Ozama ScStr - History

Ozama ScStr - History


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Ozama
(ScStr.: dp. 4,300 (n.); 1. 261'; b. 43'6", dr. 18'6" (mean); s. 9k.;pl.59;a.23")

Ozama, built in 1916 at the Detroit Shipbufldinz Co., Wyandotte, Mich., was acquired by the Navy on charter from the Atlantic, Gulf andWest Indies S.S. Line 24 December 1917 and commissioned the same day, Lt. Comdr. P. E. Crosby, USNRF, in command.

Fitted out at Norfolk as a mine carrier, Ozama cleared HamptonRoads for Scotland early in the new year, 1918. On 15 February she arrived in the Firth of Clyde with a cargo of mine laying equipment to be used on the North Sea BarraRe. On 3 April she returned to Norfolk and for the remainder of the war continued to ply the Atlantic to keep mine bases in Scotland supplied with their specialized equipment. Following the Armistice she supported elearanee operations in the North Sea, returning to Norfolk, finally, 28 January 1919. On 13 February she decommissioned and was returned to her owner.


Fortaleza Ozama Fortress, Santo Domingo

Erected in front of the mouth of the Ozama River, the Santo Domingo Fortress or Fortaleza Ozama Fortress is the first military construction in the Colony, and one of the World Heritage jewels in the Colonial Area.

The simple and solid construction was built by the Spaniards between 1502 and 1507 at the request of the governor Nicolás de Ovando, providing it with a Medieval style. However, during the following centuries the place was modified and extended until it became the interesting building that you can see today.

The main purpose of its construction was to defend the city from the attacks of British, Portuguese and French conquerors, as well as from the pillage of pirates.

The closer you get to the Fortress, the more you&rsquoll have the feeling of being in a real Medieval castle, formed by a highly functional architectural ensemble. Thus, the historic monument is made up by different relevant parts.

The first one is the Puerta Carlos III Gate, erected in 1787 during his reign and which gives access to the place. You&rsquoll also enjoy the Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo Statue, first chronicler of The Indies and warden of the fortress from 1533 to 1557.

You can also observe the Tower of Homage, named in honor of the Spanish conquerors. It is the most striking building in the complex because it looks like a 18-meters-tall Medieval castle with a waving Dominican flag.

Its construction started in 1503 during 1509 was used as the residence of the viceroy Diego Columbus, his family and the group of soldiers accompanying him. The tower was the place where Fernández de Oviedo wrote his famous work Historia General y Natural de las Indias (General and Natural History of the Indies). It also worked as a prison until the 20th century.

El polvorín is a square construction formed by 3 metres thick walls, dating from the 18th century. Its facade shows a coat of arms from the king Charles III and an alcove with the image of Santa Bárbara.

Two interesting elements of the construction are the shooting platforms. A &ldquolower&rdquo one, from 1570 with battlements along with holsters and another one from the 17th century considered to be &ldquohigher&rdquo.

It also stand out the Ruins of the first Work, the temporary construction used while the Tower of Homage was being built and where it can be seen the foundations of a large room and two smaller ones.

You can&rsquot miss the chance to visit the Garita de Santiago shelter o Santiago Fort or watchtower, the remains of the 16th century old fort that were also part of the building.

At the end of the 18th century, Spain sent a new regiment, so it was necessary to make room using part of the old wall. Moreover, new tunnels and dungeons where prisoners were locked up are still being discovered.

Nowadays, this interesting place is also used for school trips, artistic representations and various cultural activities.


Know Before You Go: Fortaleza Ozama

Skirting the fort down the Paseo Presidente Billini, sandwiched between the Ozama River and the fort itself, you can’t help but crane your neck up at this huge, towering symbol of colonial Spanish domination in the Dominican Republic. This is the Fortaleza Ozama.

Built in 1502, Fortaleza Ozama is the oldest colonial fortress in the Americas. Inside, you can climb a tower once used as a lookout for the real-life Pirates of the Caribbean, and see where Christopher Columbus once lived as a tyrant and was ultimately imprisoned for his crimes.

