This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Azores due to the possibility that someone arrived in the archipelago before the Portuguese discovered it.
The best-known story tells us that when Portuguese sailors ventured westwards in search of new lands, they came across a black island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – the island of Corvo, the smallest in the Azores archipelago. As they approached the northwest side of the island, they spotted what appeared to be, on top of a ridge, the silhouettes of a stone man riding a horse, which seemed to serve as a landmark for navigators.
Intrigued by this discovery, they tried to find out who built the statue and why it was there, but nothing was known and to this day nobody has been able to find out anything more about this stone construction.
The statue represented a man covered with a mantle, having only his head discovered. The whole statue already looked worn out, due to the erosion of the sea to which it was exposed. The man, riding his horse, had his right arm extended and his index finger pointed somewhere, many say he was trying to signal the path of the Americas, more specifically Brazil, which has not yet been discovered.
On the base stone of the statue, although hardly visible, some words were written: “Jesus, go ahead”.
Today the statue is no longer in the place where it was discovered because of King Manuel who, at the time of his reign, ordered a man to take the statue from that place. The statue has been removed, but during its removal, it has been broken into pieces. Even so, the pieces were taken to the king, but on the island of Corvo, you can still find the area where the statue was erected and its landmark, which was the reason why the first name of the island was – the island of Marco.
There are those who claim that this statue played a pivotal role in the discoveries because the man’s index finger of the statue helped the sailors to head towards the Americas. Many archaeologists believe that the sculpture was a fruit of Carthaginian or Phoenician origin and that these civilizations discovered the Azorean archipelago before the Portuguese.
Who will know its origin and reason for being? We don’t know, but the legend arouses curiosity, don’t you think?