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Columbus, Christopher, Mother of

  • By: Ronda Lee Levine
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Christopher Columbus's mother remains a mystery. Columbus's mother is cited as an Italian woman, Susanna Fontanarossa, the daughter of a wool farmer. There aren't any records of his mother prior to her marriage to Domenico Columbus, Christopher's father. Christopher Columbus was the first of five children: four boys (Christopher, Bartolomeo, Giovanni Pellegrino, and Giacomo) and one girl (Bianchinetta). However, some scholars claim that Susanna Fontanarossa was not the mother of Christopher Columbus, but rather that a woman named Maria Spinola was his mother. A third theory is that neither of these two women were Columbus's mother, and that a Jewish woman who had to change her name to escape persecution gave birth to the explorer.

Questionable Lineage

The typical history of Columbus's mother begins when Susanna Fontanarossa ...

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