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View of bronze statue of Queen Isabella from the side, from a distance. She is framed by green and yellow shrubbery and branches hang overhead, backed by a blue sky with light, puffy clouds.
View of statue of Queen Isabella I from the side, approaching the OAS building. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

Observing Hispanic Heritage Month in Washington, D.C. – Pic of the Week

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With Hispanic Heritage Month wrapping up on October 15, I thought about where in Washington, D.C. I could go to learn more about Hispanic communities across the nation. The Smithsonian is in the process of building the National Museum of the American Latino, so in the meantime, I wandered along Constitution Avenue.

I was interested to see a bronze sculpture of Queen Isabella I of Castile. She, along with her husband, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, united their two Spanish kingdoms in the 16th century and supported Christopher Columbus in their efforts to increase Spain‘s imperial expansion. Standing in front of the Organization of American States building off of Constitution Avenue NW, this sculpture was donated by the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Madrid and the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1966.

I checked the Spanish Legal Documents collection to see if either of these names appeared. Several royal orders from Ferdinand’s reign appear in the collection, as well as in some of the materials in the Biblioteca Nacional de España‘s incunabula – or books printed prior to 1501 – collection.

The National Park Service has a walking tour guide of the monuments and memorials to Hispanic individuals who played a role in national independence movements. Other statues near Isabella’s include General José Gervasio Artigas, the father of Uruguayan nationhood; José Cecilio del Valle, a founding father of Central America and more specifically Guatemala; and Simón Bolívar, who led Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela to independence from the Spanish Empire.

On a plaza, raised up on a pedestal after a few steps, a statue of Simón Bolívar sits astride a horse. behind him are trees, white buildings, and a blue sky peppered with clouds.
Photo of statue of Simón Bolívar at the intersection of Virginia Avenue NW and Constitution Avenue NW. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

The Law Library continues to support the inclusion of Spanish legal materials in our collections. The online crowdsourcing campaign, Herencia, is still active, for those interested in the accessibility of future Spanish legal documents and wish to assist with transcription.

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  1. Very nice blog post.

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