From Ben Muessig at AOL News . . .
Christopher Columbus has been blamed for instituting slavery in the New World and setting the stage for centuries of bloody conquest. But new evidence might help clear his name in at least one way: Researchers say they now have proof that the famed explorer didn’t introduce syphilis to Europe.
After making landfall on a number of Caribbean islands — and changing the course of history in the process — Columbus and his crew returned to Spain in 1493. Two years later, the first documented case of syphilis was reported in Europe, leading some experts to hypothesize that the explorer and his sailors may have carried the highly contagious sexually transmitted disease from the New World to the Old World.
But archaeologists say they’ve uncovered skeletons in east London showing that the disease had plagued Europe long before Columbus embarked on his voyage, according to the Daily Mail.
Researchers say Christopher Columbus and his crew aren’t responsible for bringing syphilis to Europe — reversing an earlier hypothesis that blamed the explorer for carrying the disease from the New World to the Old World.
The researchers discovered human remains buried in a church between 1200 and 1400 that have rough patches on the skulls and limbs — a sign of syphilis. “We’re confident that Christopher Columbus is simply not a feature of the emergence and timing of the disease in Europe,” Brian Connell of the Museum of London told Discovery News. “This puts the nail in the coffin of the Columbus theory.”
Syphilis might have been brought to Europe by Vikings, who are believed to have traveled to the Americas centuries before Columbus.
While the disease ran rampant in Europe, diseases brought to the Americas from Old World — such as measles and smallpox — claimed the lives of millions of Native Americans.
For the original report go to http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/scientists-christopher-columbus-did-not-introduce-syphilis-to-europe/19690440
Image of Columbus from http://www.emillustration.co.uk/blog/index.php?m=11&y=08&entry=entry081105-195754