Alumni lecture focuses on San Salvador, Columbus

Ron Shaklee

Ron Shaklee

“In Columbus’ Footsteps: The Search for San Salvador” will be presented by Ron Shaklee, Youngstown State University professor of Geology, on Tuesday, March 25, as part of the Alumni Lecture Series.

Networking begins at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of Tod Hall, with the lecture at 6 p.m. in the Trustees Meeting Room in Tod Hall.

Reservations are due one week prior to the program. The cost is $5 for Alumni Society members and $7 for non-members. Students attend at no charge. Hors d’oeuvres included. To pay online visit For more information, contact Heather Belgin in the Office of Alumni and Events Management at 330-941-1591 or

Shaklee, director of the University Scholars and Honors Programs at YSU,  earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in Geography from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the faculty of YSU in 1987, Shaklee served in various faculty and administrative roles at Mississippi State University and Southwest Missouri State University. He is an Army veteran, with the rank at discharge of Specialist 5, Image Interpreter.


Christopher Columbus

From a map perspective, the island of San Salvador literally fell off of the face of the earth following its pivotal role as the site of Columbus’ first landfall in the New World. The island was consigned to a cartographic limbo as the name, San Salvador, became associated with neighboring Cat Island. The island of San Salvador itself was not depicted on 16th century maps of the region. Eventually San Salvador reappeared on maps compiled early in the 17th century bearing some variation on the name, “Triangulo.” The Triangulo designation was used to identify the island on maps produced well into the 19th century. In 1685 the first map was published that identified the island as Watling’s Island. The Watling’s Island identity was retained until the island was officially re-designated as San Salvador in 1926, although 19th century British cartographers started to identify the island as San Salvador in the middle of the century, well in advance of the official name change. As the world celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landfall in the New World, cartographic convention had replaced the Watling’s Island identity with the San Salvador designation. This presentation provides an examination of the map history of the island that now bears the name of San Salvador.