Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ESCANDON, Antonio (escandon'), Mexican capitalist, born in the City of Mexico, 25 August 1825; died in Paris, France, 14 January 1882. He began life as a merchant and manufacturer, and afterward became a banker. His thorough knowledge of the trade of his country soon led him to understand the importance of a better communication between the capital and the principal port of entry, Vera Cruz, and he was active in building the railroad between those points. The road was begun in 1861, and opened by President Lerdo de Tejada, 1 January 1873, and is considered one of the triumphs of modern engineering skill. During the empire Escandon accepted the decoration of the order of Guadalupe, and frequented the imperial court, and on the eve of the downfall of Maximilian went to Paris, where he stayed until the beginning of 1877.
During his residence there he ordered from the sculptor Charles Cordier a statue of Christopher Columbus, which he gave to his native City. The monument is nearly forty feet high; the statue itself represents Columbus with one hand outstretched, while with the other he lifts a veil, uncovering a world. On the four corners of the pedestal are seated four monks Diego de Dieza, turning the leaves of the Bible to see if it contains any text opposed to the mariner's idea" Juan , Perez de Marche1 na, studying a chart and measuring with compasses the distance between Spain and the New World ; Bartolome de las Casas, preparing to write the defense of the Indians whom he vainly sought to protect against the cruelty of the conquerors ; and Bernardino de Sahagun, holding aloft the cross, before which the Indians are prostrated. The four sides of the pedestal contain bas-reliefs representing scenes from the conquest of America, and the chart used by Columbus. Escandon came to Mexico in 1877 to see this monument unveiled, and returned in 1878 to Paris, where he remained till his death. Escandon built a country house, about 1860, at Tacubaya, the gardens of which are among the finest in America, while the building contains fine collections of natural history.
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