It seems unlikely that “Christopher Columbus” is what Isabella called him. Was he “Christobal Colon,” as we referred to him in my Spanish class, or “Christoforo” something, as I’ve seen elsewhere on-line?
The birth name of Columbus, a Genoan Italian, was “Cristoforo Columbo.” As was typical of the time, his name was latinized to “Columbus,” and that is the name he is know by in English. In Spanish, he is Cristobal Colón.
Christoforo–>Christobal, I get–it’s the local equivalent of a common name (just as, if I went to Spain today, I might be called “Mateo” instead of “Matthew”). But why Colon? (I assume this has nothing to do with the town of Cologne/Koln/etc. on the Rhine.)
Well, according to this site, his real name was Grigori Efimovich.
They all mean “dove” (as in the boid).
And considering that doves were once known as “turtles” (because of the sound they make), his name could have possibly been translated as “Christopher Turtle.”
Dozens of place names across the globe would have been otherwise named, and today we might be mourning the loss of the Space Shuttle Turtle.:eek:
I perhaps should have given the spelling of his birth name as “Colombo” instead of “Columbo.”
As Mjollnir says, “colomba” in Italian means “dove.”
After leaving Genoa, Columbus first settled in Portugal. While there, his name became shortened from “Colombo” to “Colom.” When he later moved to Spain, the final consonant became nasalized to “n,” in keeping with the pronunciation preferences of Castillian relative to Portuguese.
“By the way, there’s just one more thing I wanted to ask you Queen.”
Now I’ve got the voice of Slim Whitman stuck in my head:
“Una Columbus blanca, I’m just a bird in the sky!”
If I went to Spain, I would expect to be called “Andy”, because that’s my name. Why did proper names change based on location back then?
Well, even today immigrants frequently adapt their names in accordance with local custom to make them easier to pronounce to their new neighbors.
Here in Panama, depending on circumstances, I may go by either “George” or “Jorge.”
Columbus’ contemporary Giovanni Caboto, an Italian who explored under the English flag, is generally known as John Cabot.
Grigori Efimovich (Novyk) is the patronymic of Rasputin. I never realized he and “Mr. Colon” were one and the same.