Columbus facing west and standing on top of a globe of the Earth, with the North and South America parts facing west also. He is standing next to a flagstaff crowned by a small cross, in which the colors of Castille and Leon are attached to. He's raising his eyes as to thank God for his discovery. His left arm is extended, palm facing up. Since this statue is similar to that at the Plaza de Colón in San Juan there's an old running joke in Puerto Rico -well known in both cities- saying that any difficult or impossible task will only happen "cuando Colón baje el dedo" (""once Columbus lowers his finger", meaning never, since the statue usually outlives the speaker).
At the statue's pedestal you have the following art bits:
West (front) - some sort of wreath, also cast from bronze, most probably a triumphal one made out of olive 'branches'.
North: the portraits of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
ISABEL Y FERNANDO.
South: portrait of Fray Antonio de Marchena, Columbus' "sponsor" to Queen Isabella.
P. ANTONIO DE MARCHENA.
East: the coat of arms of the City of Mayagüez
The statue is surrounded by a few fountains, which encircle the pedestal. These fountains are rather controversial, since the original plaza from 1893 didn't have them, but the remodelings have tried to "recreate the original layout of the plaza", including various side sculptures, as sculptures of Renaissance youth, either bare-breasted young females or Romeo-like dressed young men. They were also cast by the foundry that made the original Columbus statue. Some people consider them to be distracting enough as to distort the plaza's main motif.
Signed (on the globe):
a. coll | j. monserrat
federico masriera | fundidor - barcelona
Mayagüez is relatively close (16 km or so away) from the most probable point where Christopher Columbus landed when he reached Puerto Rico in 1493. Some historians claim that Mayagüez was the actual landing site, but the evidence tends to point prepatedly that he disembarked at the nearby town of Aguada. Nevertheless, Mayagüez is the larger population center in the area, and as such, features the "Plaza de Colón" with the Columbus statue. Dedicated 19 November 1892 in commemoration of the Fourth Centenary of his landing near this place in 1493.
The local Roman Catholic cathedral is behind the statue (the orange and yellow church with the two bell towers). The Mayagüez City Hall (which very closely resembles that of New York City, but is a bit smaller) is in front.
The plaza has been remodeled twice in the last thirty years, and the municipality will remodel it again in January, 2004, since the trees around the statue are uprooting some of the floor slabs.
David E. Miró Feliciano wrote me "If my memory doesn't play tricks on me, I had heard that in one of the remodelings the original 1893 statue was replaced by a newer one (most probably around 1997 or so) from the same foundry in Catalunya that made the original one. I could be wrong, but the statue looks so shiny, compared to the original one that I remembered from when I was a kid, that the one we're seeing is probably a newer one (maybe the old one recast?)."
This monument on postcards
Sources & Information
- Text and most of the photos: David E. Miró Feliciano.
- Photo of total statue: Don Ager.
Location N 18°12'3" W 67°8'20"
Item Code: pr009
Added: 1 January 2000
© Website: René & Peter van der Krogt