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Spain’s National Holiday


Spain celebrates a holiday today. It’s another saint’s day, that of Mare de Déu del Pilar. As the holiday this year falls on a Monday, a puente can be bagged, the extra day making this a long puente weekend. At the same time as a church holiday, today is also a National holiday in Spain: the Fiesta Nacional de España.

Until not many years ago this day was celebrated in Spain as the Día de la Hispanidad, commemorating October 12th, 1492, when Christopher Columbus first reached the Americas, according to the Julian calendar. Of course, Cristóbal Colón as he is called in Spain, first thought he had landed in India instead of The Bahamas.

Many countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas as an official holiday. The day is celebrated as Columbus Day in the USA, as Día de la Raza in many countries in Latin America, as Día de las Culturas in Costa Rica, as Discovery Day in The Bahamas, as Día de las Américas in Uruguay and as Día de la Resistencia Indígena in Venezuela.

In Mallorca, many people consider Cristóbal Colón as one of theirs. One hundred years before Colón, another Mallorcan seafarer first discovered the sea routes along the West African coast: Jaume Ferrer. You can see a statue celebrating the man in Plaza Drassaner, near the Llotja in Palma. Jaume Ferrer had his achievements recognised in the Atlas Catalán (1375) by Abraham Cresques (a segment of that famous map is shown below).


The Atlas Catalán in full view is shown at the bottom. The detail shown above, illustrating Jaume Ferrer, his men and his vessel near West Africa, can be found below, at the very bottom of the first panel on the left.


The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 17th, 2009. The time was 14:59:51. The map (centre) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Merci beaucoup. The map (bottom) was also taken from the Internet, courtesy of Muchas gracias.

1 reply »

  1. I am trying to locate an artist whose work I first saw in the 1960’s. I was told his name was (spelled phonetically) CAMBIA. I know he painted on the island of Majorca. His work was shown in Baltimore, Maryland, in the USA, at Bendant’s Gallery. They have refused to look up any records for me. I have searched many different sources in this country but I know I have been inhibited because I don’t know the correct spelling of his name.
    I have picked your address randomly hoping that someone in Majorca may be able to direct me to the artist, if he is still alive, or his work.
    I know it is very forward to do this, but I am hoping you will respond.
    Sal Marzullo

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