Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Statues of Cartagena - by Nina

In this blog I will be investigating some of the statues in Cartagena.

India Catalina


She is in a large plaza, next to a busy road.

Bronze and limestone

She is a very tall women looking at the sky. She is wearing traditional Indian dress.

The India Catalina was a native Indian in Colombia before the Spaniards came. She was the daughter of the chief but she was kidnapped and taught Spanish. When the first governor of Cartagena went exploring he took her with him and she acted as a translator. It was largely because of her that her people where completely annihilated. A monument was sculpted of her by  Eladio Gil Zambrana and is positioned in a large plaza next to a busy road. Smaller replicas were used as a symbol of her treachery to her race.

I think that using her as a symbol of treachery is  a bit unfair because she was kidnapped and treated like a slave so she didn't really have a choice.

Blas de Lezo 

It is in the park in front of the fort Castillo San Felipe de Barajas.

Large stone pedestal and bronze statue.

He is a larger than life statue made of bronze, holding his sword in a salute with his left hand. He only has one arm, one leg and one eye.

Blas de Lezo was born in February/3/1689 in Spain. He joined the French navy in 1701 as a midshipman. His first battle was in 1704 when he fought in the War of Spanish Succession and lost his leg. He was promoted to ensign.

He participated in 23 battles in all his life, costing him an arm, a leg and an eye.

His last battle was by far his pinnacle achievement. As an Admiral he defended the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas against 186 ships, 2620 pieces of artillery, 27,000 men, 10,000 of those foot soldiers, and 600 Indian archers, all led by a British Admiral named Edward Vernon. Blas de lezo had 6 ships to command and 2000 men.

He won by sinking his ships in the mouth of the harbour so the enemy couldn't get his ships in, forcing him to attack the fort on foot without many cannons. Then he dug trenches around the fort so Vernon could not get his scaling ladders up against the walls.

He won but died 4 months after Vernon's retreat from an infected wound.

After Vernon lost he wrote to Blas de Lezo and said “I am only leaving to go to Jamaica to gather reinforcements, I'll be back to attack!” and Lezo replied “Tell your King that he'd better make a better navy because your ships are only suitable for carrying coal between Ireland and England now!”

Angry Governor
Pedro de Heredia, the first governor of Colombia.

The statue is positioned in Los Coches Square, which is entered by three grand arches in a row with a bell on top.

Bronze and stone

He is up high on a pedestal so he is glaring down on everyone, also he is wearing a big sword and an armour breastplate so he looks very menacing. His expression is furious and his huge beard helps make him look like a very bad person to get in an argument with.

He was born in Madrid and his parents were rich and of a royal background.
Once he was involved in the tracking down of six people that tried to assassinate him in an alley. The fight left him with a badly disfigured nose that required the intervention of one of the royal doctors. In retaliation he found and killed three of his attackers. He fled Madrid to the New World to escape punishment.

He travelled to the West Indies with his brother and inherited a sugar mill. When the governor of Santa Marta, Colombia died Pedro de Vadillo was sent there as a interim governor and Pedro de Heredia as his lieutenant. Pedro de Heredia got in an argument with the old governors lieutenant which resulted in the drowning of the later in a river that is now named after him. After the interim governor finish he continued with his post and learned a lot about the native Indians.

Later he sailed back to Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and then to Spain.
When in Madrid he got royal approval to take a fleet and conquer the Bay of Cartagena. When in the Caribbean he first stopped at Puerto Rico, and then Santo Domingo. In Santo Domingo he enlisted the service of a few Indian slaves and Catalina, an enslaved Indian Princess who was fluent in both Indian and Spanish.

He conquered all of Colombia and nearly half of Equador. He also founded the city of Cartagena de Indias.

The Martyrs Ride
Pegasus is one of the statues on the Martyrs Ride.

The Martyrs Ride is a big, long and skinny plaza with roads ringing it.

Bronze and stone

Martyrs Ride has busts down either side and a large statue on a tall pedestal is the centre piece, the Pegasus in the picture above are off to one side, about to take off over the bay.

In 1811 Cartagena declared independence from Spain.  Back at Spain things weren't doing so well, England was getting very powerful and giving Spain a lot of trouble and they couldn't afford to lose one of their colonies. They sent out a fleet to recapture Cartagena and the siege lasted for 5 months. The Spanish cut off the roads that all the food for the city came in on. They then proceeded to try to starve the city out. It took them five months although they had speculated it would take one month. When the Spanish finally attacked the fort everybody was starving so they could not defend it properly, so they surrendered. One physician managed to leave Cartagena after the battle and went and gathered an army inland, he then marched back to Cartagena and retook the city. The Martyrs Ride is a monument to the Martyrs of Independence.

Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes

He is in a small park in the center of town.

Stone and bronze.

He looks very royal sitting at his posh bench with his posh cloths with his posh expression.

He was born on 29 September 1547, in Alcalá de Henares, a city about 35 kilometres from Madrid.
He was very poor and he joined the navy in 1670 and went to battle in 1571 against an Ottoman fleet. He came down with a fever but he begged to be allowed to fight and they eventually allowed him to. He got hit with three bullets but lived, one of them making his left hand useless. It took him six months in hospital before he was declared fit to serve again. He continued to serve for a while longer.

