Statues of the Liberators
A series of Statues of the Liberators of western-hemisphere countries from colonial rule is found along Virginia Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. (which has been referred to as a Washington version of New York City's Avenue of the Americas).
Over the past fifty-five years, several statues have been erected on Virginia Avenue, N.W., between 18th and 25th Streets, by various Latin American countries honoring their liberators and other national figures. The statues are maintained by the National Park Service. The location on Virginia Avenue was chosen because of its proximity to the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), which is located at Virginia Avenue and 18th Street, and to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is located at Virginia Avenue and 23rd Street.
Ordered going from East to West:
|Statue||Liberator||Location of Statue||Country||Year Erected||Artist|
|General José Gervasio Artigas||José Gervasio Artigas||Virginia Ave. and Constitution Ave., NW||Uruguay||1950||Juan Manuel Blanes (1830-1901)|
|Equestrian of Simón Bolívar||Simón Bolívar||Virginia Ave. and 18th Street (at C St.), NW||Venezuela||1958||Felix de Weldon (1907-2003)|
|General Jose de San Martin Memorial||José de San Martín||Virginia Ave. and 20th Street, NW||Argentina||1972||Augustin-Alexandre Dumont (1801-1884)|
|Bernardo de Gálvez||Bernardo de Gálvez||Virginia Ave. and 22nd Street, NW||Spain||1976||Juan de Ávalos (1911-2006)|
|Benito Juarez||Benito Juárez||Virginia Ave. and 25th Street (at New Hampshire Ave.), NW||Mexico||1969||Enrique Alciati|
The statue of Gálvez is idiosyncratic in that it both celebrates a Spanish loyalist and was given by the King of Spain to the United States in 1976 in celebration of the Bicentennial. It is Gálvez's role as a helper of the rebellious colonies during the American Revolution that is here celebrated.
The statue of Benito Juarez relates to the reforms made by him to control power from the Church in México. The Libertator of México is actually Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. México was the first country to fight against the Spanish Kingdom. Hidalgo was the first one to start the Liberty movement in Latin America.
In the year 1972, the statue of San Martín was removed to its present location from Judiciary Square (roughly E Street between 4th and 5th Streets, NW), where it had been erected in 1925 at a ceremony including President Calvin Coolidge. This move was necessitated by the construction of the Washington Metro station at Judiciary Square. The statue is a copy of the statue of San Martín that stands in Buenos Aires' Plaza San Martín (sculpted in 1862 by French artist Louis-Joseph Daumas).
Another statue that might be, but only ironically, considered a piece of this collection is the statue of the would-be liberator, Don Quixote de La Mancha, that is on the grounds of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (near the Juárez statue). Sculpted by Aurelio Teno, it was also presented by the King of Spain, as was the Gálvez statue, on his 1976 visit to the United States.
- South American wars of independence
- Don Diego de Gardoqui
- National Mall
- Art Museum of the Americas
- National Park Service's Cell Phone Tour
- Walking Tour Schedule for 2012 on National Park Service's Washington, D.C. Website
- National Park Service's Report on American Latino Heritage Initiative (see p. 31)
- Self-guided walking tour of statues published by the National Park Service
- "D.C. Memorials.com" Web Page with many photographs
- Washington Times article of May 24, 2007.
- Art Museum of the Americas (part of OAS)
- Speech given by President Coolidge at Presentation of San Martín statue in 1925
- Time Magazine article from November 1925 about San Martín statue dedication
- Smithsonian Institution inventory entry for the Don Quixote statue at the Kennedy Center.
- Smithsonian Institution inventory entry for the Jose de San Martin statue.