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Columbus & Roderigo Sanchez

October 10, 2013

October 12 is Columbus Day… a day named for the Italian explorer traveling under the Spanish flag when he “discovered” America.  What is not so well-known is that his patrons also hired an accountant to accompany Columbus.
Roderigo Sanchez of Segovia became the first accountant in America.  He was comptroller of the fleet and keeper of the armaments.  Roderigo was engaged by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to travel with Columbus to keep track of the riches and wealth that was to be found by him in Asia (the Indies).

In the painting included, he appears third from Columbus’ right wearing the big hat.  Columbus is shown with his sword touching the ground.  This detail is from the painting by John Vanderlyn that hangs in the United States Capitol rotunda.

Roderigo was the subject of the second Accountant Series Topps Trading Card published by the WS+B Partners’ Network and a card will be sent, along with the first card showing Luca Pacioli, if you email a request with your postal mailing address to

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Nagler permalink
    October 10, 2013 2:43 pm

    HI Ed I read some where but i for got where that the accountant was Jewish i don;t know if
    this true

  2. October 10, 2013 3:06 pm

    Not true.
    However, his identity as an accountant was muddled since he was misidentified as keeper of of the armaments on a guide to people in the Vanderlyn painting published by the Library of Congress. Most biographies of Columbus and books about the voyages properly identify Sanchez as comptroller of the fleet.

  3. Ira L. Zuckerman permalink
    October 10, 2013 7:53 pm


    A very interesting hypothesis was developed by the author Steve Berry in his book “The Columbus affair” . Not only does the book maintain that the accountant was Jewish but no catholic priest accompanied him and that Christopher Columbus himself was Jewish. Further on his first voyage he was carrying all of the gold objects from the destruction of the second temple by the Romans. A great read!

    • October 13, 2013 2:16 am

      Looks like a book I’ll have to check out. Thanks.

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