, p. 71; According to a translation of the Spanish-Jewish historian Joseph ben Joshua Hakkohen found in Richard J.H. Gotthell's, "Columbus in Jewish Literature," PAJHS, Vol. 2 (1894), p. 136, upon Columbus' arrival in the "new World") "Columbus rejoiced when he saw that the natives had much gold, and that they were disposed to be friendly...He placed [among the Indians] thirty-eight men in order that they might learn the language of the people and the hidden places of the country, until the time when he should return to them...Columbus took with him ten Indians..."

Columbus' chief aim was to find gold, writes M. Jayserling, Christopher Columbus, p. 86: "In a letter to the queen he frankly declared that this gold might even be the means of purifying the souls of men and of securing their entrance into Paradise. Thus he stipulated that he was to have a tenth of all pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices and other wares, in short, a tenth of everything found bought, bartered, or otherwise obtained in the newly discovered land! Columbus was anything but a blessing to the New World population.

The Europeans, led by Columbus, brought unprecedented brutality to the West leaving the remains of whole communities of Red people in their wake." (See Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson's, Colonial Latin America, pp. 28-33, in which they chronicle the legacy of Christopher Columbus and the brutal conditions imposed by the Spaniards on the indigenous citizens of the "New World.")

On Hispaniola Columbus found gold and a docile Arawak population. He lavished praise on the natives and gained their trust and affection and then proceeded to enslave them. According to Columbus: "They are cowards, a thousand running away from three, and thus they are good to be ordered about, to be made to work, plant, and do whatever is wanted, to build towns and be taught to go clothed and accept our customs." (Carl Ortwin Sauer, The Early Spanish Main, p. 32; Burkholder and Johnson, p. 26) Cities began to spring up all over the island of Hispaniola. The traffic in slaves - African and Indian {and Whites} grew rapidly, and some Jews were engaged in this trade as agents for the royal families of Spain and Portugal. (Burkholder and Johnson, p. 28; Liebman, The Jews in New Spain, p. 47) Whether or not Columbus was a Jew, as so many Jewish historians now claim, has not been definitively proven. It is clear that Jewish investors financed his brutality against the enslavement of the native population. The history books appear to have confused the word Jews for the word jewels. Queen Isabella's jewels had no part in the finance of Columbus' expedition, but her Jews did. (G. Cohen, pp. 33, 37. See also Kayserling, Christopher Columbus, p. 110) (This section on the Jews and the slave trade was taken from "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Vol. 1, pp. 7-17)