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Statue of Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella to be removed from California Capitol

"Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations."

SACRAMENTO, Calif — California lawmakers announced Tuesday that the statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella will be removed from the state Capitol's rotunda.

The announcement comes as statues and monuments of Confederate officers across the country are vandalized, destroyed and taken down by city and state officials.

"Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations," a joint statement from state Senate and Assembly leaders said. "The continued presence of this statue in California's Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed."

Officials said there's no clear timeline on when the statue will be removed.

The statue, called "Columbus' Last Appeal to Queen Isabella," was gifted to the state by Darius Ogden Mills, a banker who made his money during the California Gold Rush.

Credit: AP
The usually bustling state Capitol rotunda is empty in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 18, 2020. In a precautionary effort to deal with the coronavirus, the Capitol and Legislative Office Building were closed to the public with only essential state workers and legislative employees allowed in until further notice, based on a "stay at home" directive issued by Sacramento County. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The monument depicts the moment Columbus received financing for his initial voyage that led him to the Americas for the first time. Columbus' voyages to the Americas led to the colonization of North America and the mass slaughtering of the indigenous tribes who had already lived on the lands.

Before the statue was restored in the 1970s, Native American organizations fought to have the statue replaced with something else, according to the state website. But the monument was returned to the rotunda where it has remained since.

This is the second time in as many days that leaders have announced the removal of statues of controversial figures.

On Monday, Sutter Health removed the statue of John Sutter, a colonizer of California land during the gold rush who founded Sacramento, one week after somebody threw red paint on it.

While he is a Northern California pioneer, Sutter also enslaved hundreds of Native Americans and even committed violent acts upon them.



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