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ST. DOMINGO PRODUCTS.
PAST AND PRESENT;
WITH A GLANCE AT HAYTI.
Br SAMUEL HAZARD,
AUTHOR OF CUBA, WITH PEN AND PENCIL.
MAPS AND NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS.
NE VW YOR K:
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISITERS,
18 7 3. Jp' 1 '65
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
IItARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
ORIGINAL OF THIS
DISTINGUISHED PRESIDENT OF CORNELL COLLEGE, N.Y.,
IN PLEASANT MEMORY OF
DAYS OF AGREEABLE COMPANIONSHIP,
AS WELL AS OF SOME ROUGH EXPERIENCES AMID NOVEL AND
BEAUTIFUL SCENES IN SANTO DOMINGO,
E Sbse Pages are a Bebicateb
BY HIS SINCERE FRIEND,
" ^ -' t H E **,,tlh.,r ct t],,..,* i,.^ -":-\ ,j
il' o'irct i t l
'-f the ikt,,*;iall of st t .2
'vour in nmakiit thlii \'l, nie: is '-' -' -z
to bring together in a continuous and -
Scondensed form, for the benefit of the
general reader, the facts connected with the history of the
Island of St Domingo from its discovery by Columbus to
the present time, illustrating, as much as possible, its scenes
and people by his own sketches, and photographs and en-
gravings gathered from various sources.
At a time when the masses of the people of the United
States were watching with interest the action of their repre-
sentatives in Congress on the question of the admission
of St Domingo into the Union, the author was surprised to
find how little was really known, either of the present or
the past of that historic isle; and in endeavouring to obtain
this information for himself, he was astonished to find the
great lack of books (at least accessible, and in the English
language) giving connected information of an island that
had for so long a time, and in so many ways, played such
an important part in the history of the world.
Joining afterwards, on the island, the Commission sent
out by the United States Government, the author, after
almost entirely circumnavigating the island, and traversing
its length and breadth, was amazed to find so magnificent
a part of the New World so generally uncultivated and
even uncivilised, after having been the first chosen spot of
settlement of the discoverers from the Old World.
Having seen the comparatively advanced condition of
affairs in the sister isle, of Cuba (which is not nearly so
highly favoured by Nature), and comparing it with the
present deplorable state of St Domingo, the curiosity of the
author was roused to know, if there were not other reasons
than the reputed one of climate why an island so attractive
and valuable in every way as St Domingo certainly is,
should remain for so long a time unsettled and uncivilised.
Coming to London, and consulting almost every early
PREFA CE. ix
writer of note upon the Island of St Domingo found in the
treasures of the British Museum, the author is satisfied
that the past history, especially of the Spanish part of St
Domingo, is little known to the general reader of to-day,
and that in that history is found ample reason for the pre-
sent condition of St Domingo and Hayti-a condition, he
thinks, arising only from the fact that this beautiful island
has simply been the victim of misfortunes," brought
upon it by its being successively the battle and disputed
ground of the Spaniards and Indians, the Buccaneers, the
English, the French, the Spaniards, the Haytians, and,
finally, the Dominicans themselves.
"The truth is not always to be told," is an old adage,
and it is possible that the notes on Hayti may give offence
to some; but the author does not see that anything is to
be gained by glossing over the present utterly hopeless
condition of this part of the island, simply in consideration
of the feelings of a few over-sensitive patriots," because,
even in the definition of this word, they and the writer
might not agree.
He has been surprised, however, to find,'on reading over
the accounts of the different writers who have visited Hayti
since the expulsion of the French, how perfectly justified
are their remarks and experiences by the condition to-day
of affairs in that Republic (?). The author is sure no one
more ardently hopes to see a change for the better, as well
in the government as in the people of Hayti, than he, feel-
ing as he does, that not only will the people of Hayti be
benefited, but so will be the great causes of humanity and
As there may be readers who would like to follow out
more in detail the subject treated of in this book, the author
has given a list of the most valuable authorities which he
has consulted at the British Museum, and to which he shall
make little or no further reference in his work, though he
confesses he has used them freely, even at times quoting
their very language. Notwithstanding the number of these
writers, they all go over pretty much the same ground in
detached accounts, except some few who give greater de-
tails, but only in matters peculiarly local, and that would
not be interesting to the general reader, who, the author
hopes, will find in the present volume all that can interest
The map accompanying the work is compiled from the
one ordered by the Dominican Government in 1858, from
the surveys and data of Baron Schomburgh and the French
engineer Mendez, the latest and most reliable chart of the
entire island yet published.
I'AMs, October 1872.
