What is Christopher Columbus real name?

Answered by Jason Smith

Christopher Columbus’ real name is a topic of debate and uncertainty. While he is commonly known as Christopher Columbus, it is believed that this name was an anglicized version of his original name. In Italian, he is known as Cristoforo Colombo, which was long thought to be his birth name. Similarly, in Spanish, he is referred to as Cristóbal Colón. However, historical records suggest that Columbus went by various names throughout his life, including Christoual, Christovam, Christofferus de Colombo, and even Xpoual de Colón.

The confusion surrounding Columbus’ real name stems from the lack of concrete evidence about his early life. It is believed that he was born in the Republic of Genoa, present-day Italy, but the exact details of his birth and parentage remain unclear. Some historians argue that his birth name was indeed Cristoforo Colombo, as this is the name recorded in historical documents related to his family. However, others suggest that Columbus may have adopted this name later in life, possibly as a way to assimilate into the Spanish culture.

Columbus’ own writings and correspondence also contribute to the ambiguity surrounding his name. In his letters and logs, he used different variations of his name, depending on the language he was writing in or the recipient of the document. For instance, in a letter to the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, he signed as “Xpoual de Colón,” using the Greek letter “chi” (X) as an abbreviation for “Christo.”

Another factor that adds to the confusion is the practice of Latinizing names during the Renaissance period. It was common for individuals to Latinize their names, and Columbus may have done the same. Latin versions of his name, such as Christophorus Columbus or Christophorus de Colombo, have also been found in historical records.

Ultimately, the true birth name of Christopher Columbus remains a mystery. The various names by which he was known reflect the complexity and diversity of his life and the different cultural contexts in which he operated. While Christopher Columbus is the name that has endured in popular history, it is important to recognize the multiple names he used throughout his lifetime.