Discovering Columbus

13 Sep

Who is buried in the Sevilla Cathedral? Many popes. And Christopher Columbus?

I did not know that Sevilla was the port from which famous Spanish explorers like Magellan and Columbus departed. I have always conceptualized Sevilla as being in central southern Spain and landlocked. But no, the Guadalquivir River flows through Sevilla to the sea. It was here that Isabella and Ferdinand blessed explorers and conquistadoras sailing to the New World.

As it turns out Columbus’ tomb, homed in the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, may hold Columbus…or his brother. Why the confusion? Columbus’ corpse traveled a lot after his death; Spain, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Spain. Or maybe the corpus never left the Dominican Republic. DNA testing of the remains is inconclusive. Wherever he is the catafalque itself is oversized art dwarfing nearby humans.

Where we live in the state of New Mexico US, Spanish conquistadoras are not so revered. In New Mexico, Spaniards attacked and cut off the left foot of every Native American male in the Acoma pueblo. A lack of appreciation for Spain’s exploratory zeal is understandable.

In any event, whoever is in the coffin, Christopher Columbus will always be a big deal in Sevilla.

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