This afternoon we went to the Columbus Lighthouse. It was built between 1986 and 1992 in honor of Columbus’s “discovery” of America. It didn’t look much like a lighthouse. The building looked about half a mile long, and the building was in the shape of a cross. The light that circulates was in the shape of a cross, and there was a beam of light coming out of the top that was in the shape of a cross too. The tour guide said that the light is so strong you can see it as you fly over, and the people on the near coast of Puerto Rico can see the light, too. Now that’s a strong light!
The lighthouse is a museum and a mausoleum. That’s why it’s so big. The tour guide said the remains of Christopher Columbus are here. Before he could even finish his sentence, this woman interrupted him and said the remains were in Spain. The Tour guide’s face got all red, and I could see he was a little angry that she interrupted his speech. Without even responding to her, he continued on about the remains and walked us to the tomb.
When the tour was over, I saw the tour guide and the woman having a heated argument in the corner. I’m not one to miss a good argument, so I walked a little closer so I could hear. The woman was saying that in 2006, it was proven by DNA that Christopher Columbus’s remains were in Seville, Spain. The tour guide then responded that his body was moved several times, but his final resting place was there at the lighthouse. There were several attempts to keep enemy invaders from destroying the body, so they had to use deception in order to ward them off. After he said that, the lady just kept saying “you can’t deny DNA.” No matter what he said back, her response was always the same.
That conversation brought up an interesting question. Where are the remains of Christopher Columbus? He was initially laid to rest in Valladolid, Spain, but his son wanted him moved to Seville, Spain. Columbus’s wife knew he wanted to be buried in the Americas, so then he was moved to the Dominican Republic. Then, when the French took over the island in 1795, he was moved to Havana, Cuba. But when the Spanish-American War broke out in Cuba, his remains were moved back to Seville, Spain, where he was proven to be through DNA evidence. Here’s the kicker, and probably what the tour guide was arguing: whether at any point anyone had looked in the casket to verify that there was a whole body in there. The guide was trying to tell the lady that it is possible that some parts of Columbus were there at the lighthouse and other parts in Seville, but the official tomb was in the lighthouse.
I know Christopher Columbus probably didn’t plan on having his body moved around so much. He probably would have liked to have been placed in one spot and left alone. But then the question would have been where? Here are two questions to make you think: Where do you think he wanted to be buried and where do you think he’s actually buried?