(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
The conviction that Columbus was of Jewish origin received further support at the International Congress of Americanists which was held here recently.
In the course of an interview with the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Professor Cortecao of the Lisbon University and a leading authority on Columbus, said:
“It can now be asserted with a great deal of certainty that Columbus was descended from the New Christians, or Marranos, who were to be found in large numbers principally in the province of Galicia.
“The Jewish origin of Columbus.” Professor Cortecao continued, “appears to me more certain when we take into account the important part played by the Jews in the exploration voyages of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The Portuguese Jew, Professor Joaquim Zensaile, published a book on ‘Portugal in the Days of Her Great Discoveries’ in which he demonstrates the part of Jewish scholars in Spain and Portugal in the success of the great exporation voyages. Jewish astronomy was the foundation of these voyages of discovery.
“The great Jewish astronomer, Abraham Zacuto, in particular, rendered a great service to the cause of exploration and Jews helped in fitting out all the exploration voyages, especially that of Columbus.
“After the discovery of Brazil, King Manuel entrusted the country to a society of Marranos headed by the Jew, Fernando Loronta. The society was bound to explore each year an area of 200 miles of unexplored country. We shall not exaggerate if we claim,” Professor Cortecao said, “that the Marranos must be given the credit for the gradual exploration and opening up of South America.
“I, too,” Professor Cortecao added, “have Jewish blood in my veins. My ancestor, Ferrao Mendes Pinto, a famous explorer and scholar, was one of those who were forcibly converted to Catholicism.”
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