The authorities in Mexico City have announced that a Christopher Columbus monument will be replaced by a sculpture of an indigenous person known as ‘The Young Woman of Amajac’.
Claudia Sheinbaum, head of the Mexico City government, announced that a statue of ‘La Joven de Amajac’ (The Young Woman of Amajac) will replace the statue of Christopher Columbus at the Paseo de la Reforma in the Mexican capital yesterday, 13th October.
The Columbus statue was removed from Paseo de la Reforma for maintenance last year, but at the time it was not known that it would never return.
The new monument, which will measure six metres (19.6 feet) in height, was chosen after a petition gathered over 5,000 signatures from indigenous women, and is based on an ancient statue found earlier this year that is over 500 years old.
Sheinbaum said: “We want to say that it represents women, but in particular indigenous women, their struggle, and what they represent in the history of Mexico.
“It is a monument, it is cultural beauty, but it also represents history and social justice in our country: recognising the indigenous women who gave us a homeland.”
The original sculpture of ‘La Joven de Amajac’ was discovered by farmers on 1st January this year in the town of Alamo Temapache in Veracruz, and is currently on display at the National Museum of Anthropology.
Diego Prieto, director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), told Uno TV that the statue represents an elite woman from Amajac and was sculpted between 1450 and 1521.
It is 2 metres (6.7 feet) tall, 60 centimetres (24 inches) wide, and 25 centimetres (9.8 inches) thick, made of limestone, and depicts a woman covered in jewellery.
Colonial-era statues have been the source of controversy recently in several countries including the UK, Canada and the US.
Arguments to have them removed have included historical oppression while critics claim that removing them is ‘erasing history’.
A statue of Queen Victoria was removed by protesters in Winnipeg in Canada earlier this year while a statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader, was thrown in a river in Bristol, England.
An exact date for when the ‘The Young Woman of Amajac’ will be erected on Paseo de la Reforma has not been issued.