Situated in the historic Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, the 60ft-tall fort served as a critical military centre of power for four and a half centuries, both to defend the city from pirates and to defend brutal rulers from rebellion. The hulking ramparts are still in remarkably good repair. In fact, the fortress was so well built that it was used as a prison right up until the 1960s. After much-needed national reforms, Fortaleza Ozama was transformed into a museum and opened up for public tours.

It is taller than what you might expect for a 16th-century relic. But what you can see from this vantage point is just the outer wall of the fort. These hulking ramparts make it look much bigger than it is, and not by accident. The fort was built to intimidate the natives, and by its very size quell the thought of rebellion.

A brief history of Fortaleza Ozama

The fort was used as a military base and as the home of the Viceroys of the Indies, most famously Christopher Colombus. For about a decade around the turn of the sixteenth century, the Spanish empire granted Columbus rulership over all of the Spanish-controlled Caribbean, and he ruled as Viceroy and Governer of the Indies in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Spanish colonies on Hispaniola.

Columbus shared governance of Hispaniola with three of his brothers, and together, their rule was marked by tyranny and brutality. Accusations soon reached Spain that Columbus oversaw barbaric treatment of Hispaniola’s indigenous Taino peoples, including enslavement, mutilations and massacres, as well as mistreatment of rebellious Spanish colonists.

As Spain's first ruler in the west, and not being of Spanish origin himself, Columbus drew many complaints about forcing Spanish nobles to do manual labor in construction, exploration and gathering food. As a result, the Spanish Crown had Columbus removed as viceroy, arrested and held prisoner in Fortaleza Ozama until he could be transported in chains to Spain.

Later, Columbus was pardoned and allowed to resume his journeys to the Caribbean - just not as governor. He never returned to Santo Domingo. For an absorbing fiction based on Columbus’s journeys and his time in the Dominican Republic, have a look at the book 1492 by Mary Johnston.

After the Spanish left Hispaniola for good in 1795, Fortaleza Ozama and the island itself changed hands many times. The eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola now known as the Dominican Republic have been occupied alternately by France, Haiti and the United States. The fort was used as a military post and prison throughout centuries of changing rulership, and was still in use during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. During Trujillo’s 31-year-long dictatorship, Fortaleza Ozama became infamous for the detention and torture of political prisoners. After much-needed national reforms in the 1960s, Fortaleza Ozama was transformed into a museum and opened up for public tours.

Fortaleza Ozama, Santo Domingo

Photo: e2dan / Shutterstock.com

What you’ll see

Fortaleza Ozama stands where the Ozama river runs into the Caribbean Sea, and visitors can climb 60ft to the rooftop lookout of Torre del Homenaje (Tower of Homage), once used to look out for the real-life Pirates of the Caribbean. Looking down from the tower, you’ll see two rows of canons dating to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - Santo Domingo’s first line of defense against invading armies and pirates alike.

Today, though, there’s no pirates in sight. Instead, a climb up the tower will reward you with 360-degree views of the city. It’s a great vantage point to reflect on the legacy of colonial rule, looking out a modern city made up of people of Taino, Spanish and African heritage who united to declare themselves an independent nation.

Inside the fortress, visitors can stand in the very place where Columbus and his brothers condemned dissidents to death and dismemberment, the same place Columbus himself would ultimately be imprisoned. You’ll also see the squat, windowless El Polvorín (the Powder House), added to the fortress during the 1700s. Over the door to El Polvorín, look out for the statue of the patron saint of artillery, St Barbara. Outside on the fortress grounds, you’ll find a bronze statue of Spanish military historian Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, who was in charge of the fortress for a while during the 1500s.

Getting there

Fort Ozama is located on Calle de las Damas in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. The fort is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. The entrance fee is 70 pesos (roughly US $1.35) and multilingual guides charge about 200 pesos (US $3.75) for a twenty-minute guided tour. Photography is allowed. To find out about cultural events at the fort, check the Dominican Republic's Ministry of Culture mobile app MiCulturApp.

