Luis de Santangel biography-history. Don Luis de Santangel had a lot to do with Christopher Columbus leaving for America. Let’s see why. Born in 1439 and possibly died in 1498. Luis de Santangel, a character who wanders on the margins of history, played a vital role in the exploration and eventual discovery of the Americas. Born into a converted Jewish family in Valencia, Spain, in the 15th century, his life unfolded at a time when Jewish life on the Iberian Peninsula was at a critical crossroads.