Christopher Columbus: Five things you thought you knew about the explorer

5. MYTH: Columbus died a penniless man in prison.

FACT: Columbus died an exonerated man with his wealth restored.

Upon his return to Spain after his third voyage, Columbus was imprisoned for the barbaric acts of torture he had used to govern Hispaniola. He and a few of his men were jailed for six weeks until King Ferdinand ordered their release. Columbus’s freedom and wealth were restored, and the crown agreed to fund his fourth voyage.

Later in life, Columbus did demand that the Spanish crown give him 10 percent of all profits from the new lands, but Spanish rulers refused. This, however, hardly made Columbus a poor man.

Columbus died at age 54 in Valladolid, Spain. The whereabouts of his remains remain murkry. The prevailing belief, however, is that his primary burial place is in Spain, with some of his bones or ashes transfered to the Dominican Republic, Italy, and Cuba.

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