Christopher Columbus ‘was a freckly Scot called Pedro’

Departue of Columbus from Palos 1492 .Painting by Emanuel Leutze
Departue of Columbus from Palos 1492 .Painting by Emanuel Leutze
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CHRISTOPHER Columbus was a freckly Scot who went by the name Pedro, according to a historian who has been researching the 15th century explorer for almost three decades.

Alfonso Ensenat de Villaglonga, 88, who has written three books on Columbus, has spent the past 27 years carefully examining hundreds of thousands of documents which he says proves the explorer was descended from Scottish nobility.

An undated portrait of Christopher Columbus from the Naval Museum in Madrid. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

An undated portrait of Christopher Columbus from the Naval Museum in Madrid. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

In his new book, the historian claims to have found evidence that Columbus was part of the Douglas Clan and that he was born in 1446, five years earlier than previously thought.

He also says Columbus went by the name of Pedro Scotto.

Columbus’s origins have been disputed for centuries, with various academics and historians arguing that he was born in Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Mr Villalonga read 330,000 files in Italy and Spain during his research.

Unlike the invented images of Columbus, which show him with dark or grey hair, he had light-coloured eyes and freckles

Historian. Alfonso Ensenat de Villaglonga

He claims Columbus’s ancestors left Scotland to join a military operation in Italy in the 9th century.

He says that Guillemo Scotto, a distant descendant from the Douglas clan, fell ill during the campaign and his family remained in Italy.

More than 500 years later, Pedro Scotto was born in Genoa.

Mr Villalonga claims that Pedro Scotto once worked for a pirate called Vincenzo Columbus and adopted that family name to avoid embarrassing his relatives.

An American flag flies near the Christopher Columbus statue outside Washington's Union Station Picture: AP Photo

An American flag flies near the Christopher Columbus statue outside Washington's Union Station Picture: AP Photo

He says Columbus did not have an Italian appearance, as academics believe.

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“Unlike the invented images of Columbus, which show him with dark or grey hair, he had light-coloured eyes and freckles,” Mr Villalonga said.

“He also had blond or red hair which later turned white. That’s how contemporary histories described him.”

The historian believes that rather than coming from humble origins, as many believe, Columbus was from a wealthy family of traders and had an exclusive education at a religious school.

Despite the claims, historian Deborah Richmond Foulkes, who has researched the origins of the Douglas clan in Italy, disputed his version of events.

“Despite the excitement generated by Villalonga’s research and his assumption that Christopher Columbus was a sailor from Genoa called Pedro Scotto, it would be a stretch to assume he was a Douglas,” she said.

She said it was possible that Pedro Scotto could have been descended from Scottish immigrants to Italy.