Its Extent, Location, Physical Peculiarities-The Aborigines-Their
Habits, Customs, &c., 1
Landing of Columbus-First Settlement-Columbus's Return on
Second Voyage, and Founding of the First Permanent Colony-
Expeditions to the Interior-Settlements there-Rapid Advance
of the Island-Columbus's Hard Treatment-Ovando's Rule, 18
THE EARLY SPANIARDS.
Their Treatment of the Natives-Ovaudo's Rule-Habits of the
Spaniards-Negro Slaves-Rapid Decrease of the Aborigines-
Sugar-making-Diego Columbus and his Successors-The War of
Enrique, and Final Peace, 33
THE DECLINE OF ST DOMINGO.
Failure of the Mines-Expeditions fitted out-Depredations on Spanish
Vessels-Depopulation of the Island-Neglect of Spain-Its Colo-
nial Policy-Drake's Attack-The Capture and Ransom of the
THE BUCCANEERS AND EARLY FRENCH.
Origin of the Buccaneers-Their Manners and Customs-Settlement of
Tortuga, and their Extension from thence under the Auspices of
the French-Settlement of St Domingo, 68
THE JOINT OCCUPATION OF THE FRENCH AND SPANIARDS.
The Boundary Question-Poverty of the Spaniards-Advance of the
French-Successful Agriculture-Tobacco and Indigo Culture-
Cocoa-Trees-The Introduction of the Coffee-Plant-General Im-
provement of the whole Island-Character of the Inhabitants-
French Luxury-Discontent of the Planters, 89
THE REVOLUTIONS OF FRENCH ST DOMINGO.
Mode of Government of the French-Discontent of the Planters-
Their Desire for Independence-Aspirations of the Mulattoes-
Og6's Attempt at Insurrection-The Revolution in France-Its
Effects on St Domingo-Contentions among the Whites-Insurrec-
tion of the Slaves-Participation of the English in the Affairs of
the Island-Their Defeat, and Success of the Blacks-Cession of
the Island to the French, 113
The Independence of Hayti-Toussaint takes Possession of the Whole
Island, giving it a Constitution-Affairs under Toussaint-Napo-
leon Attempts to Restore the Island to the French-Details of Le
Clerc's Expedition-Toussaint's Capture-Rebellion against the
French-Cristophe-Dessalines-Final Failure of the French, and
their Capture by the English Fleet-Dessalines Marches against
the Spafish Part-His Discomfiture-His Cruelties in that Part
of the Island-Becomes Emperor-His Cruelties and Butcheries
of the Whites-Conspiracy against Him-His Death, 133
THE WHOLE ISLAND UNITED UNDER ONE GOVERNMENT.
Dessalines' Successors-Cristophe and Petion-Civil War-Peace
between the Two Chiefs-Troubles in the Spanish Part-The
Expulsion of the French-Co-operation of the English-Restora-
tion of the Authority of Spain-Rebellion against her Rule-Death
of Cristophe and Petion-Boyer's Rule-Allegiance of the Spanish
Part to Him-Condition of the Island-French Claims-Boyer's
Decline-The Republic of Dominica, .. 154
Arrival in the Tropics-First Sight of Land-Turk's Island-Salt Keys
-The Haytian Shore-The Dominican Coast-Arrival off Puerto
Plata-Its Harbour-Funny Method of Going Ashore-A Night
Visit-Historical Notes of the Town-Its Bay-Situation-Trade
-People, .. 172
BAMANA AND THE SOUTH COAST.
Cape Samana-Balandra Head-The Bay of Samana-Santa Barbara-
General Account of Samana Bay-The Caves of San Lorenzo-
Savanna la Mar-Voyage round the South Coast, 195
ST DOMINGO CITY.
The United States Commission-First Impression of the City-Visit to
Baez and his Cabinet-Historical Notes of the City-Its Present
Condition and Appearance-Trade and Future Prospects-Schools
-The Mausoleum of Columbus-Dominican Amusements-San
Carlos and the Exterior of the City-The Harbour as a Port-
Well of Columbus-Mahogany Trade-Labourers, 212
VICINITY OF ST DOMINGO CITY.
