Dominican Republic During Spanish Colonization

By | November 9, 2021

Christopher Columbus reached the island on 5 of December of 1492 berthing on the north coast and baptizing with the name of the Spanish. [2] As the exploration of the north coast continued, the caravel Santa María ran aground on a sandbar; With the remains of the ship, the Fort of La Navidad was built. Then Columbus ordered to return to Spain, leaving a garrison of 39 men under the command of Diego Barros Arana.

Upon returning to the island during his second voyage in 1493, Columbus found that the Fort of La Navidad had been attacked and destroyed by indigenous people in charge of the cacique Caonabo. Before leaving for Spain again, Columbus left his brother Bartolomé Colón in charge of the colony who, as advance of the island and after several attempts to establish colonies on the north coast of the island, founded in 1496 the first permanent settlement in the New World: Santo Domingo, established on the southern coast. Under Spanish sovereignty, the entire island was named after Santo Domingo. Signs of the presence of gold – the lifeblood of the nascent mercantilist system – and a population of Treatable natives who could be used as laborers combined to attract many Spaniards during the early years. Most of them were mere adventurers who, initially at least, were more interested in quickly acquiring wealth rather than settling in the new land. From the beginning, relations with the aborigines, whom they mercilessly mistreated, deteriorated. Moved by the seizures of food and other extortions, and the abuse of their women, the Indians rebelled but were definitively dominated in 1495.

Santo Domingo became the first outpost of the Spanish Empire. Initial expectations of abundant and easily accessible gold reserves proved to be totally wrong; Even so, the island became important as the seat of the colonial administration, a starting point for the conquests of the continental lands and as a laboratory for the development of government policies for the new possessions. Columbus, who ruled the colony until 1499, tried to put a stop to the most serious abuses to which the Indians were subjected by prohibiting expeditions against them and regulating the informal taxes imposed by the colonizers, who, due to the limitations imposed by these milder forms of exploitation, began to actively oppose to Columbus. Due to his demands, Columbus devised the distribution system for the distribution of land and Indians; Under this system, a large portion of land was granted in perpetuity, without any obligation to the authorities, along with the services of the Indians who lived there. The distribution system did not improve the situation of the Indians, and the Spanish crown changed it by instituting the encomienda system in 1503.

According to topschoolsintheusa, the disorders and uprisings caused on the island by the growing disgust felt by the settlers towards Columbus motivated the Spanish Crown to send Francisco de Bobadilla to take charge of the situation, who ordered as a first measure the arrest of Christopher Columbus and his family, who were shipped to the Peninsula. He was succeeded by Nicolás de Ovando and later by the admiral’s son, Diego Colón, between 1509 and 1523.

During the conquest and colonization the first Bishopric (1504), the first Captaincy General, the first Viceroyalty and the first Royal Audience (1511) of all America were established; The first church (Ermita del Rosario, 1496), the Hospital de San Nicolás (1503) and the first cathedral (1530), among other buildings, were built. Through the 16th century, Hispaniola enjoyed a good economic and social position; the first conquering expeditions started from the island. But since the end of that century and after the conquest of the great territories of North America and South America, the island was being relegated to the background, sinking more and more into poverty and oblivion.

The Taino population of Santo Domingo fared very poorly under colonial rule. The hard work demanded of the Indians and the deprivations they suffered demonstrated the artificial nature of the encomienda system, which effectively operated under an honor system due to the lack of effort on the part of the Spanish authorities. Aboriginal population suffered a great decline, a fact that led the Spanish to import a large amount of slave labor from Africa. Both in the plantations and in the isolated villages of the runaway slaves there was a strong miscegenation between indigenous people and Africans and also Europeans. [3] From this miscegenation together with the social, cultural and economic dominance of the European element, the basis of the national identity of the Dominicans will be constituted. [4] It is estimated that the population of the colony in 1777 was 400,000 people, of which 100,000 were Europeans and Creoles, 60,000 Africans, 100,000 mestizos, 60,000 Zambos and 100,000 mulattoes. [3]

Dominican Republic During Spanish Colonization