Founding of Santo Domingo

Map of Santo Domingo 1750 Map of Santo Domingo 1750 Jacques Nicolas Bellin, Centro Leon

Meanwhile, on the island, Governor Bartholomew had complied with orders to sail up the Ozama river, where "he saw that it could accommodate small ships, but also 300 ton ships or larger, and determined it would be a great port; this gave him and those with him great pleasure." On the east bank, he began the construction of a fortress and the founding of the oldest Christian city in America, the only one in the XV century, and "the one he named Santo Domingo because the day he arrived there was Sunday and, by chance, day of Saint Domingo."12 It was August 4th of 1496. Don Bartholomew left in Santo Domingo a small garrison and departed to explore the neighboring Xaragua or Jaragua cacicazgo, ruled by the cacique Bohechio along with his sister Anacaona, that had been married to the ill-fated Caonabo. Near the Neiba river, they were met by "an army of endless Indians with bows and arrows...Don Bartholomew signaled that he came in peace, to visit and sit with them." This said, the Christians were received splendidly with an assortment of dishes for dinner, corporal games, and a great areito with the participation of around 30 of the cacique's women, who dressed with only naguas, "kneeled in front of the Don with great reverence fanning him with palm fronds and branches that they carried in their hands."13