Columbus was Italian, we first learned at school, the son of a weaver.

Then this fell out of favour, and we were asked to see Columbus as an aristocrat, probably Portuguese, according to some an agent of the Portuguese king in the court of Castile, devising ways to keep the Spaniards away from the Portuguese Asian routes.

There is even one controversial theory that vows that Columbus was actually born in Madeira, the son of an exiled Polish king, also known as Henry the German.

What is known is that he spent some time in Madeira while waiting for sugar cargoes, which he transported from the island to Flanders, mostly produced on the lands of Flemish Jean d’Emmeraud (known in Portuguese as João Esmeraldo). He married a girl from Madeira, the daughter of one of the island’s captains, and while in Madeira he would usually stay in João Esmeraldo city residence, in what is now the “Praça Amarela” (the yellow square), behind the cathedral.

Roberto Loja (Official Tourist Guide)

Photo Courtesy of Marla Castro

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