In a Huffington Post article published on May 22, 2012, we read that:
“Some scholars, after analyzing Columbus’ will and other documents, have devised a new theory about the explorer. They believe he was a Marrano, or a Jew who pretended to be a Catholic to avoid religious persecution. These historians also theorize that Columbus’ main goal in life was to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim control, and that he decided to take his historic quest to North America in order to find a new homeland for Jews who had been forced out of Spain…
“Scholars also point to the real financiers of the voyage as evidence of the trip’s purpose. While most schoolchildren grow up learning that the expedition was financed by Queen Isabella, historians say it was mostly paid for by two prominent Jews who had been forced to convert to Catholicism, Louis de Santangel and Gabriel Sanchez.”
It is also recorded that Don Isaac Abrabanel, a rabbi and Jewish statesman, helped fund the voyage. Also, the first two letters Columbus sent back were addressed to Santangel and Sanchez telling them of his discoveries.
If you have not heard this theory before,
I bet it surprises you!
There is quite a bit of evidence that would suggest that this theory is true. Columbus’ final will included a request that one tenth of his income (a tithe) be given to the poor, and that part of his income would provide a dowry for poor young ladies—long-held Jewish traditions.
Columbus was originally scheduled to set sail on August 2, 1492 on the day that happened to be TishaB’Av which marks the destruction of the First and Second Temple. The departure was postponed one day, perhaps in order to avoid setting sail on this unlucky and somber day of remembrance. Instead, Columbus set sail on the day that the Spanish government gave Jews three choices: convert, leave, or die.
It is amazing to think about the fact that quite possibly North America was discovered with the heart intention of finding a safe place for the Jewish people to call home, and thereby a place of religious freedom and independence.
Regardless of what you believe about Christopher Columbus, when we fast-forward to US independence, it is clear that our founding fathers desired to give birth to a nation of independence and freedom.
I hope that during this season of Thanksgiving you celebrate some of the values that our country was founded on even though we have strayed so far. And I would encourage you to take this time to pray for our leaders and pray for America rather than curse her with our complaints.
Let us pray together that America would remain a thankful, independent, and free nation!