The Language of Columbus

  • Mascarenhas Barreto


One of the biggest obstacles that the defenders of the Genoese thesis come up against is the fact that Columbus ‘never wrote in Italian and although he did not write Castilian correctly, it was this language he used when he wrote to the Bank of St. George in Genoa’.1 The author of this statement is the French American Henri Vignaud, one of the staunchest supporters of Columbus’s Genoese birthright. Another supporter of the same thesis, the Italian Próspero Paragallo, confirms that conclusion.2 The supposed ‘Genoisms’ and Ttalianisms’ that according to the Peruvian Romulo Cúneo-Vidal3 appear in the Letter from Columbus to Santângel were totally refuted by Pedro Catalâ y Roca,4 who produced documentary proof that they were Spanish expressions at the end of the fifteenth century.


Mother Tongue Fifteenth Century Spanish Expression Italian Author Divine Comedy 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

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  • Mascarenhas Barreto

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