The “Faro a Colón,” or “Columbus Lighthouse,” is perhaps the largest memorial to Christopher Columbus in the world. Inaugurated in 1992 as a celebration of the five-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s first arrival in the Americas, it is visible throughout much of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This article argues that the typical presentation of the monument is badly misaligned with the historical record, but that a historically and historiographically informed interpretation can lead to a truer understanding of the violence and greed of colonization. Contrary to what its designers wanted to show about Columbus, and in some ways in spite of itself, the Columbus Lighthouse conveys with unusual clarity the problems of memorializing one of the most (in)famous figures in world history.

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