*Note that all indicative costs in US dollars were accurate at the time of writing based on an exchange rate of US $1 = 53.14 DR pesos


At the time of her death, Ozama was wearing her enchanted snakeskin boots that protected her from poisons and venoms and a gray woolen cloak. ΐ]

In 1353 DR ΐ] , Ozama met a young sorcerer Jarial and they quickly fell madly in love becoming fiancés. She convinced Jarial to travel with her to the ruins of Myth Drannor in search for a dark naga collector of magic named Preybelish who could lead them to the artifact called the Wizard’s Torc. Eventually the couple had a fiery argument over something trivial as Jarial renounced his love for the sorceress. In heat of the moment, Ozama ensorcered a pebble and threw it to Jarial's feet. The pebble grew and swallowed the sorcerer's lower torso, trapping him in the Dwarven Dungeons of the ruined elven city. Ozama left him with a riddle that was the solution to the curse, and despite Jarial's begging, she stormed off, leaving him alone within a dark and empty underground chamber. Ώ]

Ozama fully intended to return to Jarial after the man learned his lesson, but she met her doom in the Dungeons overwhelmed by monsters. Sixteen years later, in 1369 DR a group of adventurers fighting to stop the Cult of the Dragon's plans on corrupting Myth Drannor's mythal came across the entombed sorcerer and easily freed him. Jarial joined the group that saved him from the torturous existence, eventually finding Ozama's skeleton surrounded by perished monsters. ΐ]


The city is at the mouth of the Ozama River, on the Caribbean coast. The city has the Santo Domingo province to the east, north and west. To the south is the Caribbean Sea.

The eastern limit of the city is the Ozama River and the northern limit is the Isabela River, a tributary of the Ozama. The western limit is a long street, Gregorio Luperón Avenue.

The average temperature (25.7 °C) varies little in the city. December and January are the coolest months and July and August are the warmest. Some years, hurricanes affect the city because it is in the Caribbean where hurricanes are common from June to November.

The municipality had, in 2010, a total population of 965,040: 460,903 men and 504,137 women. The urban population was 100% of the total population. [3]

Santo domingo has a very diverse population, but it is mainly composed of blacks and mulattoes.

The city was first founded on the east side of River Ozama by Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Christopher, with the name of La Nueva Isabela (The New Isabela) La Isabela was a town founded on the northern coast of the island by Christopher Columbus. The name was soon changed to Santo Domingo.

After a hurricane in 1502 destroyed the city, the new governor of the island Nicolás de Ovando built it again but on the west side of the river and with the new name of Santo Domingo. [4]

Santo Domingo was the first capital of the Spanish colonies in the Américas. It became the starting point of most of the Spanish expeditions of exploration and conquest of the other Caribbean islands and the adjacent lands in the continent. [5] There are still many buildings from that time (16th century) and part of the old walls.

In 1930, the city of Santo Domingo was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane called San Zenón. Rafael Trujillo rebuilt the city and named it Ciudad Trujillo after himself. After his assassination in 1961, Ciudad Trujillo became again Santo Domingo. The 1966 constitution named the city Santo Domingo de Guzmán.

In 2001, the Santo Domingo Province was created with much of the area of the old Distrito Nacional ("National District"). With that division, many parts of the old city are now part of the Santo Domingo Province and not of the city of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. But they are still part of the metropolitan area of the city (the Greater Santo Domingo). The people that live in this Greater Santo Domingo are capitaleños (women are capitaleñas), even if they do not live in the National District.

Zona Colonial Edit

The old section of the city is known as Zona Colonial ("Colonial Zone") or Ciudad Colonial ("Colonial City"). The Colonial Zone, bordered by the Ozama River, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. Some of the old buildings in this zone are

  • Cathedral of Saint Mary, the first cathedral in America.
  • Alcázar de Colón ("Diego Columbus' Palace") where Diego Columbus, son of Christopher, lived when he was governor of the Spanish colony.
  • Monasterio de San Francisco ("St. Francis Monastery"), an church and place where monks lived (monastery) now is partially destroyed.
  • Hospital de San Nicolás de Bari ("St. Nicholas of Bari Hospital"), the first hospital in the Americas now is partially destroyed.
  • Palacio del Gobernador y de la Audiencia ("Palace of the Governor and the Court") now is a museum, Museo de las Casas Reales ("Museum of the Royal Houses").
  • Fortaleza Ozama ("Ozama Fortress"), the oldest fort in America.

