Christopher Columbus' Jewish roots examined by historians





Over five centuries after the famed explorer's death, historians are taking a fresh look at what motivated Christopher Columbus to make his voyage across the Atlantic -- and how his faith may have played into those motivations.

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.

During the time of Columbus' voyage, Marranos were a targeted group. Tens of thousands of them were tortured during the Spanish Inquisition, so keeping one's true religious identity secret was a crucial priority for many....




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