One of the most popular tourist attractions in Seville is the tomb of Christopher Columbus, located inside the city’s incredible cathedral. The tomb attracts masses of visitors all through the day, as people from all over the world flock to get a glimpse of the final resting place of one of humanity’s most influential individuals. Is there more to this than meets the eye? Of course there is.
LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT
his early years, but it is generally accepted that Christopher Columbus (known as Cristóbal Colon to the Spanish) was born in the Republic of Genoa way back in 1451, the son of a weaver and a cheese-stand assistance, a magnificent combination if ever there was one. Columbus travelled plenty as a child, educating himself as best he could along the way. As he grew into his adult years he understood just how lucrative the wider world could be, and lobbied for years to explore in order to exploit the spice trade. It was the Catholic Monarchs of Spain who finally gave in, financing a trip to the west in 1492. Columbus eventually undertook four jaunts to the Americas, starting the European colonisation of the west and opening it up to trade, exploitation and all the rest as a result. Love him or despise him, few individuals have influenced the course of humanity as much as Columbus.
SO WHAT DOES THIS
have to do with Seville? Well, it was the port of Seville from which Columbus set off on his famous journeys, and it was here that he was initially buried. His remains were eventually moved to the Santo Domingo Cathedral in Dominican Republic as per the wishes of his son’s widow, who claimed that Christopher’s dying wish was to ‘not be buried on Spanish soil’. When the Spanish lost control of the DR his remains were moved to Havana in Cuba, before the diminishing of the Spanish territories saw whatever was left of Chris moved back to Seville and the tomb in which we find him to day.
BUT IS THAT WHERE
we find him? Columbus was moved back to Seville in 1898, but 12 years earlier some workmen in Santo Domingo made a curious discovery. They found a lead box containing what seemed to be the remains of a human, a human identified by the inscription ― ‘Illustrious and Enlightened male Don Christobel Colon’. This urn was eventually moved to the massive Columbus Lighthouse Monument in Santo Domingo, and the Dominican Republic still claims to be the final resting place of the famous explorer.
as you can see. Both claims are fair and understandable, but it is the beautiful city of Seville that will resonate most clearly with those looking to discover Columbus. He stayed with monks at the monastery on the eponymous Isla de la Cartuja before setting out on his journeys, and a statue of Chris can be found here. His tomb in the cathedral will continue to attract visitors all year round, and the legitimacy of the remains is somewhat irrelevant. The tomb is a stunner, a vaulted affair held aloft by four allegorical figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain during his life ― Castille, Aragon, Navara and Leon. So, is Christopher Columbus buried in Seville’s cathedral? We’re going to go ahead and say yes, although that could be because we’ve queued up plenty to glimpse that magnificent tomb.