January 01, 2017
Posthumous portrait of Christopher
by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519.
Each October 12th, Spain celebrates Hispanic
Day with a national holiday to commemorate the day Christopher
Columbus reached the Americas in 1492, but not all people in Spain
think it's an event worth celebrating.
Barcelona's mayor, Ada Colau wants the statue of
removed and replaced with a monument dedicated to Native Americans
In 2015, Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau said that Spain should not be
marking "a genocide" with a €800,000 (£700,000) military parade.
José María González, the Podemos-backed
mayor of the southern city of Cádiz gave Colau support.
"We never discovered America; we
massacred and suppressed a continent and its cultures in the
name of God," González wrote in one of her tweets.
on the square Portal
de la pau in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
erected in 1888.
Opponents of the Columbus statue consider it to be a symbol of
colonialism, oppression and segregation of the indigenous and
African-American peoples of America.
The CUP Capgirem representatives say the statue should be removed,
along with the base, as it pays homage to Columbus' colleagues and
patrons, including King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Representative of the pro-Catalan independence Candidatura
d'Unitat Popular (CUP)
party have suggested
the statue should be moved to a
museum instead "to help an understanding of history," and be
replaced with a memorial to victims of oppression, celebrating
resistance to colonialism and imperialism.
Other statues proposed for dismantling include a statue of,
Antonio López, Marquis of Comillas, a well-known
slave trader. The Lopez statue would also be replaced with a
memorial, but for victims of the slave trade.
The initiative has been met with criticism as well, particularly
from the liberal Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC)
According to councilor Joaquim Forn,
"the city has other problems to face
at the moment" such as "the raising of rents and unemployment"
and described the proposal as "frivolous."
The unionist Ciutadans party refused to
support the proposal and accused CUP of,
"mixing up changes with nonsense."
Despite this, there are more and more
people who think celebrating Christopher Columbus on October 12 is
simply wrong and his statue should be removed and replaced with a
monument dedicated to all Native Americans who died when Columbus
arrived in America.
By examining ancient DNA of 92 pre-Columbian mummies and skeletons,
between 500 and 8600 years old, scientists have now confirmed
the devastating impact of European
colonization on the Indigenous American populations of
The study reveals a striking absence of the pre-Columbian genetic
lineages in modern Indigenous Americans; showing extinction of these
lineages with the arrival of the Spaniards.
So, many people have good reason to ask
whether the arrival of Columbus is really 'an event Spain should