At present, the two leading candidates for Columbus' first landfall are San Salvador, the original choice, and Samana Cay
, an interim selection in 1882, which re-emerged on the basis of work performed by National Geographic experts in 1986.
The explorer first landed on the narrow, 9-mile-long island of Samana Cay in the Bahamas, according to a report presented at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., last week.
The course plotted with these data ends up at a point about 10 miles east-northeast if Samana Cay.
One location in these Bahamian travels was pinned down with certainty; a computer program ran the course backward from that point, ending up at Samana Cay.
Earlier this year, Judge and several co-workers, including archaeologists Charles Hoffman and Nancy Hoffman of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, confirmed that Samana Cay was inhabited, at least seasonally, at the time of Columbus's arrival.
Samana Cay was first proposed in 1882 by Gustavus Fox, who had been Abraham Lincoln's assistant secretary of the Navy.