Seville Cathedral: South Transept – Sarcophagus of Columbus

Sarcophagus of Columbus situated in the south transept of the Seville Cathedral

Sarcophagus of Columbus – Bottom View

Sarcophagus of Columbus
Situated in the south transept, the Tomb of Columbus is one of the famous attractions of the Seville Cathedral.

As you can see, the sarcophagus of Columbus is raised above the ground by four bearers representing the four kingdoms (Castile, Aragon, Navara, and Leon) of erstwhile Spain. Queen Isabella I (along with her husband Ferdinand), who funded Columbus’s famous 1492 journey to the New World, united them into one nation, i.e., modern Spain.

The rectangular bottom of the sarcophagus is a bronze plate inscribed with the coat-of-arms of Spain surrounded by an inscription in Spanish, which reads:
“Aqui jacen los restos de Cristobal Colon desde 1796 los guardo la Habana y este sepulcro por R.D.to de 26 de febrero de 1891”
“Here lies the remains of Cristobal Colon kept in Havana since 1796 and this sepulcher by R.D.to of February 26, 1891”

There is an intriguing story associated with the Tomb of Columbus. After Christopher Columbus died in 1506, his body traveled to many countries before it found its final resting place in the Seville Cathedral. He was first buried in Valladolid, Spain. Soon after, his brother Diego moved it to a monastery of La Cartuja in Seville.

In 1542, his body was again moved to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, a Spanish territory founded by Columbus. He was interred in the newly constructed Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor in Santo Domingo, the capital of the present-day Dominican Republic.

As fate would have it, France took over the island of Hispaniola in 1795. Not wanting his remains to fall into the French hands, the Spanish moved them to Havana, Cuba, where the current monument was built. After remaining there for about 100 years, the Spanish transported the Columbus Tomb, along with his remains, to Spain.

The monument we see now was installed in the south transept of the Seville Cathedral in 1899. A DNA test in 2006 verified the remains in this tomb do indeed belong to Christopher Columbus. However, the Dominican Republic still claims that the remains of Columbus never left the country.

Related Pages
Seville Cathedral: An awe-inspiring architectural marvel
Sala Capitular – The Chapter House of the Seville Cathedral
Sacristía Mayor – The Main Sacristy of the Seville Cathedral
La Giralda: A harmonious blend of Moorish and Renaissance architectural styles

Copyright © 2020 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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