Culture And Media

Italy: Truth about discovery of Americas lies in Vatican, says author

Rome, 9 October (AKI) - By Klaus Heiss - The author of a book disputing the date of the discovery of the Americas and the nationality of Renaissance explorer Christopher Columbus said on Friday that the truth about his voyages lies in the Vatican.

"The truth is most likely found in the Vatican," said author and journalist Ruggero Marino in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

Marino is the author of the book Christopher Columbus, the Last Templar, which has been published in eight countries, including the United States and Canada.

He was speaking to AKI ahead of the 517th anniversary of Columbus' alleged discovery of the Americas on 12 October 1492.

Marino claims that the traditional Columbus story as told in contemporary textbooks is filled with misinformation generated by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

He believes that Columbus actually reached the Americas for the first time in 1485 and with help from Pope Innocent VIII.

A Latin inscription on the tomb of Pope Innocent VIII in Saint Peter's Basilica is among evidence for this theory, Marino argues.

The inscription says that during the Pope's pontificate "the glory of the discovery of the New World" occurred. Innocent died on 25 July 1492 - before the official story says Columbus set sail.

Marino also claims that Innocent VIII dispatched Columbus hoping he would find gold in order to finance the Crusades. But after the death of Innocent VIII in 1492, his successor Pope Alexander VI, a Spaniard, allegedly covered up the story, allowing the Spanish throne to take credit for the discovery and dishonour Innocent.

Marino told AKI that although he has his own theories about Columbus' disputed nationality, he says there is very little scientific evidence for any of the claims.

"Columbus is scientifically Italian for the Italians, and scientifically from 4 or 5 different cities, he is also scientifically Spaniard for the Spanish, Portuguese for the Portuguese and so on.

"This shows there is absolutely nothing scientific about the history of Columbus," he said.

Marino said he is working on a new book, about Columbus' many journeys between 1453 until 1492. The book will look at the political, religious and historical context of his voyages, explaining why the expedition to the Americas took place.

He said the second part of the new book will also explore the failed attempt to sanctify Columbus.

"I will explain who were the Kings of Spain, and who Columbus really was. He was in effect a mystic over whom two popes fought to achieve his beatification.

"I will show all the documentation for the attempt to make him a saint. An attempt that was later abandoned by the Church, for reasons that we do not know," Marino said.

Marino rebutted critics who have suggested part of his thesis is highly speculative, arguing they are not facing the historical evidence.

"Part of this criticism is absolutely fundamentalist. I could show them documents and proof and they would still not accept the truth.

"The whole history of Columbus has to be re-written because there is nothing scientific about it," he underlined.

According to Marino, the 19th-century Pope Pius IX - the first to to try and make Columbus a saint - knew quite a lot about him.

"Pius IX was the first person who tried to sanctify Columbus. He was in Chile, and I believe maybe in Chile he gathered some facts about Columbus. He was, by the way, the first Pope to go to Latin America, of course before becoming Pope."

"Pius IX, in my opinion, knew a lot more about Columbus than what the so-called official history tells us. In the Vatican, the 'letters of the new world' were there, and there is abundant proof of this."

When asked about the current state of affairs and the divisions between different religions, Marino said the world would have been a completely different place if Pope Innocent VIII had got his way.

"If the intentions of Pope Innocent VIII had been carried out, the world would be a completely different place now. To understand the so-called clash between East and West, we must go back to Columbus' time," Marino said.

According to historic documents and maps revealed by Marino, Columbus said to share the Templar dream of Christians, Muslims, and Jews living in peace in a New Jerusalem, and his trip across the Atlantic was both to find a new passage to Asia and to find the place where the New Jerusalem could be built.

"Columbus had a last chance to find an agreement between Christians, Muslims and Jews. If this did not work out, there was no remedy but a last Crusade."




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