Monday, October 8, 2012

Christopher Columbus - around the world

This photo was taken in 1942, seventy years ago of the San Francisco Church in San Miguel de Allende.  To the far left is a statue of Christopher Columbus. 

 Today is his day.  Look how the trees have grown.
His monument has been decorated with a wreath of flowers and a sash "Caballeros de Colon".
Across the ocean, 6,200 miles from San Miguel at the bottom of Las Ramblas in Barcelona you will find a 200 foot column with Columbus pointing out to sea.  This was the spot were he landed on his return to Spain from discovering the Americas.  He is standing on a sphere representing the world with "tierra" inscribed on it.
At the base of the column you will find Columbus holding scrolls.
An elevator inside the column will take you to the top with a phenomenal 360 degree view.  You overlook the port, back up La Rambla and even the Sagrada Familia.
There are eight bronze bas-relief panels inserted on the octagonal plinth (base) of the column depicting scenes of Columbus's first voyage to the Americas.
This bas-relief depicts Columbus meeting King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in Cordoba.
The idea of a monument to Columbus came in 1856 from Antoni Fages i Ferrer, who proposed that it be constructed entirely by Catalans.  In 1881 the city passed a resolution to finally build it.  A contest was held for Spanish artists to submit their designs.  The winner was Gaietà Buigas i Monravà, a Catalan.  
Most of the money was privately raised, with only 12% coming from public funds.   (FYI - All the funds for Gaudi's Sagrada Familia have been private donations!)  All of the funding came from Spanish sources and the entire construction was done by Catalans.  Construction began in 1882 and was completed in 1888 in time for  the Universal Exposition in Barcelona which paved the way for new architecture and the Modernismo Movement.

Spain gained tremendously from Columbus discoveries where as from a Mexican viewpoint, it was not a good day when he landed on their shores.  Some refer to the day as "Dia de la Raza" (Day of the Race).  It was the beginning of a new race, Mestizos, a blending of the Indigenous people of Mexico and that of Europe.  Columbus also brought the slave trade and genocide.  

As in all cultures, there are good and bad influences.   Let's look at the good influences in something I love to do, COOK!  I love the influences the Old World had on the New World when it comes to cuisine!  The Old World brought wheat, rice, onions, peas, almonds, citrus fruits, distilled liquor and CILANTRO.  But in my book, boy did the Old World gain from the Indigenous foods of Mexico:  Avocado, beans, chayote, chilies, chocolate, corn, jicama, nopales, oregano, sweet potatoes, pine nuts, squash, tomatillas, tomatoes and vanilla.  

"The secret of good cooking is first, having a love of it...  
If you're convinced cooking is drudgery, 
you're never going to be good at it, and 
you might as well warm up something frozen."
                                                                       James Beard

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Robin, most interesting! And as always, beautiful photos,