The event at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth—free and open to the public—will take place on Thursday, October 25 at 5:30 pm. in the Prince Henry Society Reading Room at the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives. Light refreshments will be served.
“Will Christopher Columbus's picture soon adorn the walls of many Lithuanian-American, Polish-American, and Portuguese-American institutions as well as private homes of people of this background?” questioned the organizers of a similar talk held last month at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago. Mr. Rosa’s research suggests that it should. During his presentation, he will show historical evidence indicating that the man credited with discovering America was not the son of a humble weaver from Genoa, but rather a nobleman of Portuguese birth fathered by the exiled Polish King Wladislaw III, a member of the Lithuanian Jagiellonian Dynasty.
While Mr. Rosa’s theories have been met with skepticism by some, they have also received considerable praise from others. At a presentation that took place on May 16, 2012, at the Portuguese Academy of History, which was full to capacity with members of the scientific community, his investigations were described as "a serious look at the truth, well-substantiated and worthy of praise." Similarly, his book Portuguese Columbus—New Revelations received accolades from Portuguese academics, including Professor Manuela Mendonça, President of the Portuguese Academy of History, and Professor Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão ex-president of the same organization, who wrote the preface to Rosa's book, described Mr. Rosa’s work as “serious and diligent.”
Despite all the attention that his work has received, Manuel Rosa did not start out as a historian. Born on the island of Pico in the Azores, he immigrated to Somerville, Massachusetts in 1973 with his parents and, like other children across the world, learned in school that the man that “sailed the ocean blue” was Italian. He has followed a successful, professional career that ranged from management, to graphic artist, to IT working for such distinguished publications as the Atlantic Monthly and the Boston Magazine. In 1991, while working on the English translation of the book on Columbus by Mascarenhas Barreto, he became aware of the controversy over Columbus’s identity. Overnight, history became his passion.
Since then, Manuel Rosa has dedicated most of his free time and countless other resources to researching the life of Christopher Columbus. This scientific, historical investigation has taken him to the Dominican Republic, to Poland and many places in between, in his relentless quest for the truth about the identity of the putative discoverer of America. These efforts included an active involvement in the DNA studies of Columbus's bones at the University of Granada, Spain, to which Mr. Rosa was able to contribute DNA material collected from members of Portuguese noble families who are possible descendants of Columbus.
Mr. Rosa’s sensational findings have been announced in major newspapers worldwide, including the New York Daily and the Daily Telegraph and resulted in the publication of two academic books that have been translated into several languages. He has also presented the results of his investigations at numerous Portuguese, US, Spanish and Polish universities as well as the prestigious Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa. Currently, he lives in North Carolina where he works for Duke University.
For directions to the UMass Dartmouth campus, see umassd.edu/vtour/. Please use Parking Lot 13. Access to the archives during library construction is by way of the library basement and first floor exit.