Number 10

Map of the Island “La Espanola” (Santo Domingo). Sinking of the Santa Maria

 Below the board of the Nao Santa Maria undulates the body of a marine serpent, the head finished off with a sculpture of stalactites resembling bones and below this detail, a map.

 At the end of the 19th century La Casa Alba incorporated this sketch of the North and West part of the Island of Santo Domingo (Haiti and Dominican Republic) into its family archive.  Columbus christened this island “La Española” and according to the chronicles on the days close to Christmas 1492, the ship Santa Maria sank off one of its coasts. The fruit of this misfortune was that the timbers of this ship were used for the construction of the first Christian settlement of the New World called: Fuerte Navidad (Fort Christmas).

 The reproduction of this map in artificial stone shows the point where the ship was lost and some place names that are still conserved today on the island. The word “nativida” can be read, with a little arrow pointing to the aforementioned settlement. Since its publication this map is considered to have been signed by Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th century, but as of today the authenticity of the Admiral’s handwriting and the suggested date is false.  

 A deep crack can be seen on the ship’s walls (both port and starboard) which reminds us of the accident.  You will note that the Santa Maria is closer to the West and quite a distance from La Pinta and La Nina (Palos) as these two ships were able to return to Spain to announce what had been discovered on that first journey (they are together at the main building).

 The pile of bones over the map symbolizes, with its three faces, the monster that devoured the 39 sailors who remained in Fort Christmas on the orders of Christopher Colombus.  These were the first Christians to die in the West Indies at the hands of the native cannibals who Columbus referred to as Caribes.