In 1575 he sailed for home with letters of commendation to the King. Along the way he was captured by Algerian corsairs. After 5 years of slavery and 4 unsuccessful escape attempts he was ransomed buy his parents.

When he got back he tried writing plays. He was relatively unsuccessful. After a while he became bankrupt and was arrested for tax discrepancy. In jail he came up with the idea for a book about Don Quixote.

Simon Bolivar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco.

He is sitting on a horse in the middle of the city, in the middle of a park, in the middle of a ring of trees and fountains.

Bronze and stone.

He is sitting with his back straight on a horse, waving his hat at an invisible crowd. (The birds on his arm are pigeons so the colour of their feathers makes them look like bronze but they are actually real.)

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco (better known as Simon Bolivar) was born in 24 July 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela. He was from an aristocratic family and his parents had vast estates and also owned lots of gold, silver and copper mines. His parents had to leave him in the care of Doña Ines Manceba de Miyares for unknown reasons. He was back in the care of his parents in a couple of years but his father died when he was three and his mother died when he was nine. He lived in the same house but he was raised buy a number of professors and a nurse. His favourite teacher was Simón Rodríguez.

When Bolivar was 14  Simón Rodríguez was accused of a conspiracy against the King so he was forced to leave the country. So he joined the military. He travelled to Paris and was there when the first Napoleon was crowned Emperor. He imagined something that huge happening to Spain.

When Bolivar got back to Venezuela he was given military command in Gran Colombia by a group of people that were powerful but against Spanish rule.

He went to a few places and stirred an uprising, he then attacked the Spanish troops and destroyed them. He then went to Caracas, the capital of Venezuela and liberated that. After that he marched to Bogata, the capital of Colombia, and liberated that as well. He next marched to Cartagena to get reinforcements but was attacked by a group of people that still wanted to be supported by Spain, just not ruled by them. He fled to Jamaica, but after an attempt on his life was made he fled to Haiti, where he was granted protection.

He marched out of Haiti a while later and started attacking Spanish places and fighting for independence.

He also started fighting for Peru and Ecuador's independence.

He finally achieved his goal of unity and independence. He united most of the Caribbean, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. He made a federal government that was interested in the rights of the individual. This system was rejected. He then made himself the dictator of Gran Colombia.

All in all he wanted independence and unity but he was also quite fond of power. He may have been the most important man in Colombian history.

Saint Pedro Claver
Pedro Claver talking to a slave.

He is positioned in a plaza that is shaped like a T and he is in the left wing of the T.


The are two men talking to each other, the one on the left is Pedro Claver and he is wearing long robes and a crucifix, the other man is clearly a slave, wearing nothing but a peace of cloth around his waist.

Saint Pedro Claver was the first person in the New World to become a saint. He gave slaves food and clothes and baptised 300,000 people although most were Africans.

Claver was born in Urgell, a town near Barcelona on the 26 June 1581. His family were farmers and strictly Catholic. He went to university in Barcelona and decided to devote himself to God. After joining the Society of Jesus in Tarragona and completing his Novitiate he was sent to do a study of philosophy in Palma, Mallorca.

He volunteered to go to the Spanish colonies in South America as a missionary in 1610. He lived in the Jesuit houses in Bogota and Tunja while he did six years in theology. He was touched deeply by the conditions of living as an African slave and when he graduated as a minister at Cartagena he wrote that he was now a servant of the slaves.

By now slave trade had been active in Cartagena for a century and about 10,000 arrived per year in conditions so horrendous that a third of them died on the crossing from Africa to Colombia. When a ship of slaves came into port Claver would go to the quay and go on board the ships. It was normally difficult to move about in the ships as they were generally packed full of scared, tired and sick slaves. He would treat the sick, feed all of them and give them better clothing.

The Fat Lady 
The “Fat Lady” statue by sculptor and artist Fernando Botero.

The statue is sitting in the middle of a plaza surrounded by old Spanish style houses.

Bronze and limestone.

She is very fat.

Fernando Botero was born in Medellín, Colombia on the 19 April 1932.

Botero's Father was a sales man and he died when Botero was four, his Mother was a seamstress.
He went to a normal school but then sold his drawings and used the money he was paid to go to the high school Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia.

His style exaggerates the fatness of people so they are all very plump. He now considers himself the most famous Colombian artist, although his statues can be found all over the world and he only lives there one month of the year.

You can find his artwork in Paris and most Spanish countries.

Anon, Simon Bolivar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim%C3%B3n_Bol%C3%ADvar 
Anon, Pegasos,  http://www.sonesta.com/Cartagena/index.cfm?fa=localarea.attractions1 
Anon, Pedro Claver, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Claver 
Anon, Miguel de Cervantes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_Cervantes 
Anon, India Catalina,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_Catalina
Anon, Fernando Botero,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Botero 
Anon, Cartagena, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartagena_Colombia
Anon, Blas de Lezo, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blas_de_Lezo
Anon, Pedro de Heredia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_de_Heredia

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