Natural Caves-The Caves of Santanna-The Boundary Line-Beata
and Alta Vela Islands-Neyba-Salt Mines-Sugar Plantations-
Azua-Ocoa Bay, 235
THE HISTORY OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, INCLUDING THE SPANISH
Organising a Party-Our Route-Crossing the Ozama-Tropical Forests
-Lunching "al fresco "-First Night Experiences-La Tosa-San
Pedro-Natural Farm-Bad Roads-Apartments-The Country
People-Rough Experiences-Grand Scenery-Sillon de la Viuda
-Cevico-Ride to Cotuy, 274
Its Appearance, History, and Location-The Yuna River-An Old
Church, and Novel Mode of Advertising-A Village Cemetery-A
First Regular Meeting to Receive the Commissioner-Courtesy of
the People-Swimming a River -The "Royal Road "-Hu-man-i-
cu-Old Cocoa-Trees-Domestic Institutions-Woman's Rights-
Reception at La Vega-The Town and its History-Hospitable
Attentions-The only Steam-Engine-The Grand" Cathedral
-An Official Breakfast-The Famous Hill Santo Cerro-Superb
View of the Vega-The Old Town of La Vega-The Valley of
Constanza-A Paradise-Arrival at Mocha-An Attractive Town
-Pretty Girls-Handsome Cemetery-Eloquence of the Commis-
sioner, and some Plain Talk, 296
FROM MOCHA TO SANTIAGO.
Improved Roads-Fine Lands-Reception at Santiago-First Sight of
the Yaqui-Description of Santiago and the Gold Regions, 319
FROM SANTIAGO TO MONTE CRISTO.
The Puerto Plata Road-Fording the Yaqui-Its Bottom Lands-The
Vega again-A Dangerous Insect-Polite "Guajiro "-Tobacco
Culture-A Dry Country but Fine Climate-The Amina and Mao
Rivers-Some Tropical Habits-Swimming the River at Guayubin
-A Faro Bank and Hotel-Multiplicity of Generals-A Long
Ride through a Sterile Country-The Agave Species-Monte
Cristo-Left Alone on the Island-Manzanillo Bay-The Country
South of the Yaqui-The Uninhabited Region-Crocodiles and
THE NORTH COAST LINE FROM MONTE CRISTO TO PUERTO PLATA.
Lack of Water-Advantages of Irrigation-Tobacco Preparation-
Dominican Soldiers and Haytian Battles-Country Hospitality-
Used-up Horses-Fresh Start-The Puerta de los Hidalgos "-
Bottom Lands of the Coast-Impromptu Cooking-Old Isabella-
Laguna-Domestic Economy-A Long Ride-Played-out Horse-
The Road from Santiago to Puerto Plata-The Requeros-Rough
Accommodations-Bad Road to Puerto Plata-Arrival there'and
JOURNEY TO HAYTI.
"Cosa Dominica"-Dauphin Bay-Poor Accommodations-Tropic
Night at Sea-A Cuban Horror-Cape Haytian from the Sea-
First Experiences in Hayti-Haytian Officials-Value of Haytian
Currency-Advantage of being Supposed a United States Commis-
SThe Paris of the West Indies-Population, Commerce, &c.-Ruins of
French Civilisation--Beautiful Views-Fear of American Encroach-
ments-Duplicity of Officials-Arbitrary Government-Trip to
Millot-Scenes on the Road-Arrival at Sans Souci-Strange
Treatment-Polite Officials-" Taking" the Citadel-Cristophe
the Emperor-Horrible Cruelties-Views of the People-Return
to the Cape, 402
HAYTI FROM THE DEPARTURE OF BOYER IN 1843 TO THE ADVENT OF
SAGET I 1870, 423
COASTING THE ISLAND.
Passengers and Tropical Mode of Travel-Coast Scenery-Port de Paix
-Tortuga Island-St Nicholas Mole-Bay of Port-au-Prince--
The Town-Odd Appearance-Lack of Hotels-Suburbs of Port-
au-Prince-Pretty Country-Houses-Old French Places-La Coupe
-Road-Making-Haytian Soldiers-Feeling about Annexation-
Noble Conduct of the United States Minister-Aiding the Domi-
nican Revolutionists-Visit to the Interior-Sugar Plantations-
Lake Azuey-A Storm in lieu of a Dinner-A Long Ride in Bad
A General View of St Domingo-Some Reflections on its Future-
Views of President Grant-Climate-Insects-Seasons-Lands-
Emigrants-The Population and its Character-Finances-Conces-
sions and Grants-Hints to Emigrants or Travellers-Dominican
Manifestoes- General Statistics-Treaty for Fixing the Boundaries
-Notes on the Mineral Products of the Island, 466
PRODUCTS OF SANTO DOMINGO, Frontispie.
THE NORTH COAST OFF PUERTO PLATA, To face Page 4
OLD SANTO DOMINGO CITY,. .. 62
ENTRANCE TO COFFEE ESTATE, 108
TOWN AND BAY OF PUERTO PLATA, 176
PLAN OF SAMANA BAY, 195
A TROPICAL MORNING, 197
SOUTH COAST-LOS LLANOS, 207
SANTO DOMINGO CITY, 212
CAVES OF SANTANNA, 239
PARASITES-A ST DOMINGO BROOK, ,,. 282
VIEW FROM SILLON DE LA VIUDA ,. ,, 287
THE VEGA REAL FROM THE SANTO CERRO HILL, 311
THE RIVER YAQUI, ,, 321
CACTII COUNTRY, NEAR MONTE CRISTO, 339
FLOWERING ALOE, 351
MONTE CRISTO BAY, 352
NEGRO HABITATIONS, 68
CONUCO OF PLANTAIN AND TOBACCO, 384
TOWN AND BAY OF THE CAPE, 402
PALACE OF SANS SOUCI (MILLOT), ,, 415
LIST OF SMALL ENGRAVINGS.
