NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A petition to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus had garnered more than 3,500 signatures last night.
The statue, which sits on the front steps of Government House overlooking Downtown Nassau, has become increasingly controversial in recent years reflecting global attitudes towards historic monuments depicting colonial figures.
The Italian explorer who “discovered” the new world when he landed on San Salvador in 1492 has come under increased scrutiny, with historical texts linking his storied pilgrimage to murder, rape, slavery, and genocide.
The most recent change.org petition was created by Craig Woodside yesterday afternoon, and within two hours had garnered more than 1,000 signatures.
Woodside points to “Columbus’ use of torture and dismemberment while serving as governor of a Spanish colony in the Bahamas/Caribbean earned him a reputation for shocking sadism.”
The Government House statue was erected in 1830 by Lord Carmichael in Columbus’ honour.
Several monuments at Landfall Park on San Salvador also memorialize Columbus’ arrival there. Another monument placed on the floor of the ocean marks the exact spot where his ship is believed to have dropped anchor.
In 2018, the city of Los Angeles removed the 45-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus in Grand Park following years of vandalism and petitioning.
Calls for the removal of statues memorializing colonial or slavery-era figures have intensified as anti-racism protests continue in several countries following the death of George Floyd.
Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25, and his death has sparked nationwide protests across the United States, and internationally.
On Sunday, protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally in western England tore down a statue of a 17th century slave trader and threw it into the river.