SCIENTISTS hope to answer an ongoing controversy, where the famous 15 th Century explorer Christopher Columbus was born using DNA samples.
Historians believe he was a son of Genoa and born in 1451 but various theories over the decades claim the discoverer of the New World hailed from Portugal or Spain rather than Italy.
At the University of Granada, Jose Antonio Lorente – lead scientist in the DNA study – said: “There is no doubt on our part he was an Italian; but we can provide objective data that close a series of existing theories.”
Various theories put his birthplace in various places in Spain including Valencia, Espinosa de Henares, Galicia or Majorca, others have it in the Alentejo region of Portugal.
Amateur historian and researcher Alfonso Sanz believes Columbus hailed from Espinosa de Henares in central Spain. “I hope we will come to the conclusion that unites us in our common objective – which is to demonstrate that Columbus was a Spanish nobleman and not an Italian sailor.”
The DNA will be analysed independently in laboratories in Europe and the Americas and results are due to be revealed in October. The tiny samples were taken from what are believed to be the remains of the explorer, his son Fernando and his brother Diego.
The first samples were collected 16 years ago from bone fragments and analysis will resume thanks to technological advances which will ensure none of the precious material was wasted without providing answers.
Columbus died in Spain in 1506. However, in line with his wishes he was buried on the island of Hispaniola – now home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He was interred there in 1542, but later his remains were moved to Cuba in 1795 and brough back to Seville in 1898.