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Bones of Contention…

From MSNBC and the Associated Press, here’s an article about a team of Spanish researchers who are attempting to verify the claim that a tomb in the Dominican Republic holds the remains of Christopher Columbus.

After detailing the dispute between the researchers and the Dominican government, the article tells the story of how Columbus’s bones ended up on the island of Hispaniola, and the Haitian Revolution plays a key role:

Columbus was buried in the northern Spanish city of Valladolid, where he died on May 20, 1506. He had asked to be buried in the Americas, but no church of sufficient stature existed there. Three years later, his remains were moved to a monastery on La Cartuja, next to Seville.

In 1537, Maria de Rojas y Toledo, widow of another of Columbus’ sons, Diego, sent the bones of her husband and his father to the cathedral in Santo Domingo for burial. They remained there until 1795, when Spain ceded the island of Hispaniola to France and decided Columbus’ remains should not fall into the hands of foreigners. (emphasis added)

A set of remains that the Spaniards believed were Columbus’ were first shipped to Havana, then back to Seville when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898.

In 1877, however, workers digging in the Santo Domingo cathedral unearthed a leaden box containing bones and bearing the inscription, “Illustrious and distinguished male, Christopher Columbus.”

The Dominicans say these are the genuine remains and the Spaniards took the wrong body with them back in 1795.

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