This magnificent monument is a tribute to Don Antonio López y López created in 1890 and is located in the hills overlooking the town of Comillas, a province of Santander in the north of Spain. It was designed by Doménech y Montaner and the work was directed by Cascante. It is located in a meadow that once belonged to Ángel Pérez, a long time friend, who had given it to the town to house the monument.
The monument features a pedestal in the shape of a ship’s prow, at the center of which is a tall column where the statue of the Marquis is located. It is filled with maritime themes and has influences from the Antilles and the Philippines. It sits in a very well-kept park and has spectacular views of the sea.
Don Lopez is seen by many as the “father of Comillas”and It is said that his economic and social rise was unstoppable since his return to Spain from Cuba as a result of the establishment of multiple businesses in Barcelona. In 1878 he was granted the title of Marquis by his native town of Comillas, as recognition from Alfonso XII for the support he provided in the fight against the Cuban insurrection.
The Marquis of Comillas
When he was only ten years old Antonio left Comillas to work in Andalusia, and at the age of fourteen he was provided with passage on the Reina de los Ángeles, from Cádiz to Cuba. There he worked as a “do-it-all waiter” saving to start his first business and in 1841 he chartered a “petache” of flour which sailed from Santander to Havana and transformed his investment into significant capital. This allowed him to return to Comillas as a young and promising “Indian” where he consolidated his wealth and grew his fortune.
The Black Legend
All that glitters is not gold and no man of prestige is spared from that harsh words of history, and there is version of his story which says his fortune was built on the slave trade. At this time the slave trade grew massively until the middle of the mid 1800’s in many countries, including Brazil and Cuba.