Washington Irving, author of the highly popular book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820), wrote and published a biography about Christopher Columbus in 1828. The Columbus of the Book of Mormon may have been inspired by this source.


The Book of Mormon study guide says this:

1 Nephi 13:12—Who Was the “Man among the Gentiles”?

Nephi saw “a man among the Gentiles” whom the “Spirit of God” inspired to sail to where the descendants of Lehi would be in the promised land. Christopher Columbus is a remarkable match for the man Nephi described. Columbus wrote: “From my first youth onward, I was a seaman and have so continued until this day. … The Lord was well disposed to my desire, and He bestowed upon me courage and understanding; knowledge of seafaring He gave me in abundance. … Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my [enterprise] called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?” (from Jacob Wassermann, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, 19–20, 46; italics added; cited in McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 1:91).