Real Alcázar – Casa de Contratación: Hall of Audiences – Model of La Santa Maria

Model of La Santa Maria in the Hall of Audiences in the Casa de Contratación section of the Real Alcázar of Seville, Spain

Model of La Santa Maria

Model of La Santa Maria
On display at the Hall of Audiences and to the left side of the altarpiece is a replica of La Santa Maria, one of the three ships that sailed from Seville as part of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492.

La Santa Maria was the flagship for the expedition and the largest of the three, the other two being La Niña and La Pinta. It had a crew of 40 sailors when they set sail from Seville. After reaching the Americas, it hit a reef and was shipwrecked somewhere near Haiti on the Christmas day of 1492. Because the ship suffered considerable damage, Columbus ordered his crew salvaged its timber then abandoned it. Its remains has not been discovered yet. Columbus and his crew returned to Spain on La Niña.

There is no record of the exact measurements and capacity of La Santa Maria. Its size was estimated based on the anecdotal evidence provided by Columbus’s crew. Based on this estimate, the Santa Maria was about 58 ft long and had three masts. The replica of Santa Maria shown in the image was built at the Museo Maritimo de Barcelona, Spain, under the supervision of the museum director.

The wall behind the model carries a banner with the insignia of the crown of Castile y León and similar banners cover the rest of the wall.

The Hall of Audiences is one of the two well-preserved halls of the building that was home to the first headquarters of Casa de Contratación (House of Trade), an organization established in 1503 by Queen Isabella I of Castile to regulate trade in the Americas after the discovery of the New World. This organization had broad powers, including approval of voyages, licensing navigators, collecting taxes, and acting as a court of law to settle trade disputes.

Situated on the eastern side of the Patio de la Montería and next to the glamorous Pedro I Palace, the Casa de Contratación building is part of the Real Alcázar of Seville, which is a large complex consisting of palaces, administrative buildings, and gardens built/rebuilt by different cultures from the middle ages to the modern era. Designated in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site – along with the Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies – the Real Alcázar is one of the most visited attractions in the world.

Casa de Contratación pages
Admiral’s Room
Last Moments of Fernando III the Saint, a masterpiece by Virgilio Mattoni
King Louis Philippe I of France
Queen Maria Amelia de Borbón-Dos Sicilias
King Fernando VII of Spain
Hall of Audiences
Model of Santa Maria
Virgin of the Navigators

Seville Pages and Posts
Real Alcázar of Seville: Casa de Contratación (House of Trade)
Real Alcázar of Seville: Pedro I Palace – A masterpiece of Mudéjar art and architecture
Seville Cathedral: An awe-inspiring architectural marvel
Sala Capitular – The Chapter House of the Seville Cathedral
Sacristía Mayor – The Main Sacristy of the Seville Cathedral
La Giralda: A harmonious blend of Moorish and Renaissance architectural styles
Las Setas of Seville – A modern artistic structure in a historical city

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