Q: Can you tell me what countries are offering special celebrations for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discoveries?
A: The quincentenary of Christopher Columbus' first landing in the New World will be marked in a number of places connected with the explorer and his voyages.
In Seville, Spain, Expo '92 will take place April 20 to Oct. 12, 1992, on Cartuja Island in the Guadalquivir River, opposite the old part of the city. The island is being fitted with pavilions, parks, theaters, sports arenas and a hotel complex, and a monastery in which Columbus lived for eight years is being renovated.
In Genoa, Italy, there will be a Columbus '92 exposition in the old port area May 15 to Aug. 15, 1992. Exhibitions and theater productions will focus not only on the explorer but the theme of ships and the sea.
In Puerto Rico, the Grand Regatta Columbus '92, a fleet of tall sailing ships and hundreds of pleasure craft, will sail from Cadiz, Spain, and arrive at San Juan in May 1992. There will be events in San Juan June 10-14, 1992, to coincide with the regatta's visit, among them folkloric shows, museum exhibitions, concerts and sporting events.
Reproductions of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria are being built in Port Canaveral, Fla., where visitors can watch the construction. After completion, they will make a tour of the East Coast and lead a parade of tall ships in New York harbor on July 4, 1992.
The ships will head for Spain, and starting from Cadiz will re-create Columbus' first voyage, landing Oct. 12, 1992, at San Salvador Island, the Bahamas, believed to be the site of the explorer's first landfall.
A welcoming ceremony and a festival, details to be set sometime early in 1991, will commemorate the event. The three ships will travel around the Caribbean for several months after.
Some say that Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos, was the site of Columbus' first landfall, and the Turks and Caicos Government will stage a celebration Oct. 12, 1992, at Pillory Beach. A statue of the explorer will be uncovered at the time.
In the Dominican Republic, archaeologists have been working near the village of El Castillo, in the northern part of the island, uncovering ruins of La Isabela, settled by Columbus in 1493 on his second expedition, making it the first known European colony in the Americas. The hope is to reconstruct the outlines of the buildings by October 1992.