On the top of the monument is a barge battered by the winds and waves. On this barge stands Faith, guiding Christopher Columbus, as a symbol that the New World has been discovered under the ęgis of the Cross.
The barge is placed on a terrestrial globe encircled by a band, on which are the words, NON PLUS ULTRA which was the motto of Spain at the time of the discovery. Beneath this globe is a lion tearing off the three first letters with a blow of his paw, representing the negative idea, showing by this allegory that there is a "Plus ultra" as evidenced by the discovery of a New World. On the side opposite the lion an eagle with open wings displays the escutcheon of the Spanish nation, then in use.
The globe stands on a truncated pyramid, resting on a quadrangular base, flanked by four statues standing at the four salient sides. These statues represent Courage, Study, History and Navigation. To this last figure, a child is presenting a compass.
On one side of the pyramid, is an artistic medallion with the busts of the Catholic Kings (inscription: fernandvs et elisabet dxg+res:et and on the opposite side is a medallion representing the sail of a ship, with the standard of the Holy Virgin and Child, and the inscription "palos dia III agosto de MCCCCX[CII] guanahani dia XII de octubre de MCCCCXCII" (the last three letters of the year at Palos are covered by a flag).
On each of the panels is a bass-relief representing a notable event in the history of the discovery.
- The cell of Father Juan Perez in the Convent of the Rábida, in which Columbus is depicted as explaining his plans to the Franciscan Prior, to Garci Fernandez and to other monks of the Convent.
- The departure of Columbus; he stands in the center, receiving the benediction of the friendly Prior.
- The landing at San Salvador, the Admiral standing in the center, his followers kneeling at his feet, kissing his hands and the hem of his robe, and asking his pardon.
- The reception of Columbus at Barcelona by the Catholic Kings, in which Ferdinand is rising to receive the Admiral. and his suite, two members of which are Indians, male and female.
(reliefs and the statues) THIEBAUT FRERES Fondeurs PARIS
A Spanish royal order of the Overseas Ministry of 26 February 1891 announced a contest among Spanish artists of projects for the construction of a sepulchre (see Sevilla) and of a monument commemorative of the discovery of America, which was to be errected at a park of Havana, Cuba. The sculptor Don Antonio Susillo won the prize of 100,000 pesos, as verifited by Royal order of 11 July 1901. In the mean time, however, Spain lost its overseas colony of Cuba and the monument stayed in Spain, to be exact in Valladolid. The monument was inaugurated on 15 September 1905.
A depiction of this monument on an azulejo is on the Valladolid part of the Plaza de España in Sevilla, built for the 1929 Ibero-American exposition.
Click on the thumbnails for screen size photos.
This monument on postcards
Sources & Information
Location (N 41°38'40" - W 4°43'38")
Item Code: escl010;
Photograph: 12 May 2006
© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt