In Valladolid, Spain stands a monument to the great explorer Christopher Columbus. Its most interesting feature is the statue of a lion destroying one of three Latin words – three words that had been part of Spain’s motto for centuries.
On his first voyage, Christopher Columbus sailed through unknown waters to an unknown destination. Before his voyage, Spain’s standards carried three words in Latin. The same words were written on the left edge of the maps of that day. Even the Straits of Gibraltar carried the same three words, chiselled into stone.
What were the words?
“NE PLUS ULTRA – No More Beyond.”
While the world was convinced there was nothing more beyond, Columbus was not. His ships returned and the discovery of a land of wealth and opportunity “beyond” marked the dawn of a new age.
The world was forever changed. So much so, the king of Spain changed the motto of the land to read as it does today. One word on the famed monument is torn away by the lion making it: ” PLUS ULTRA – More Beyond! ”
With new worlds just over the horizon, the belief that there was nothing more was replaced by the confident claim that there was, indeed more beyond. This belief began the “Age of Discovery!”