Christopher Columbus Monument
The late 19th century was a period when the still-young United States of America was trying to establish its cultural identity and asserting its emerging international presence as a world power. Christopher Columbus was one of the historical personages that became a symbol for the search for identity and recognition. Figures from the American Revolution were amply respected and honored, but were still of relatively recent memory in the late 19th century. Columbus was considered a prime figure for reaching back centuries to a symbol of the country’s non-native origins. Christopher Columbus’ identity as a “discoverer” and the folkloric tales that followed were solidified by Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. It was presented as a showcase of world achievement since the landing of Columbus in the Americas four hundred years earlier. Columbus-related memorials and ephemera abounded.