Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 2 mins.)

A world-wide movement is currently working to change all places wrongly named after Columbus, the Italian explorer employed by the medieval Spanish kingdom, back to their rightful name. People with a faulty grasp of history and of human rights, as well as of spelling (some of the colonists were illiterate in several languages) have been incorrectly calling these places “Columbus” and other derivations, instead of the correct spelling of “Columbo”, who was a famous detective with the New York Police Department.

Portrait believed to be of Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer for the Spanish Kingdom to plunder the Americas.(Image sourced: Internet)

The Latin American state of Colombia will lead the way in returning to the original “Columbo”. “It’s about time,” said long-time Irish resident Gearóid Ó Loingsigh. “Columbo was a great character and Falk is a good actor. Besides, most of the politicians here are life-long actors.” Also supporting the change are many indigenous people. “Apart from leading the plundering of our people, Columbus amputated the hands of our people who displeased him,” said Chief Nosanrobado of the Quechua.

The cities named “Columbus’ in the American states of Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin are all queuing up to have their name change registered, whilst a poll in the North Carolina state found a majority also for the name change from “Columbus” to Columbo County.


As a spin-off of this campaign, sculptors are being commissioned everywhere to design and sculpt monuments in bronze or stone to the NYPD detective character.

One of the many bronze depictions of the famous NYPD Detective now springing up in many cities formerly called “Columbus” (Image sourced: Internet)

An unexpected by-product has been a reduction in anti-police hostility. “It’s helping us hit back at the ‘Defund the Police’ campaign”, said the Governor of a South-Western state who wished to remain nameless. ” ‘Don’t Defund Columbo’ is doing well here as a counter-campaign.”

Pablo Echeverria, a Latino community worker, agreed unhappily. “People don’t see Detective Columbo kneeling on their necks or shooting unarmed blacks or Latinos. They can’t imagine him kicking down their doors. But most cops are not like Columbo. When the cops here want to ask you ‘Just one more question’, it’s likely to be at four a.m in a police cell, along with ‘just one more’ punch or kick.”


In some of the cities, awareness of Columbus’ Italian background and rumours of Mafia connection, though unproven and strenuously denied, helped swing the “don’t knows” into the Columbo campaign.

Residents of Colombo city in Brazil and in Sri Lanka have mixed feelings about the campaign. Henrique Soares, a native of Brazil summed up some of the concerns: “It is important to have places named correctly, of course. But it was nice being different and now lots of places will sound just like ours ….”


On the other hand, most towns and districts called Columbia are resisting the renaming trend, maintaining that they were neither named after Columbus nor Detective Columbo, claiming instead a derivation from the traveling Irish saint Columbanus (also known as Columba).

The city of Colón however, the second-largest in Panama was happy with the change. “We’re sick of Anglos thinking our city is part of the digestive tract,” said the leader of the local branch of the Rename It Columbo Campaign (RICC).

Traveling Christian Saint Columbanus/ Columba as depicted in stained glass window in crypt of Abbey at Bobbio (Image sourced: Wikipedia)


However, in all the excitement and controversy, what about the name of the actor forever thought of as personifying Detective Columbo, Peter Falk? Sadly, all that are named after him are some islands off the coast of Argentina and even that name is disputed, the current English occupiers calling them “the Falkland Islands” but known in Argentina, which claims dominion over them, as “Las Malvinas”.

And in Argentina they have also renamed the actor in the detective series as “Pedro Malvinas”.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s