A Polish friend of mine stated that Columbus was of Polish heritage. Claims are made that he was a Polish immigrant to Italy, and that he came from a disgraced noble family in Poland.

  • 7
    Seems that everyone wants a piece of Colombus - LOL. Many Jews claim he was actually a Spanish Jew fleeing the Inquisition.
    – user2590
    Jul 19, 2013 at 4:57
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    Of course he was Polish - his name is Krzysztof and it's definitely a Polish one. Jul 19, 2013 at 10:58
  • I always thought he was Italian. Jul 19, 2013 at 19:59
  • @FivePoints Darek was joking :)
    – jwenting
    Aug 15, 2013 at 5:12
  • I believe this all (or mostly) comes from a psuedo-historian named Manuel Rosa. I read his book Columbus the Untold story, which posits this idea that Columbus was really the son of a Polish king. Unfortunately his evidence for this is mostly conjecture with no real evidence other than his opinion. It is an interesting theory but I dont necessarily believe its true.
    – ed.hank
    Jul 27, 2020 at 13:59

5 Answers 5


Manuel da Silva Rosa, an information technology analyst, claims that Columbus was the son of Władysław III of Poland (and Hungary, but for some reason nobody seems to mention that).

To make this claim, he has to first claim that Władysław III, who died in a battle in 1444 without having children and had his head displayed on a pole, for no good reason faked his death and moved to Madeira, where he assumed the name "Henrique Alemão" (Henry the German).

This Henrique Alemão, which did exist and lived in Madeira, had two children. Sigismund, who was lost at sea on the way to Lisbon, and a daughter Barbara.

As there is evidence Columbus lived in Genua, Rosa also claims that this evidence concerns a completely different Christopher Columbus. But since Columbus himself said that he was from Genua, this means that Columbus in fact must be the aforementioned Sigismund, who must at some point have faked his death (runs in the family, apparently) and stolen this Genuese mans identity.

The purpose of stealing this mans identity was apparently to protect the secret that his father had been a king. Why this needed to be a secret is unknown to me. And none of this is actually corroborated by evidence in his book. The main argument is that because Columbus married a noble women, he has to have been noble himself.

Which means it is a conspiracy theory, because a lot of people high up in Spanish society must have known that he in fact was the son of a polish king who faked his own death, but they must all have been complicit in not telling anyone else or ever writing this down.

  • 3
    perfectly plausible. After all, the more unlikely something is, the more likely it is true. At least if you're a conspiracy theorist or live on the Dyskworld :)
    – jwenting
    Aug 15, 2013 at 5:16
  • This does not answer the question at all.The question requires an answer that either proves or disproves the hypothesis that Columbus was Polish, but you have done neither: Debunking one particular source does not mean you have debunked the theory itself, particularly since the question cited no particular source.
    – user2590
    Aug 15, 2013 at 6:12
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    I'm debunking the only claim that he was Polish, the one referenced in the question. It is therefore an answer to the question. Aug 15, 2013 at 6:32

Columbus' origins are a bit of a mystery. He himself claimed to have been born in Genoa, but this may have been a ruse according to some. ChristopherColumbus lists the most notable claims, Poland is not among those. What all the possible locations have in common is that they're in southern Europe, a quick look at the map shows that Poland is not in that area.

  • 3
    Given how hated the guy has become, its a wonder anybody wants to claim him.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:41
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    @FelixGoldberg Latin Americans
    – Arani
    Aug 15, 2013 at 8:03
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    @Arani no, political activists who want to cast an image of "the noble savage" whose idyllic, peaceful, and hugely successful lifestyle (which never existed) was brutely interrupted by the arrival of the Evil White Man. Which means mostly American and European liberal social "scientists" and politicians.
    – jwenting
    Aug 15, 2013 at 9:19
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    @FelixGoldberg: The Oatmeal for one. Nov 16, 2013 at 1:48
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    @AgentOrange I don't think anyone does, but many people (me included) will point out that they were not especially brutal compared to other people at that time, including the tribes they encountered in the Americas. In fact many of the conquistadores seem to have been revulsed by the human sacrifices and the wholesale slaughter of prisoners they witnessed.
    – jwenting
    Jul 27, 2020 at 6:47

This story was also noticed by all Polish media.

