In searching for a subject in history to write about I came across this information. I think it should be shared.
On January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus was on his voyage in the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria hoping to find the western trade route to Asia. He was sailing near the Dominican Republic and wrote that he had seen "three mermaids, and in reality they were not half as beautiful as they are painted." It was later learned that what he saw was most likely a manatee, as they were common it that area.
That "manatee" must have seemed to be a very ugly mermaid to Columbus.