National Geographic : 1930 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Clifton Adams INDEPENDENCE MONUMENT EXPRESSES THE SPIRIT OF THE REPUBLIC In the Paseo de la Reforma stands this magnificent memorial. The four seated bronze figures of the socle are Peace, Law, Justice, and War. The marble group just above them represents the apotheosis of Independence. Surmounting the shaft, winged Victory greets the day of freedom with a laurel wreath in the right hand; in the left a broken chain, emblematic of the bondage which held the beloved country for three centuries. "But the Monte de Piedad is more hete rogeneous," observes the teacher of his tory. "It has regular auctions and you get better bargains. It resembles the Monte di Pieta of Italy, set up in Rome in the time of Leo X to save the poor from usurious lenders (see page 49). "This busy official pawnshop was founded as a form of public charity by a Mexican muleteer who grew rich from a silver mine. On pledged articles it will loan any amount from a few cents to sev eral thousand dollars. It is a public con venience; people of all classes enjoy its aid, with no loss of caste or self-respect. It works like a bank, except that the col lateral on loans may be anything from a blanket or a sewing machine to field glasses, pianos, or an eight-cylinder car." "Yes, that's interesting," insists the man from Chicago. "But it's the age of this place, and all that's happened here, that makes me stop and think. I wish I could have marched in with Cortez. The Az tecs gave him a solid gold dish as big as a wagon wheel, all set with precious stones. The more you study this place, the more you marvel." Mexico City is astonishing. Bustling, modern capital of a great Republic, its span of life still links our civilization with a culture of long ago. Well may the tourist exclaim and the student remain to ponder!