Article Title

City of Gold


Rebecca Wallin


Dependable, Intermediate, Young Adult, International Plays For Young Audiences, Charles Smith, Christopher Columbus, World Exploration, Colonization, Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, Guacanagaríx, Caonabo, Children's Theater, Theater For Young Audiences, La Navidad, Cultural Conflict

Document Type

Play Review


The "true" story is sought to be told in this raw and unromantic version of an event in the life of Christopher Columbus. When the Santa Maria was run aground near present day Haiti during their first expedition to the new world, Columbus and his men were forced to land. They negotiated with a native tribe and were allowed to use the wood from the Santa Maria to build a fort and small settlement – La Navidad, the first Spanish settlement in the new world - and leave the crew behind since there was no room on the other ships. Through a series of misunderstandings that escalated into horrible atrocities against the native people, the entire crew was slaughtered by the tribe. Though the historical events pertaining to the actual event are somewhat shrouded in mystery, the plot presents a plausible recreation of what could have occurred (albeit a version skewed toward the explorers being mainly at fault and consumed by greed for gold). One misrepresentation to note: in an attempt to include the notable character of Columbus more heavily, he is more present than in the actual historical event.