News | Tracy St. George

Christopher Columbus Thought Manatees Were Mermaids…🧐

He wrote in his journal in 1493 that he saw three mermaids but, quote, “they are not so beautiful as they are said to be.”

On January 9, 1493, explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids”—in reality manatees—and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.” Six months earlier, Columbus (1451-1506) set off from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, hoping to find a western trade route to Asia. Instead, his voyage, the first of four he would make, led him to the Americas, or “New World.”