Museums Edit

Santo Domingo has several museums, many of them in the Zona Colonial.

  • Alcázar de Colón ("Diego Columbus' Palace")
  • Naval Museum of the Atarazanas
  • Museum of the Casas Reales (colonial period)
  • Museum of Duarte
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of the Dominican Man
  • World of Amber Museum
  • Modern Art Gallery
  • National Museum of History and Geography

Parks and recreational areas Edit

Santo Domingo has various parks as the National Botanical Garden, the National Zoo and the Mirador Sur Park.

There are also many small squares as the Parque Colón ("Columbus Park"), in the Zonal Colonial and on the northern side of the cathedral and the Parque Independencia ("Independence Park"), just outside of the old western wall and where the Founding Fathers of the country (Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella) are buried.

There are eighteen universities in Santo Domingo. Established in 1538, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) was the first university founded in the continent it is also the only public university in the country.

Santo Domingo is home to the Leones del Escogido and Tigres del Licey baseball clubs of the Dominican Winter League. Estadio Quisqueya is the home stadium for both teams. Centro Olimpico Juan Pablo Duarte is the central sports complex of the city, at the center of the city.


References

Deagan, K. (2010). Strategies Of Adjustment: Spanish Defense Of The Circum-Caribbean Colonies, 1493–1600 . In First Forts (pp. 17-39). BRILL

Found, W. C. (2004). Historic sites, material culture, and tourism in the Caribbean islands . In Tourism in the Caribbean (pp. 152-167). Routledge

Roorda, E. (1998). T he dictator next door: The good neighbor policy and the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930-1945 . Duke University Press

My name is Edward Whelan and I graduated with a PhD in history in 2008. Between 2010-2012 I worked in the Limerick City Archives. I have written a book and several peer reviewed journal articles. At present I am a. Read More

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1894 Wrecked at Cape Romain, South Carolina [ edit | edit source ]

On November 23, 1894, the tug W.B. Congdon, picked up off the Georgetown Bar Captain Bennington and twelve men of the steamer Ozama, bound from Philadelphia to Charleston in ballast. Captain Bennington reported that the Ozama struck on Cape Romain shoals and stove a hole in the engine room compartment. The water quickly filled the fire rooms, rendering the engines useless. The steamer floated off the shoals soon after striking, and at 3 a.m. sank ⎙] in six and one half fathoms of water, ⎚] the Cape Romain light “bearing Northwest by West, half West, six miles distant.” ⎛] The crews took to the boats, saving only part of their clothing. The engineer with ten men went off to board the steamer Planter from Charleston but missed her and it was thought they landed on Romain beach. ⎜] ⎝] She was officially traveling in ballast, but because the death of Haiti’s president was considered imminent, ⎞] the timing was certainly right for her again carrying guns and/or a significant quantity of money for either shoring up the existing regime, or for financing an insurrection. Such money would have needed to be in gold, not paper.


Alcazar de Colón importance and history

Called by some as the Virreal Palace of Don Diego Colón. The Alcázar de Colón is a EPIC building built in the city of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, in times of colonization worthy of honor, for the authorities who came to the New World.

Who ordered the construction of the Alcázar Colón or the Viceregal Palace?

Began to build at the end of 1510, in a solar that is found located at shores of the river Ozama. King Ferdinand the Catholic was the one who ordered the construction of the Alcázar de Colón as a gift to Diego Colón. Already in 1512 was inhabited by Don Diego Colón and his family, who by then was serving as Viceroy of the Indies, third Governor of Hispaniola. First-born son of the so-called discoverer of the Americas, the navigator Christopher Columbus, the man who changed history.

Alcazar de Colon, It was the first building of the Spanish monarchy in America.

