Columbus Monuments Pages

Panama
Colón

Paseo del Centenario

Monumento a Cristóbal Colón

Columbus Monument

Vincenzo Vela

1867(70)

Colón /  Monumento a Cristóbal Colón   Colón /  Monumento a Cristóbal Colón

Description

Statue cast in bronze, depicting Columbus, his extended right hand pointing toward the ocean; his other hand surrounding the waist of a young and beautiful Indian woman, who symbolized America. The statue was presented by Eugenia de Montijo, Empress of France to the people of Panama, then part of the Republic of Colombia, in 1867. The Government of Colombia decided at that time to give the name of this Genovese to the city that would be the custodian of such an important gift.

Inscription(s)

On the photo is visible:
al immortal
descubridor del nuevo mundo
Acoording to the (old) sources, there is on the face of the pedestal:

christophorus columbus extremum, ingentem, cæcum trans æquora mundum, hesperiæ rates duxerat: ipse dedit. iv idus octobris m.cccmii.

On the back:

el gran general tomas c. de mosquera presento al congreso de los estados unidos de colombia esta estatua, don de la emparatriz de los franceses, eugenia.

According to Dickey (1893) there is (was?) an inscription on a wooden tablet attached to the concrete pedestal:

Statue de
CHRISTOPHE COLOMB
Donnée par
L'impératrice Eugénie
Erigée à ColonéPar Decret de la Legislature de
Colombie
Au 29 Juin 1866,
Par les soins de la Compagnie
Universelle du Canal Maritime
De Panama
Le 21 Fevrier, 1886.

Annotation

The statue was at the Paris Exposition Universelle de 1867.
The statue was shipped from Europe in April 1870. On June 7, 1870, the Congress of Colombia issued a decree establishing the site for the monument, which would be the yard of the Panama Railroad. The inauguration ceremony was held on May 1, 1870.

In a visit to Colon in December 1879, Count de Lesseps -- the builder of the Panama Canal - found that the statue was in a deplorable condition and requested permission to take it to the entrance of a new townsite, which would later be called Cristobal. There, it was placed in front of the residence of Count de Lesseps during his very short stay in that city.

In June 1904 an agreement was reached to set boundaries between the Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama and the Columbus statue in Cristobal came under U. S. jurisdiction. Panamanian officials began diplomatic negotiations to bring the statue onto Panamanian territory, which not succeeded. The statue remained in the townsite of Cristobal until 1916 when the Government of Panama agreed to place it provisionally in the courtyard of the Washington Hotel.

In 1930 the U.S. government agreed that the statue was property of the Republic of Panama and allowed relocation. The statue was moved to the Paseo Centenario (now named Juan Demóstenes Arosemena Boulevard) in the city of Colon. It was placed on a beautiful base designed by Engineer Genaro Ruggieri. It was officially inaugurated on December 21, 1930.

The city was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad and was named Aspinwall after one of the builders of the railway until 1890. Colón is the Spanish form of Columbus; the name of the neighboring port of Cristóbal is Spanish for Christopher.

A duplicate is erected in Lima; See also the statue in the Museo Vela.

This monument on postcards

Click here for the postcard(s) and enlargement(s)

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location N 9°21'50" W 79°54'12"

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Item Code: pa001; Added: 12 December 2006  / Updated: 8 September 2009

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