Maine Memorial

Maine Memorial (98)

You are facing one of the main entrances to Central Park, the Merchants' Gate, where the majestic Maine Memorial, the 1913 work of sculptor Attilio Picarelli, stands.

This is a great pedestal of more than 13 metres high topped with a gilded bronze sculpture of Columbia Triumphant in a shell chariot drawn by three seahorses, representing American dominance on the seas. If you do not know, the Columbia nomenclature is derived from the name of the discoverer Christopher Columbus, depicting a female personification of the European colonies in the New World, that is, the United States. At the base of the structure you'll see mythological figures of victory, peace, courage, fortitude and justice.

This imposing monument is dedicated to the 266 American soldiers who died in the sinking of the Maine in 1898, which led to war between the US and Spain called the Spanish-American War, also known as the Disaster of 98 or the Cuba War.

The fact is that the battleship USS Maine was in Havana when a sudden nocturnal explosion caused it to sink rapidly. And, as you can imagine, everyone today has their own theory. On the one hand it is said that Spanish sailors or Cuban pro-Spaniards approached the boat at night and placed a mine in the ship's bow. On the other, it is said that it was the United States itself that needed an excuse to start the war and caused the explosion. And the third option, currently the most widespread, says it was an accidental explosion of coal dust in the coal chute inside the battleship.

Anyway, this fact was the seed for the war from which Cuba became independent and in which Spain ceded its other colonies to the United States, such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines, for example. But regardless of the colonies, the power and dominion of the seas, the truth is that the monument pays sincere tribute to the victims of the sinking of the Maine with this majestic structure.

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