From Europe to America, from Spain to the Dominican Republic, Thus began the New World in The Colonial zone .

Europeans were the first to enter Atlantic waters moved by historical background, that prevented Europe from continuing to trade with Asia, especially China. It was the taking of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks on 29 may year 1,453 that forced Europeans to seek new routes through Africa and the West Atlantic Ocean. The Portuguese began their explorations bordering the coasts of Africa, which allowed them to settle some colonies on that continent. He was a young sailor of Italian origin, born in the city of sailors of Genoa, named Christopher Columbus. Who promised the court of the Catholic kings Queen Elizabeth I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, reach the Indies by the western Atlantic Ocean.

It was like this 3 August three caravels left the Port of Palos, arriving in America lands a 12 October when they made landfall in Guanahaní today Bahamas and later arrived in Cuba and Hispaniola thus resulting in what is known as the discovery of the New World.

Architecture, construction and materials used in the Viceregal Palace

The imposing building is a rectangular two-level construction, It has five arches in each level and an air of solemnity and sobriety, the main staircase is generously sized and U-shaped. In addition, has two staircases, one in the form of snail and the third which is smaller, on the ground floor the Maria Chapel of Toledo is recreated.

The colossal pantheon was built with coral stones, from the quarries of Santa Barbara. Also use limestone and wood, While its construction under the supervision of Spanish architects. The walls are approximately 85 cm in width and an area of 1.525 square meters. The main entrance is in late Gothic style and highlights an arc, framed by decorative motifs carved in stone.

The Alcazar de Colon is Columbus in the new world the only known residence of a member of the family making it a historical monument.

Protective walls of the Alcázar de Colón.

The Alcazar de Colon was the home for three generations of the Colón family, from 1512 up to 1577. Date on which was abandoned by the family Columbus, that I return to Spain for health reasons.

During the invasion of Francis Drake, in 1586, the quarterdeck was under siege and the pirates ended up looting it. Subsequently the abandonment that suffered significantly damaged its infrastructure.

With the passage of time and after several renovations, in 1870 it is declared a National Monument.

Importance of the Alcázar de Colón Museum

Currently the importance of the Alcázar de Colón museum lies in the mission of investigating and preserving the historical memory related to the Viceregal period in the Dominican Republic, to be able to guide Dominicans and foreigners about the historical importance of this museum and the memories that lie at its foundations.

TheAlcazar de Colon was the first house built of this type in Dominican Republic.

It is located in the Plaza Spain, at the northern end of the street Ladies. Facing the river Ozama, in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo.

Tourism in the Alcazar of Colon, What to do?

The Colonial Viceregal Palace in its museum offers you the opportunity to delve into the colonial history of the time in one of their 22 islands that make up the first level, full of typical utensils of the time. On the second level you will find a reception room, a small chapel and the bedroom or matrimonial bedroom of doña María de Toledo.

From outside the palace you can walk around and enjoy the architecture and construction of the time, of its walls and forts.

Or enjoy walking through Plaza España and delving through the colonial streets to other destinations such as The Fortaleza Ozama , The Primada Cathedral or Calle de Las Damas.

Experience of the team Dehovi:

Those destinations that involve monuments within its attractions are interesting and educational. Well, with them we travel through time to a story that we do not know and we try to imagine. How was life back then, as the citizens of the time were able to build this monument and at the same time it represented for them. Is the same sensation that is felt when these facing the alcazar. You can imagine the colonial era and try to get into how the first Europeans hardly took their first steps in America.

Being in front of more than five centuries of culture and history, in a monument that was silent witness of the history of America. Touring the Colonial area of the first new world Santo Domingo. To see the buildings and streets that make up this cultural treasure of humanity, It is a privilege for those who have the opportunity one day to know this destination and to be able to live in itself the history that its streets and buildings keep..

Alcazar de Colón how to get there:

You must go to the Calle Las Damas, Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. And in the first street of America you will find with this Palace colonial.

Alcazar Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm and on sundays it opens at 9:00 am until 4:00 PM.

