Sto. Domingo

Historical Data

The 5th of December, 1492, Cristoph Columbus discovered the island, that the taínos inhabitants commonly called "Haiti" which means "mountainous earth".
The first improvised settlement Colomus established in the North coast, using the rest of the shipwrecked carabel "Santa Maria", and called it "Navidad" ("Christmas") and during his second visit from Spain in 1493 he established a second establishment more towards the east and gave it the name "La Isabela". "Navidad" had been destroyed by the indigenous population which, after an initial friendly welcome, violently responded against the intolerance and abuses of the invaders who showed an excessive interest in the gold of their land.

After trying to establish colonies on the North coast, it was finally decided to establish first firm settlement on the South coast: Santo Domingo. From there on, the whole island carried the name "Santo Domingo" as long as the Spaniards dominated it and it became to be in the first stronghold of the Spanish Empire in the "New World".

Cristoph Colombus and his brother Bartholome were the first governors of the colony, followed by Francisco de Bobadilla, who was named main judge and Royal commissioner by the Spanish crown in 1499. After putting Colombus in prison and sending him to Spain, where Queen Isabel ordered his liberation, in 1503 Bobadilla was replaced by Nicholas de Ovando, who assumed his positions.

It was during the government of Ovando that the development of the island began and because his successful reforms he received the title of "Founder of the Spanish Empire in the Indians".

Many buildings still testify of these first days and a visit to the Amber Factory as well as to the Amber World Museum in the colonial city of Santo Domingo will give ample opportunity to enjoy a "journey into the colonial history of the Caribbean".

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