One of the sillier arguments we’ve heard concerns where Cristoforo Columbo is pointing from atop this statue in the harbor at the end of Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Supposedly according to tradition, he’s pointing at the New World and hoping to talk the Castilian Monarchy into financing another trip. Revisionists claim that no, he’s pointing nostalgically back at his home in Genoa, Italy. But any child with a compass and a map can tell you in a matter of seconds that Columbus’ bronze finger is in fact pointing straight at Algeria.
The true puzzle for Lockhart is why the Catalans would want to erect a monument to an Italian in the employ of Castilians who discovered the Bahamas while looking for Indonesia. Yes, he reported back to Ferdinand and Isabella here, but given local history, the connection looks a little tenuous. Nevertheless, build it the Catalans did–with Spanish money, of course.