The entry cost is 100 weights, price may vary on the date you visit, children with less than 8 years do not pay.

If you visit the museum take balls, roller skates, bicycle or anything else. Your children will thank you, having fun in La Plaza España an ideal place to play outdoors.

When visiting the Viceregal Palace of Colón we recommend you bring:


Fabled 19th-Century Shipwreck May Hold Gold Treasure

The wreck of a fabled 19th-century gunrunner that may also contain a treasure in gold has been identified off the coast of South Carolina.

The SS Ozama, a 216-foot-long (66 meters) iron-hulled steamship, had a colorful history, according to Discovery News. Launched in Scotland in 1881 as the Craigallion, the ship was active in the Caribbean Seas and helped build the Panama Canal.

The ship suffered a wreck in the Bahamas in 1885 and was rechristened Ozama after a river in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a frequent port of call. But in 1894, on its way to Charleston, S.C., the Ozama struck the shoals off Cape Romain, S.C. [Shipwrecks Gallery: Secrets of the Deep]

A New York Times report from 1894 describes how the wreck "stove a hole in the engine-room compartment. The water quickly filled the fire rooms, rendering the engines useless. The steamer floated off the shoals soon after striking, and at 2 a.m. sank in six and a half fathoms of water."

The captain and crew were saved, but the ship was declared a total loss.

Guns, gold and mutiny

Fast-forward to 1979, when the wreck of an unidentified ship was seen off the South Carolina coast during a magnetometer survey on other shipwrecks conducted by renowned underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence, WBTV News 13 reports.

"The secret is out. We've discovered the wreck of the SS Ozama," Spence wrote on his Facebook page.

But Spence said what "definitely has me excited" is the opportunity to find a bounty in gold and other treasure on the Ozama due to its checkered past in illegal smuggling operations. "Her colorful history is packed with events such as a mutiny and extensive gun and money smuggling to Haiti," Spence said, as quoted by Discovery News.

Indeed, a New York Times report from 1888 claims the ship was carrying "1,000 stands of arms, 3 Gatling guns and 500,000 cartridges to Cape Haytien [a Haitian port] … doubtless for the use of Hyppolyte's soldiers," referring to the president of Haiti.

President Florvil Hyppolyte and his supporters were at the time locked in a power struggle for control of Haiti. In poor health, Hyppolyte's supporters desperately needed arms and money to fend off political rivals, so it's likely the Ozama was carrying gold as well as arms.

Smuggled treasure

"Newspaper accounts said she was traveling in ballast, without cargo," Spence said. "Ships reporting themselves as traveling in ballast often carried money and even other cargo. When you are smuggling, the smuggled cargo often isn't listed or is intentionally mislisted."

On one trip to Haiti, the Ozama was seized by authorities, according to WBTV, sparking a diplomatic row until the captain of a U.S. warship threatened to bomb the city of Port-au-Prince unless the ship was released (it eventually was).

And Spence would own any treasure found on the wreck. "Yes I would own it," he said during an interview on Night Talker Radio Network. "This ship had a long history of smuggling and of carrying large amounts of money, and I became the owner of it last year whenever I laid claim in federal court to this wreck and other wrecks that I found off Cape Romain, South Carolina. But I had no idea when I laid claim to it what it was, and it was just recently that I discovered its identity."

He added, "I believe she may have a considerable amount of gold on it and that's what I'm hoping. And we're going to be digging into her and hopefully raising a great deal of gold."

Spence's exploration of the wreck, which will begin after mapping and ensuring the hull's integrity, may yield historical treasures beyond gold. "While reports of the ship's cargo and passengers' effects make the Ozama wreck intriguing, it is also a virtual time piece of history that has not been disturbed by careless salvage," Spence told Discovery.


Fortaleza Ozama

Next we visited Fortaleza Ozama, the oldest surviving European military structure in the Americas. This is the Puerta Carlos III Gate, dating from 1787.

A statue of Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés in front of the Tower of Homage.