In the Polish Radio channel 4 (link) there was an programme about Manuel Rosa, "Portuguese historian, from Azores. He works on Duke University in Northern Carolina. Fluent in seven languages​​, has been hailed as the greatest living repository of knowledge about Columbus. He studies [Columbus'] life for over 20 years, and during that time he has already written three books about a famous adventurer." Rosa states that Columbus was a son of Polish king Władysław III Jagiellon, who had not died during the battle of Varna but fleed to Portugal.

The same story in the Polish tabloid "Super Express" and important newspaper "Gazeta Wyborcza", and many others.

Also an English article from The Telegraph

I think that at the moment Mr. Rosa is the one who claims this. In (Polish) interview with him he was asked about potential DNA tests (my translation):

DNA testing is actually one of the more robust ways of proving the truth of my theory. We can also prove by discovery, what name he'd been using before he changed it to false one. Prior to 1494, when he arrived in Spain, he'd left behind in the Portuguese documents, where he is listed under his real name. But Portuguese historians do not know who's under that name. In Portugal, the name was not Columbus, so even if historians see this document, they do not realize who is really about. But DNA tests may ultimately anticipate. If the results will agree, it will be a proof of my theory. If not, or some part of my thesis is incorrect, or, well, Władyslaw III could not be the son of Władysław Jagiello...

There are many reasons why the tests could not prove kinship. When people read the book, they may say, "Wow, that makes sense. We need to do a DNA test." This can simplify things and it will be easier to convince decision-makers to carry out tests. But they also say, "This is crazy! There is no need to do the tests." We've done DNA testing in Italy for 477 persons with Columbus surname, none matched. It really undermines the theory of Italian. If it's not Columbus "is the image" we have to find out who it is. Now, after 21 years of research, I believe that the son of Władysław III fits most.

I don't know what the truth is but for me it seems that also Mr. Rosa does not states decisively that he was Polish -- this "fits him most".

  • 1
    That is fascinating. Anything by other historians who have evaluated his evidence? The Duke connection doesn't really say much, it looks he works for the Duke tech support help desk (this is not to dismiss his historical work! It is just that I suspect it is mentioned as if it will add legitimacy)
    – kmlawson
    Jul 19, 2013 at 13:33
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    This sounds weird - why does he expect that 500 later random Italian people whose name is Columbus will be genetically related to the Columbus? Did he first filter those 477 people for the provenance of their surnames? Could it be that some of their ancestors just took the name because it's a famous one? Aug 15, 2013 at 7:10
  • +1. But I must go on record indicating that my upvote does not constitute acceptance of Mr. Rosa's theory (based on what I know of it so far). Here's an excerpt from his interview: "He was really like the James Bond of his time. He was working for the foreign government, and he did everything he could to not give away his secret mission and to succeed in it. His mission was to convince Spain that he had reached India across the Atlantic Ocean". dukechronicle.com/articles/2009/10/12/… Conspiracy theory detected... Aug 15, 2013 at 7:22
  • @FelixGoldberg N. Davies "Isles.." mentions such genetic relation, take a look here. Of course I understand no name connection here exists :). The reference is made to an article "History Teacher Bones Up on an Ancestor" in "The Times", on 1997-03-08 by N. Hawkes; I can't however find free text online.
    – Voitcus
    Aug 18, 2013 at 21:24
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    @Felix: I'm also very skeptic to Mr. Rosa's theories, and I wanted only to show his ideas, which does not mean I agree. In my opinion the probability of Władysław III, king of Poland surviving and escaping to Portugal is almost 0.
    – Voitcus
    Aug 18, 2013 at 21:28

I found this here: http://1492us.blogspot.com

KOLUMB. Historia Nieznana - magnum opus

Miltiades Varvounis, distinguished Greek-Polish historian, researcher and author of the critically acclaimed Jan Sobieski: The King Who Saved Europe among several other history books, wrote in an extensive article about Manuel Rosa's Polish book on Christopher Columbus saying that KOLUMB. Historia Nieznana:

"... is a magnum opus and by no means should be considered a work of pseudo history or just another source of nutty conspiracy theories. Rosa's numerous reliable findings and solid theories would make Sherlock Holmes jealous. The History of Columbus has many mixed-up facts and personalities, and maybe the time has come for the discoverer's life to be finally rewritten." - Source Lithuanian Heritage Magazine, (January/February 2913) pg. 28.

