Bug Blog

Columbus’ Replica Ships Were Eaten By Termites

Columbus’ Replica Ships Were Eaten By TermitesTermite Control

It may be hard to believe, but the Spanish Government was furious with officials in the United States during the early 2000s. So what could possibly have come between America and the country of Spain? Why, termites of course. The Spanish Government had spent nine million pounds building replicas of the ships that Columbus used to sail to the New World. Since then Spain has blamed American officials for allowing the ships to become extremely expensive termite food.

The year 1992 was a significant year for both the United States and Spain. For those of you who recall your elementary school history, 1992 was the five hundred year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the new world. The Spanish Government decided to celebrate the anniversary by building replicas of Columbus’s ships, and then sailing the ships to the United States. Once these replica ships arrived in the United States, the state government of Texas decided to accept the ships as a gift from Spain. To be more specific, the ships were leased to the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. Unfortunately, by the early 2000s, a few of these replicas became termite hotspots.

Officials in Spain were hoping for the replica ships to become tourist attractions in America. Local government officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, however, failed to adequately care for the ships. By the time 2001 rolled around, termite infestations had rendered both the Pinta, and the Santa Maria worthless. The ships had become unable to float on the sea. These two infested ships were moved onto unsightly concrete blocks located on a portion of open land within a shopping plaza. The Nina was still in the water, but had fallen into serious disrepair.

At the time, the American lawyer for the Spanish Embassy in Washington, James Gold, had acknowledged the failure of Corpus Christi’s local government to properly care for the replica ships. In early 2001, the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau took over management of the ships. A representative of the visitors bureau had been quoted as saying “The termites are holding hands. That is the only reason the ships are still standing up”. The termites caused millions in damage, and a rift existed between America and Spain for years afterward. Who would have thought that termites could cause a major international fiasco?

In your experience, what is the most expensive thing that a termite infestation destroyed?