Columbus Mistakes Manatees for Mermaids

Columbus Mistakes Manatees for Mermaids

On January 9, 1493, explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, saw three “mermaids” – actually manatees – and described them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted”. Six months earlier, Columbus (1451-1506) left Spain across the Atlantic Ocean with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, hoping to find a western trade route to Asia. Instead, his journey, the first of four he would undertake, took him to the Americas, or “New World.”

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