A HISTORIC monument that will always remind passers-by of the country’s history has been unveiled yesterday.
Called the ‘Mendana Bust’, the large sculpture resembling Solomon Islands first European discoverer Alvaro de Mendana of Spain was unveiled by Spanish ambassador to Solomon Islands and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The Spanish ambassador Enrigue Viguera, during the ceremony said the discovery history of the Solomon Islands was not famous back in Spain, but it is eventually being realised.
“This is a historic event that we should be proud of and explore ways whereby, we can enrich ourselves with it,” Mr Viguera said.
“Mendana travelled from Peru, Spain and discovered your islands and established interesting relationship encounters with locals.
“He named the islands including Guadalcanal, which is the name of a village town in Spain where his captain came from,” Mr Viguera said.
Construction of the monument was funded by the Spanish government under a project that will see two more monuments erected in Santa Cruz, Temotu Province, where the discoverer perished.
When taking off the cover to undressed the monument of Mendana, the ambassador stood still and admitted that he was touched.
“I am honoured and thrilled. This monument will remind us of the historical ties we share as nations.”
In his response, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism John Wasi said the establishment of the monument marked an important part in the history and relationship of Solomon Islands and Spain.
“Mendana is a common name in schools. The name portrays an important part of our history and civilization,” Mr Wasi said.
He expressed appreciation to the Spanish government for funding the monument.
“This signifies the close relationship our two countries will continue to share in the years to come.
“I hope our two countries will forge a closer working relationship in the near future with programs that will be beneficial to our two countries in addressing our common history and advancing our common course for development.”
The monument stands in the National Museum compound facing the Museum bus stop.
On 19 November 1567, two vessels left Callao in Peru, Spain heading westward under the command of Mendana.
The expedition was organised purposely to find gold. After sailing for about three months, Mendana and his crew located and Named Santa Isabel after the Queen of Spain.
They then discovered Guadalcanal and other Islands afterwards. Mendana and his men tried to establish in Santa Cruz, but he died of what was believed to be Malaria. Attempts to create a colony failed then which resulted in the rest of the crew pulling out in 1595 and sailed to the Philippines.
By EDNAL PALMER