A statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella will be removed from the state of California’s Capitol rotunda, according to legislative leaders.
“Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations,” Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assembly Rules Chairman Ken Cooley said in a statement Tuesday.
“The continued presence of this statue in California’s Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed,” the statement added.
The decision comes after a debate about racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Floyd, 46, an unarmed black man, died after being pinned down May 25 by a white police officer in Minneapolis after reportedly attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a local store.
His last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a slogan for worldwide protests.
Nationwide protests have lasted more than two weeks during which statues of Confederate leaders and Columbus have been vandalized and destroyed by protesters.
Last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for all 11 statues that honor Confederate leaders and soldiers to be removed from the US Capitol.
Sacramento, California banker Darius Ogden Mills gifted the marble statue to the state in 1883.
Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella portrays the explorer asking the queen to support his 1492 voyage to the New World.
The Confederacy were southern states that succeeded from the union on the issue of slavery.