Sunday, March 29, 2015

Historic Figure: Admiral Blas de Lezo - Cartagena, Colombia

Admiral Blas de Lezo
Cartagena, Colombia


N 10° 25.296 W 075° 32.398



Short Description: 

A statue of Admiral Blas de Lezo, the hero of Cartagena, is located outside the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas in Cartagena.

Long Description:

A monument honoring Admiral Blas de Lezo contains an 8' high bronze statue of the Admiral on a 10' high square stone pedestal. Blas de Lezo is dressed in an ornate military uniform that includes a open knee-length coat with huge ruffled cuffs, a thigh-length buttoned shirt, sash, peg left leg, and a boot on his right leg. He is standing looking towards the sky with his left arm extended slightly above his shoulder. His hand is palm up and is holding a sword. The sculpture was created by Laiz Campos and cast in Madrid, Spain in 1956.

Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta was born in Pasajes, Guipúzcoa, Spain, on February 3, 1689. He began is naval career in 1701 as a midshipman in the French navy. In 1704, while serving as a crew member in the joint French-Spanish fleet against the British and the Dutch at the Battle of Vélez Málaga he lost his left leg. He quickly rose through the ranks and after the War of Spanish Succession he commanded the flagship Lanfranco as part of the South Seas Fleet. In 1725 he defeated British and Dutch pirates on the Pacific coasts of South America by capturing twelve ships in the process.

Blas de Lezo, as an admiral, became the hero of Cartagena for his victory over the British fleet commanded by Admiral Edward Vernon during the Battle of Cartagena de Indias in 1741, during the War of Jenkins' Ear. The monument to Blas de Lezo has copies of medallions minted by Great Britain that prematurely and erroneously celebrates a victory of Admiral Vernon over Admiral de Lezo.



The front of the base has the coat of arms of Cartagena. The side have a copies of two aforementioned British medallions. The left side medallion depicts three ships of the British fleet laying siege to Cartagena and two of its fortresses and is inscribed:



TRUE BRITISH HEROES TOOK CARTAGENA
DON BLASS
APRIL 1747

The right side medallion shows Admiral Vernon looking down upon the Admiral Blas de Lezo who is shown kneeling on both legs while offering his sword to Admiral Vernon. It is inscribed:



THE SPANISH PRIDE PULLED DOWN BY ADMIRAL VERNON
DON BLASS

A bronze plaque on the ground explains the significance of the medallions. it is inscribed:

MONEDA COMMEMORATIVE ACUÑADA EN
INGLATERRA ANTES DE LA BATALLAQUE VERNON
ESPERABA VENCER PERO QUE FINALMENTE PERDIO
ANTE DON BLAS DE LEZO

COMMEMORATIVE COIN MINTED IN
ENGLAND BEFORE THE BATTLE THAT VERNON
EXPECTED TO WIN BUT FINALLY LOST
BEFORE DON BLAS DE LEZO



The back has the plaque which is inscribed:

LUIZ CAMPOS
ESCULTOR
MADRID (ESPAÑA)
1956

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