Historic symbol of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria destroyed by fire

by Lorraine Williamson
La Niña in flames

LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – One of the most iconic tourist attractions of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the replica of the ship La Niña, went up in flames on Thursday morning. The tragedy has hit the heart of the city hard. 

In the early hours of the morning, a devastating fire broke out on the ship, which had been lying near Santa Catalina Park since 2000. The city’s fire department quickly arrived to fight the fire, using 8,000 litres of water. Although the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, it is noted that homeless people regularly used the place as a shelter. 

Call for rapid reconstruction 

The Canarian Association of Maritime Collectors expresses deep regret over the tragic incident. In doing so, they call on the authorities to quickly rebuild the historic ship. They also urge strong and urgent action to preserve the maritime and port heritage. 

Historical Significance of La Nina 

The burnt ship was built in Galicia in 1992 according to the plans of Captain Carlos Etayo. It is a replica of “La Niña III”, which took part in the famous expedition led by Christopher Columbus to America. The replica reminds tourists of the Spanish conquest of America. 

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Christopher Columbus

On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail – after long negotiations with the Catholic Kings – from the port of Palos de la Frontera, in Huelva. But before he set foot in ‘Las Indias’, Columbus set sail for the Canary Islands. He visited La Gomera and later made a stopover in Gran Canaria, where he repaired the rudder of one of the ships, La Pinta, and replaced the original triangular sails with square sails. 

This reproduction of Columbus’s ship was a reminder of the important role the city played in the navigator’s journey. Furthermore, the Admiral was in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria during three of his voyages. 

Also read: Was Christopher Columbus really the first European to set foot on American soil?

Future of maritime heritage 

With the destruction of this historic replica, the city faces the challenge of coming to terms with the loss and determining what to do with the site now. The recovery of the ship and the preservation of the maritime heritage are becoming urgent issues for the authorities to pay attention to. 

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