lundi 2 mars 2015

History - Spain at the Chicago 1893 World Columbian Exposition


It was to be expected that Spain, the country in one respect most honored by the World's Columbian Exposition, should be well represented in the displays, and that its government should enter into the broad spirit of the occasion.

The Spanish government showed earnestness in its course from the beginning, not merely in assisting Spanish exhibitors but in such special direction as the building of the duplicate "Santa Maria", the flagship of Columbus, the loan of treasured relics, shown in the Convent of La Rabida and the care paid to make something typical of the Spanish Government Building. The structure, which occupied a site near the lake shore between those of Germany and Canada, was the reproduction in design of the Valencia Silk Exchange, a building the erection of which was begun in Valencia, Spain, in 1492, the year that Columbus sailed. It showed exactly the style of a rchitecture prevalent in Spain at the time, and so had had a peculiar and appropriate interest.

The dimensions were a frontage of eighty-four feet, a depth of about ninety-five feet and a height of about fifty feet, the tower rising fifteen feet higher. The ornaments of the interior represented the church, the magistracy and the military arts, and the general effect was in keeping with the time represented. Here, of course, were the Spanish governmental headquarters at the Fair.


The Spanish Caravels should have had their names painted on their sides to distinguish them apart; at least, so thought many of the visitors to the Fair; for their build was singularly alike with the "Santa Maria" and "Pinta". The "Nina" was distinguishable enough, as she had no raised deck at the bow, did not overhang like the others, and had no square sails of the ordinary type, only the long rakish-looking yards which hung slantwise of the masts with a sort of Lascar, piratical sweep to them, a look belied by her ponderous high-built stern. Between the "Santa Maria "and "Pinta" the main difference was that the former was decked over, had more decorations, and was not quite so squarely built. The "Pinta" absolutely sloped backward at the bow. The "Nina," it will be remembered, was commanded by Yanez Pinzon, while his brother, Alonzo Pinzon, commanded the "Pinta". The latter broke her rudder the third day out on the voyage, not as the result of pure accident, either, it was thought; but Columbus had it mended after a fashion and kept the vessel along. The whole number of men in the three vessels was but one hundred and twenty, but they were not the choicest of mariners, and among tbem were either cowardly or turbulent spirits enough to keep a commander occupied. Credit should. however. be given to the Pinzons for what they did. They defied superstition and, alone among Spanish ship owners, at the time manifested something of the daring spirit which is today that of the land for which they sailed

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