Christopher Columbus by Carlo Brioschi

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Carlo Brioschi created this sculpture of Christopher Columbus in 1931. It stands in the shadow of the Minnesota State Capitol, across the street from the Judicial building. The original sculpture and the 1992 restoration were paid for by an association of Minnesota Italian Americans. The front of the base gives Columbus the title of “Discoverer of America” and includes a newer plaque from the restoration:

This plaque is placed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the voyages of Christopher Columbus. His dedication and unyielding commitment initiated the merging of the cultures of the old and the new worlds; thereby changing forever the course and history of mankind.

Statue dedicated: October 12, 1931

Restoration and preservation project: 1992

Columbus Memorial Association of St. Paul

It’s worth pointing out that Columbus wasn’t exactly the “discoverer” of the Americas (quite a few indigenous people already knew it existed) and that the “merging of cultures” mostly meant enslaving or annihilating the indigenous peoples. For more on history’s whitewashing of Columbus, check out the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen.

Loewen might take the vilification of Columbus a bit far, but it is curious that the colonization of an entire continent is credited to one man, and the plight of the indigenous peoples is practically forgotten. That contradiction is perhaps best evidenced in the fact that there’s a monument to Columbus here in Minnesota, a couple thousand miles away from where Columbus actually landed.

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One Response to “Christopher Columbus by Carlo Brioschi”

  1. Indigenous Peoples researcher Says:

    Correct that Columbus did not “discover” North America. There is strong evidence that Viking Europeans discovered North America much earlier, as did Russian traders and possibly even Chinese traders. But that is really old history now. Columbus will continue to get the credit as people don’t like to change history once it has already been “written.”

What do you think?