So it looks like Manuel Rosa's idea that Columbus could be the son of King Ladislau III is not so crazy after all. He seems to have the support of many Portuguese Academics, such as Drª Manuela Mendonça "PRESIDENT OF THE PORTUGUESE ACADEMY OF HISTORY" it is on the Portuguese language blog- http://colombo-o-novo.blogspot.com -

What seems to be obvious results of Manuel Rosa book is that the current history of a Genoese Columbus was false history... why was a false story sold to the public??

  • Could the downvoter please explain his reasons?
    – Voitcus
    Aug 18, 2013 at 21:29
  • @Voitcus Perhaps they didn't like the last paragraph. Still, downvoting w/o comment is bad form. Aug 18, 2013 at 22:14

@ Lennart Regebro having read the Portuguese version of Rosa's 2009 book, I believe it was this book translated into the Spanish as Colon la historia nunca contada, and into Polish as Kolumb historia nieznana, I can say that Rosa proves 100% that the guy we call Columbus WAS NEVER called Columbus (or Colombo in Italian) he was called Cristobal Colon which is not the same. Furthermore, the book has proven that the only document that supported the Genoese birth, a Last Will dated 1498, in which Columbus supposedly declared that he "was born in Genoa" is a forgery committed some 80 years after the discoverer died by a Genoese named Baltazar Colombo who wished to steal the discoverer's inheratance... The document clearly shows a date of 1598 with a 4 later written over the 5. These are the two convincing points that have convicned many academics that the history in our shcoolbooks was false. I know many skeptical Portuguese academics and history professors who read the books and now support Rosa's research, such as Manuela Mendonca, current President of Portuguese Academy of History, but so does the former President of that academic institution, Professor Verissimo Serrao. In fact I found this text ont he web - Professor João Abel da Fonseca, Deputy Secretary-General of the Marine Academy, Secretary of the Class of Maritime History, Academic Correspondent of the Portuguese Academy of History, Vice-President of the Division of History of the Geographical Society of Lisbon, and Chairman of the Council of the Institute of European Culture and Atlantic, said: "Any historian who is lucid (also if he is not lucid he can hardly be called a historian), given the knowledge of the social relations that prevailed at the time, cannot have any doubt of the FACT, that is more than obvious, that CRISTÓBAL COLÓN HAD TO BE SOMEONE OF THE HIGHEST NOBILITY. Regarding this fact, END OF DISCUSSION. The evidence is so plentiful that one merely needs to enumerate them to come to this obvious conclusion. It [the high nobility birth] is an issue that is no longer worth wasting time debating." I suggest that nobody has the right to criticize the research until they have read it, and that one shold question or seek reviews by readers of the books, there are many reviews in polish although not many in English or Portuguese. But I have used Google translate to read them and they are all positive and convinced by the book's arguments. By criticizing without reading the research it is merely clouding up more of what media already is inventing about Rosa's book. This is an English link http://www.dziennik.com/wideo/artykul/manuel-rosa-kolumb-nie-byl-wlochem

  • 1
    I think this does mostly answer the question (so I'm leaving it for now). But if your intention was really to chat with another user about the contents of one of his answers, rather than to answer the question Five Points asked, in the future consider using chat instead.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 15, 2013 at 15:51
  • Manuel Rosa's book was published in English by the publisher of the Polish Daily News and just declared BEST HISTORY BOOK OF 2016 by Huffington Post. More here columbusbook.blogspot.com
    – user3170
    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:39

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