The tower was built from 1502 to 1505 using forced labour from Taino Indians and black slaves. It has walls two metres thick, making it invulnerable to cannon balls until the late eighteenth century. Its purpose was defence against Dutch, English and French seaborne raiders, and against rebellions by Taino Indians and black slaves. Oveido was a writer and historian who was warden of the Fortress from 1533 until 1557.

I would guess, originally a barracks.

A view from the Fortaleza of the Ozama River, which gave the Fortaleza its name.

In 1493, following his first voyage, Christopher Columbus was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies. After his brother Bartholomew founded Santo Domingo, this became his capital until he was removed by the Spanish crown in 1500.

A commission between 1498 and 1500 found Columbus and his brothers culpable of extreme brutality to both settlers and Indians. On his return from his third voyage in 1500, he was arrested and sent back to Spain in chains. He was later released but not restored as Governor although his son Diego became Governor from 1520 to 1523.

There were numerous large scale rebellions by Taino Indians in the early years but they had no defence against Spanish weapons. There was also rebellions from black slaves who also escaped and established Maroon settlements in the mountains. By the mid-16th century, settlers needed large armed bands to travel through the countryside.

After 1561 all shipments to Spain left from Cuba and with the settlement of the American mainland, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) declined.

In 1586, Sir Francis Drake captured the city, laid waste to a third of it, and extracted a ransom for its return to Spanish rule.

In 1605 the authorities forcibly resettled their settlers on the north coast of Hispaniola to be closer to Santo Domingo, enraged by large scale trade with the Dutch who at that time were fighting Spain for their independence. This proved disastrous. Half the settlers died of starvation or disease, over 100,000 cattle were lost and many slaves escaped. It also encouraged the French to establish a presence in the area.

In 1655, Oliver Cromwell attacked Santo Domingo but was repulsed and successfully occupied Jamaica instead. However, in 1697, after thirty years of intermittent conflict with French settlers, Spain ceded the western half of the island (now Haiti) to France.

The situation deteriorated further at the end of the eighteenth century. What is now the Dominican Republic was ceded to France in 1795, invaded by Britain in 1796, by black slaves in rebellion from Haiti in 1801 and France in 1802. The Republic of Haiti declared independence in 1804 and invaded in 1806. The British invaded again in 1809 and the Spanish returned later that year.

In 1821, following the establishment of a liberal government in Spain, Dominican leaders declared independence but their hold was tenuous and Haiti invaded in 1822. Hispaniola was then united under Haiti until 1844.

The Dominican Republic gained independence in 1844 but there were many years of war with Haiti trying to regain control. In 1861, the economy was so fragile that Spain was invited back to be the colonial master.

This was a mistake. Spain proved to be repressive and insensitive and this led to the War of Restoration. In 1865 Spain left and there was a Dominican Republic again, though most of the cities were in ruins and political organisation was fractured. Some stability returned during the dictatorship of Ulises Hereaux, for most of the years from 1882 to 1899. In the six years after he died there were four revolutions and five Presidents.

The United States, concerned instability might affect their economic interests, invaded and occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924..

Trujillo became dictator from 1933 to 1961, with the support of the US. He imprisoned and tortured political prisoners here in the Fortaleza Ozama.

Outside the Fortaleza now, in the streets.

The end of the Trujillo era was followed by an elected left wing government, a military coup and then a civil war. The US intervened because the left wing democrats looked like winning. They invaded and occupied from 1965 to 1966.

This is the house of Diego Caballero, who moved to Santo Domingo in 1517, when his cousin was mayor. He later became treasurer and military governor of Hispaniola. Then he retired from his offices and for a year made a living capturing and enslaving Indians off the Venezuela coast. Then he made a career as a ship owner, retiring eventually to Seville.

Since 1965 there has been a succession of democratic governments of varying persuasions, no coups and no invasions.

This little fellow outside Caballero’s house looks like a gargoyle from a church or a cathedral. Perhaps from a building damaged by Drake’s cannon balls.

This is a night-time view of the Monastery of San Franciso, the first monastery built in the Americas, sacked by Drake in 1586 and damaged by earthquakes in 1673 and 1751. We will return here in a later post.


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