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Monday, February 01, 2016

Anniversary of Agustín de Betancourt

Agustín de Betancourt y Molina (1758 - 1824)

In the church square in Puerto de la Cruz, is this statue of Agustín de Betancourt y Molina (born February 1st, 1758), who along with Tenerife and Guatemala's shared Saint, Hermano Pedro de San José Betancurt (born in Vilaflor in 1626), as well as others of Canary Islands descent still bearing the surname, can trace his ancestry back to the French explorer and conqueror of the islands of Fuerteventura and Hierro, Jean de Béthencourt, who had first landed on the island of Lanzarote in 1402.

Father of Modern Engineering

Betancourt was a prominent Spanish engineer, considered to be "the father of modern engineering" in both Spain and Russia, with work that ranged from steam engines and balloons to structural engineering and urban planning. Betancourt founded and managed the Spanish Corps of Engineers and the Saint Petersburg Institute of Communications Engineers. As an urban planner and construction manager, he supervised planning and construction in Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, Nizhny Novgorod and other Russian cities and was involved in significant projects, including the Moscow Manege and The Saviour Cathedral in Nizhny Novgorod. He reached the rank of General in the Russian army of Tsar Alexander I and was the first director of the Madrid School of Civil Engineering. He also visited England where he met Scottish steam engine pioneer, James Watt.

Holidays for Modern Engineers

You can actually stay on the very spot where Agustín de Betancourt was born, because the Hotel Monopol, which the bust is opposite, is built on the site of his birthplace.

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