There are no known contemporary portraits of the Discoverer.
Columbus’s ship was burned and he had to swim for shore.
After that, Columbus managed to make his way to Lisbon, where he found his brother Bartolomeo, who was already working there as a cartographer.
Left inset: Wùadisùaw III, who Manuel Rosa believes was Columbus’s father.
Painting by Jan Matejko; Right inset: Posthumous portrait of Columbus by Sebastiano Del Piombo, 1519.
In the Will, supposedly made in 1498, the explorer writes: “Since I was born in Genoa…came from it and was born there…”, while the letter dated 2 April 1502 to the Genoese Bank, says: “Though my body is here, my heart is constantly there (Genoa)…” The vast majority of scholars believe these documents to be genuine, but some consider them forgeries.
In addition to the two documents cited here, there are a few others that seem to confirm the Genoese identity of Columbus.
Given Columbus’s fame, there are many nations vying to claim him as their own.
Among the various options for his origin are Italy, Portugal, Catalonia and Greece.
His name in Italian is Cristoforo Colombo and in Spanish, Cristóbal Colón.
His father was Domenico Colombo, a lower middle-class wool weaver, and his mother was Susanna Fontanarossa.
Columbus had three brothers, Bartolomeo, Giovanni Pellegrino, Giacomo and one sister, Bianchinetta. His first voyage was supposedly to the Island of Chios, then a Genoese colony in the Aegean Sea.