Columbus’ Third Voyage

Columbus’ brother, Bartolome, had been left as governor of La Isabela. A Spanish fugitive who had fled to the South Coast discovered gold. Bartolome, realizing that its production would bolster the costly expedition’s waning popularity at the Spanish Court, transferred the settlement of La Isabela to the south coast and named it Santo Domingo de Guzman, after the University of the Apostle, Santo Domingo de Guzman in Spain. (The French until 1804 called their one-third of Hispanola—Saint-Domingue.)

Three years later, in 1499, Alonso de Ojeda sailed to Hispanola with a new charter granted by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela. With him was the sailor and map maker Amerigo Vespucci, after whom the new world eventually became named.

The early discovery of gold in Santo Domingo brought numbers of adventurers to the island, and the unfortunate natives (so-called Indians) were forced to till the fields, toil in the mines, and perform every sort of manual labor for the Spaniards. Accustomed to picking food from trees, and doing some fishing and planting to live, the enslaved natives died like flies, as the colonists kept a constant stream of gold flowing into the coffers of the Spanish crowd.

Succeeding Columbus as Governor of Santo Domingo, Ovando proved to be an able administrator extending the limits of his jurisdiction beyond the capital city area.

To escape an invasion of ants and termites, he transferred the city of Santo Domingo to the Western bank of the Ozama River. Here we built the first stone building in the new world—the tower of Homage, today known as the Ozama Fortress.

Columbus died in Spain in 1506, and his remains were later placed in the Cathedral in Santo Domingo.

His son, Diego, after two years of petitions and a favorable marriage to Maria de Toledo (a relative of the King), succeeded to the hereditary titles bestowed upon his father.

Diego replaced Ovando as governor of Hispanola. After living for a short time at the Ozama Fortress, he began to construct his own palace today called the Alcazar, or Prince’s house.

 

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