Buried, and Then Buried Again
Whether we want to admit it or not, people are fascinated by human remains and what happens to them. This is especially so in the case when it involves famous people final resting places have become only temporary lodging.
Here are three examples of bodies that have been exhumed – dug up – for a variety of reasons.
Eva Peron: After the death of Argentina’s beloved first lady Eva Peron in 1952, her embalmed body was put on display until a mausoleum could be constructed. During this time, the Argentine military stole the corpse and hid it away because of the symbolic power they felt the deceased wife of Juan Peron could have on the people. Five years later, iln 1957, Eva Peron was buried in Milan, Italy under the name “Maria Maggi” until she was rediscovered fourteen years later. Finally, in 1974, her remains were returned to Buenos Aires and buried in a fortified crypt in La Recoleta Cemetery.
Christopher Columbus: The famous global traveler’s explorations would not cease with his death. In fact, the remains of Columbus traveled around the world for another 400 years. Following his passing in 1506, Columbus was buried in Valladolid, Spain, until his daughter-in-law requested that he be shipped across the Atlantic to Hispaniola in 1542 to be entombed in the Santo Domingo cathedral. A couple hundred years later, when the French captured the island in 1795, the Spanish dug up the remains of Columbus and moved them to Cuba. They later transported his remains back to Seville after the Spanish-American War in 1898. In 1877 however, a box with human remains and the explorers name was discovered in the Santo Domingo cathedral leaving behind the mystery of Columbus’s remains, and their whereabouts.
Oliver Cromwell: The English revolutionist who helped overthrow the monarchy and is responsible for the death of King Charles I, was originally buried with honor after his death in 1968. This wouldn’t last long however, since the monarchy returned after only three years. Cromwell was treated much different when King Charles II finally took power. The King held an execution for the already-dead Cromwell and continued by stringing the body up on display and mounting the head on a pike on top of the Westminster Hall roof. As a warning to would-be revolutionaries, Cromwell’s head would remain there for the next few decades.
Next week’s blog, Part II, will look at the afterlife journeys and re-burials of four more famous people.