Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Did Christopher Columbus bring syphilis to Europe?

Dec 10, 2014 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

That has been the prevailing theory for centuries. The disease was unknown in Europe, his critics asserted, until the return of Columbus and his crew from the New World. But, according to a study just published online by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the famed and often defamed Italian explorer and his crew may not be responsible for bringing the “French disease” (as syphilis was once known) to the continent.

In this new study, researchers from the University of Split, Croatia, examined 403 skeletons and identified one male skeleton that had signs syphilis. The grave and its inhabitant dated back to between the second and sixth centuries—well before 1492 when Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.

--Sarah Hagerty
Click here to sign up to our new Health Beat E-Newsletter
The Look thrive annapolis eastern shore health buzz health wellness west county health beat December 2014

 

 

Towne Social