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Unmasking Columbus

By Colleen Chandler
November 2005

book cover
(Cover design by Manuel Rosa )

A book by two contract workers at NIEHS is making lots of headlines in Portugal.

Manuel Rosa and Eric Steele's book, Unmasking Columbus: Lies, Spies, Cover-up and Conspiracy, paints a literary portrait of a Portuguese double agent working for King John II, rather than the Italian explorer portrayed in history books.

In a time of intense competition between Spain and Portugal over trade routes and new lands, according to the book, King John's objective was to divert attention away from Portugal's monopoly of the African gold trade and their soon-to-be new route around Africa to India. Spain, the book alleges, was less than straightforward in its methods, frequently following and raiding Portuguese expeditions.

Rosa was born and raised in Portugal, and speaks a number of languages including Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. He said a number of historical inaccuracies surrounding Columbus originated in inaccurate translations of historical material among the languages - either deliberately or accidentally.

The book was featured in the July issue of Mundo Portugues, along with photos of each of the men.

For more information on the book, go to

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