March, 2007

Important Panama City Landmark To Be Relocated

The statue, at the inauguration ceremony in September, 1924

After 86 years standing on the same location, overlooking the Bay of Panama, the statue honoring Vasco Nuñez de Balboa will be soon relocated. The decision was taken as the government plans to build a new "Cinta Costera" --a coastal landfill around the bay which will create new recreational spaces and space for a new thoroughfare.

The statue's new location will be at end of the soon-to-be extended Avenida Ecuador, on a park identical to where the statue presently stands.

The story of Balboa's statue is an interesting one. In 1910, a local lawyer, Ricardo J. Alfaro (who later became president of Panama) contacted prominent Catalonian sculptor, Agustín Quero,l with the purpose of creating the Balboa monument. Querol accepted, but died before he could finish his idea at the drawing board.

The Balboa monument, 2007

Three years later, King Alfonso XIII of Spain invited the Panamanian government to revive the project and donated 50,000 pesetas out of his pocket. He also invited his subjects follow his example raising a total of 13,000 pesetas. The Panamanian government donated US$650.00.

Spanish sculptors, Mariano Benlliure and Miquel Blay, were chosen to create the statue –a marble structure placed on a globe sustained by the figures of four men –each representing a different racial background.

The statue was inaugurated on September 24, 1924 by then-president Belisario Porras.

March 28, 2007