Christopher Columbus’ origins have long been shrouded in mystery—was he Italian? Spanish? Greek? None of the above: In fact, his father was a Polish king, argues Columbus expert Manuel Rosa in a new book. Rosa holds that the adventurer's father was Vladislav III, who was not killed in 1444 as thought. Instead, he went into exile, married a Portuguese noblewoman, and fathered Columbus—who lied to protect his father's real identity, Rosa tells the Daily Telegraph.
Columbus’ station would explain both his ability to marry a noble and his knowledge of everything from geography to cartography, which Rosa says points to a top-notch education. "The marriage was approved by the King of Portugal, something that could never have happened if we believe the myth that Columbus washed up in a shipwreck in Portugal," writes Rosa. More evidence: Columbus was “reddish-haired, fair-skinned and blue-eyed,” and his coat of arms looks like the Polish king’s. Click here to find out what Rosa's next step is in his effort to close the book on the mystery.