Diego Columbus (sailor)

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Diego Columbus ( Ital. , Giacomo Colombo ; * around 1468; † February 21, 1515 in Seville , Spain ) was a younger brother of Christopher Columbus .

Little is known about him; he first appears in documents of 1484 and 1487 as a weaver. His origin and place of birth, like that of his brother, are unknown; he was probably born in Lisbon .


Diego appears for the first time in Spain in 1493, probably at the behest of his brother, whom he accompanies as a confidante on his second trip to the new world. When Christopher Columbus left La Española in April 1494 to explore the island of Cuba , he installed Diego as chairman of a government council consisting of the Padre Boil, the bailiff of the fleet Pero Hernández Coronel, his friend Alonso Sánchez de Carvaja and Juan de Luján . In the opinion of his contemporaries, Diego Columbus was not up to this task in difficult times. Padre Las Casas described him as persona virtuosa, muy cuerda, pacífica y más simple y bien acondicionada que recatada y maliciosa (“a virtuous person, very clever, peace-loving, rather simple and well adapted than cunning and insidious”) - which means: without Energy, without cunning, without great intelligence.

Due to the unpopularity of the Columbus brothers, Diego had to endure the apostasy of Boils and Margarits, who returned to Spain against his will. In the following year he was replaced by Bartolomeo Columbus in the government of Christopher Columbus on his journey home to Spain . Towards the end of the 15th century he was on La Española, executing the government in Santo Domingo , since he passed himself off as Christopher Columbus in the interior of the island. When Francisco de Bobadilla arrived on the island in August 1500, he refused to surrender power. He was arrested with his brothers and taken to Spain in chains.

After his release, together with his brothers, he held the priesthood, whereupon the Catholic Kings issued him the citizenship of Castile (February 1504) so ​​that he could devote himself to ecclesiastical charities. This document is an important indication of the non-Spanish origin of the Columbus family. In 1509 Diego accompanied his nephew of the same name to La Española and returned one last time to Spain, where he died in 1515.

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