Portuguese American Journal

Manuel Rosa: Surprising revelations about Columbus’ true identity – Interview

By Carolina Matos, Editor (*)

Manuel Rosa has written three books revealing new details about Columbus remarkable life under a secret identity. If proven to be right, what Manuel Rosa has uncovered will change history. Columbus will never be seen the same way ever again.

After 20 years of researching medieval documents at archives in Portugal, Spain, Dominican Republic, and Poland, Rosa believes to have solved a 500 year-old mystery by establishing the theory that Columbus was a Prince, by the name of Segismundo Henriques, born in Madeira, Portugal.

Rosa is convinced that Columbus was the son of King Vladislav III of Poland, who disappeared at the Battle of Varna in 1444. But, according to Rosa, Vladislav III survived the battle and went into exile to Madeira island, where he was known as “Henry the German.” In Madeira, the exiled Polish king fathered Columbus by his wife Senhorinha Annes, a Portuguese noblewoman.

Christopher Columbus

Rosa is also convinced that, due to the circumstance of his birth, to protect his father’s self-exiled identity, Columbus, who died in 1506 after four voyages to the New World, was required to conceal his own identity by changing his real name and hiding his true origin.

According to Rosa, Columbus was trained as a pilot in Portugal and lived in Madeira where he married Filipa Moniz, a Portuguese noblewoman and daughter of Bartolomeo Perestrello, a Knight of the household of Prince Henry the Navigator, Captain and Governor of Porto Santo, a smaller nearby island at northeast of Madeira.

Columbus’s 1479 marriage to Filipa Moniz, who was an elite member of the Order of Santiago, required the approval of King John II of Portugal indicating the recognition by the King of Columbus’s aristocratic lineage.

Manuel Rosa himself was born on Pico, one of the nine islands of the Azores. In 1973, at the age 12, he emigrated with his parents and siblings to the United States.

In an interview for the Portuguese American Journal, Manuel Rosa explained that his family decided to emigrate at the time when Portugal was at war with its colonies in Africa and all the young men, upon reaching 18, had to enlist for two years. He said, “For my parents, having seven boys, it meant that for 14 years they would have one of their boys fighting in the colonies. They decided to save us from that fate through emigration.”

His father’s siblings, already living in California, agreed to sponsor the Rosa family for immigration visas and, he explained, “On our way to San Jose, we arrived in Boston late 1973, where we planned to stop for three weeks visiting my mom’s sisters, But, as fate would have it, my dad was able to find a job in Hudson, Mass, and we settled in the cold Northeast instead of sunny California.”

About how he developed an interest for history, he recalled that ever since he could remember he had always been interested in the past. He said, “Growing up on the island, with no TV, meant families had a lot of time to talk and my dad was a great story teller. He told us stories about our ancestors, including the adventures of my great-great-grandfather who, in the mid-1800s, stowed away in an American whaling ship that ran aground someplace in some sand banks.”

According to the tale, the whole crew was marooned for eight months surviving on
seal blood and a few birds they managed to catch. After being rescued, his great-great-grandfather had said they ended up in California, where he saved some money to return to Pico and marry.

Manuel Rosa believes those family stories had a great influence on him wanting to explore the past. He said, “Since the past is what brought us to where we are, I have always believed that it is important for all of us to know as much about the past as possible. Therefore, I have always been an avid reader of books about important historic events and personalities. “

Yet, Manuel Rosa only became interested in the Columbus’s hidden story in 1991 and almost by accident. It happened when he was working on a translation of a Portuguese book about Columbus and he read that Columbus had married a Portuguese noble lady in 1479. He stressed, “I like to say that I never went looking for Columbus, but that Columbus came looking for me. I had no interest in Columbus, after all, as we were all told, I believed he was a penniless navigator, a deceiver and delusionary, incapable of recognizing that America was not India.”

Like most of us, Rosa had learned that Columbus, reportedly, was an Italian peasant who tried to get funding from King John II of Portugal and that, after being denied, went to the neighboring Kingdom of Spain where he succeed to convince the Spanish monarchs to fund his trip to India via the West.

Manuel Rosa presents Columbus’ coat of arms to Carlos Calado, President of Associação Cristóvão Colon of Portugal. The shield, which Mr. Rosa located in 2001, will be on permanent display at the Columbus Museum in the city of Cuba, Portugal.

For Rosa, this story was not convincing enough and he set out to find the truth for himself. He said, “I was astonished, for several reasons. First, if this was true, why was I not taught this in school? Second, how could it be explained that a penniless peasant, like the weaver Columbus, could realize such a high ranking marriage when marriages between peasants and nobles were impossible during medieval times? Furthermore, Columbus’s wife was not just a noblewoman. She was the daughter of the Captain of the island of Porto Santo. This was incredulous to me. Could it be true?”

This historic fact was enough to spark Rosa’s curiosity into Columbus mysterious life. After establishing that Columbus, indeed, had married the daughter of one of the King’s most distinguished captains, Rosa set himself out to researching to find the answers, such as “How could such a marriage take place, if Columbus indeed was not a nobleman himself?”

In the process, Manuel da Rosa has discovered much more. In his most recent book, Colon: La Historia Nunca Contada [Columbus: The Untold Story], published in Spain in 2010, Rosa presents a Columbus who was also “a sly, cunning, devious and masterful genius,” who took the role of a double-agent in Spain for the King John II of Portugal, both of them fooling Spain and managing to fool the entire world for five centuries.

