Monument to Alonso Sánchez



Alonso Sánchez was a Spanish seamen and dealer who was born in Huelva in the 15th century. Many historians deny his existence because he would ruin Christopher Columbus’s merits and achievements, as Sánchez is said to have arrived in America much before the famous Admiral.

Friar Bartolomé de las Casas tells a story of a ship which was diverted from its route by a heavy storm and reached somewhere in America after several days. Nevertheless, it is chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who tells the whole story in his Comentarios Reales de los Incas.

De la Vega explains that Alonso Sánchez was travelling to England when his ship was struck by a heavy storm between the Canary Islands and Madeira and he lost his course. After several weeks, he and his crew landed in an island – maybe Santo Domingo – and were welcomed by the natives.

They lived in the island for a while, and eventually they returned to Europe after estimating the distance which they had sailed. They landed in Porto Santo Island, where Columbus lived by that time. Alonso, who was of the few survivors of the journey, told his story to Columbus, who had already compiled information on the land west of the Atlantic.

Garcilaso said that he was told this story when he was a child by Spanish conquistadores. Today, Alonso Sánchez is somehow Huelva’s prodigal son. This monument close to the harbour commemorates him together with a school and a park carrying his name. All of them were made by local artist León Ortega.

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