As a matter of fact, while Rosa does not dispute Columbus’ achievements, he is certain the famous explorer lived a life of “treachery, treason, murder, lies, intrigue, assassinations, fraud, and deception,” and that he didn’t discover America by accident or by mistake.

In Rosa’s view, as a double agent, by plotting with King John II of Portugal, Columbus and his accomplices sailed to an already “discovered” America on a secret mission carefully planned to convince the Spanish crown, by deception, that he had found India.

Rosa has also realized that history has mixed up facts and personalities. Asked to describe briefly his revisionist theory regarding the true identity of Columbus, Rosa argued, “I always find it amusing when I am asked to ‘describe briefly’ my theory, as if 20 years of research can be summed up into a sound bite, outside the context of the evidence I have collected.”

Christopher Columbus’s house on the island of Porto Santo, Madeira archipelago, now the Columbus Museum.

According to the evidence presented in his books, Rosa is convinced that, as far as Columbus is concerned, history is proven to be wrong. He argued, “Anyone who reads the new information will be convinced history was wrong. The wool weaver from Genoa, that historians suddenly transformed into a great navigator, like in a Walt Disney tale, was nothing of the sort. Anyone who takes a little time to understand what a sixteen century navigator needed to know science-wise and that Columbus knew Portuguese, Castilian, Latin, Cosmography, Geography, Algebra, Geometry, Cartography, Theology, Navigation, plus secret ciphers, has to question how could this be if he was the wool weaver and not well-schooled in Portugal from young age. The truth is that King John II of Portugal not only knew Columbus personally but, according to historical facts, had to approve his marriage to Filipa Moniz in 1479. We also show that John II’s, Lord Chamberlain, was one of Columbus’s nephews and that his brother-in-law was John II’s bodyguard. Columbus wife’s cousin was John II’s mistress, just to name a few of the new findings. Other historic facts establish that there were lies interposed by Columbus in his letters and writings to hide his true identity and mission. I challenge anyone to compare the complex character the real Columbus was and is noble Portuguese family ties, to the wool weaver — the Colombo from Genoa — a peasant so poor that, between himself and his father, they couldn’t raise the equivalent to $200 USD to pay a creditor. More so, we know without a doubt, that the Italian ‘Colombo’ was still carding and weaving wool in Genoa when ‘Columbus’ the discoverer, was captaining a ship for King René d’Anjou. It becomes clear to me that history has mixed up people and facts.”

When confronted with the fact that his theory may be just like any other theory to add to the many existing narratives around the mysterious identity of Christopher Columbus, Manuel Rosa is confident that his conclusion solves the five century old mystery for good.

He said, “I am very familiar with all the other theories. My 20 years of research have been spent, in part, trying to confirm or refute all these plausible theories, including the Italian theory. In that sense, I have tried to prove or disprove all the many facets presented by other historians by following the scientific evidence including DNA testing. I review many of those theories in my book, exposing their shortfalls. The end result was that a new personality had to be found that better fits the profile of what Columbus should have been. That personality, I am convinced, is the son of a Polish king living in secret exile on the Portuguese island of Madeira. I am very confident that I will be proven to be correct following further DNA tests.”

For Manuel Rosa, the truth his finally out and Columbus will never be looked the same way ever again. He also believes that, as more readers get the facts about the true Columbus and his 1492 epic discovery of the New World, history will soon be rewritten and the old tale of a “lost and confused sailor who knew nothing about nothing” will be dropped from school books and replaced by the true Columbus with great navigational skills and the ability to deceive others, including his own pilots.

Rosa alleges “The man was not only a genius at sea but lied intentionally about having reached India. This lie benefitted only one entity, King John II of Portugal as coupled with John II’s secret letter to Columbus found in his descendants’ archives. We now have all the necessary proof to show that Columbus was a secret agent for Portugal.”

He claims that all the evidence is in his books, including Columbus’s own words proving that he betrayed the Spanish crown. As for the identity part, Rosa feels that he has gathered plenty of documentation that refutes the Italian wool-weaver theory.

About his theory being met with some reservation by other researchers, Rosa welcomes the challenge. He remarked, “Although there are many academics familiar with my research that support my conclusions, I understand that this will take some time to work its way through the big machine of academia, the media, and the public’s enquiring minds. But in the end, I am confident the change will have to happen, especially if an English language edition gets published. A Polish edition will come out in 2012 and, it is just a matter of time, before an English language publisher takes it on. Once that happens, what is written in our history school books, regarding Columbus and the discovery of America, will have to be revised because the truth will be known. My book, Columbus. The Untold Story, answers many questions up to now unanswered, through the careful examination of known documents, forensics, logic and common sense. From now on history will never be the same!”

Manuel Rosa is a historian and author who is fluent in several languages and lives in Durham, North Carolina. He has been called today’s most knowledgeable academic on the life of Columbus and is working on a screenplay for “Columbus, The Untold Story.” Among the many academics who support his conclusions is Prof. James T. McDonough Jr., Ph.D., Professor at St. Joseph’s University for 31 years, who says the book proves “Columbus is guilty of huge fraud carried out over two decades against his patrons.”

Follow Manuel Rosa on Facebook >>

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(*) Carolina Matos is the founder and editor of Portuguese American Journal online. She was the Editor–in-Chief for The Portuguese American Journal, in print, from 1985 to 1995. From 1995 to 2010, she was a consultant for Lisbon based Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD). She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and a Master’s Degree in English and Education from Brown University and holds a Doctorate in Education from Lesley University. She is also an adjunct professor at Lesley University where she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses. In 2004, Carolina Matos was honored with the Comenda da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique presented by Jorge Sampaio, President of Portugal.

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