Portrait of Columbus, 7 Plan of Tortuga, .77
Caribbean Skull, 9 Port de Paix, 83
Drums, 10 Preparing Tobacco, 92
Canoe (Oviedo), .11 Preparing Indigo, 93
Huts (Oviedo), 12 Old French Sugar Mill, 95
Wine-making (Benzoni), 13 Old French Plantation, 98
Idols, 13, 14 Toussaint L'Ouverture, . 134
Figures cut in the Rock, 14 Jean Pierre Boyer, . 164
Curing the sick (Hakluyt, after Salt Keys, 173
Benzoni), 15 Going Ashore,. 175
Hammock (Oviedo), 17 Loading Cargo, 175
Sketch by Columbus, 19 Street in Puerto Plata, . 177
The Caravels,. .20 The Old Fort,. 178
The Agouti, 22 Dominican American, 181
The Coati, 23 Market Square, 183
A Spanish Attack (De Bry), 26 Washing Clothes, 184
A Spanish Master (De Bry), 35 Horse, .186
Spaniard in Litter, 35 Water-carrier,. .. 186
Sugar-making (De Bry),. 38 The Manati, 191
Suicides (Benzoni), 39 Cabo Viejo (Old Cape), 192
Gold-mining (De Bry), 40 Cape Samana, 196
Punishment of Negroes (De Balandra Head, 197
Bry), 45 Santa Barbara, 198
House of Don Diego Colum- Donkey, .202
bus, 47 Meeting in Arsenal Square, 209
Hatero, .. 50 A Weary Traveller,. 211
An old Street in St Domingo The Ozama,-Ruins of Colum-
City, .. 60 bus' House, 213
Sir Francis Drake, 61 President Baez, 215
A Buccaneer, .71 Plan of St Domingo City, .219
A Boucan, 72 Old Part of St Domingo,. .220
Merry-making, 74 Business Street, 221.
Sir Henry Morgan, 75 A Dominican School, 223
xx LIST OF SMALL ENGRAVINGS.
The Mausoleum of Columbus, 224
Cathedral Door, 226
Old Franciscan Monastery, .232
St Domingo Ferns, 236
Entrance to Cave, 238
Manuel Seybano, 242
Crossing the Isabella, 277
Sand-box Fruit, 278
A Natural Farm, 79
Old Negro, 282
A Native Hut, 284
Sensitive Plant, 288
Royal Plain, 290
Severino Gonzalez, 292
The "Commandante," .293
Plaza and Old Church, Cotuy,. 297
Cemetery at Cotuy,. 299
Meeting at Cotuy, .300
" Camino Real," 302
"La Fuente," 304
The Cocoa, .305
The only Steam-Engine in St
La Vega, 308
La Vega Cathedral,. 309
Mocha Cemetery, 317
Vicinity of Santiago, Tobacco
Market Square of Santiago .323
Gold-washing (Oviedo), 328
A Guajiro, 341
The Vega Real, 343
Gigantic Cactus, 344
The Cotton Tree, 350
The Iguana, 353
Primitive Sugar Mill, 369
Sugar Boilers,. .369
Pass of the Cavaliers, 371
Wild Hogs, 374
Parasitical Vines, 376
Played out, 380
On the Bajabonita, 381
Point Isabella, 385
Dauphin Bay, 392
Cape Haytian from the Sea, .393
The Nondescript, 394
Haytian Waiter, 398
"Bord de Mer," 404
A Mercantile House, 405
Old French Place, 407
Squatters in Ruined Places, .411
Haytian Coast, 444
St Nicolas Mole, .445
United States Minister's House, 447
A Street in Port-au-Prince, 450
Bay of Port au Prince from the
House of the United States
Countrywoman and Picca-
Uncles and Mammies, 460
THE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SANTO DOMINGO
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fried, Leyden, 1727.
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- L'Univers Pittoresque, Paris, 1849.
- or an Exact Account of the West Indies, especially the Spanish Pro-
vinces, by N. N. Gent, 12mo, 1655.
Annales des Voyages (Malte Brun), Paris, 1808.
Anonymous-Les Principes de Revolutions en Haiti, privately printed
(by General Cinna le Conte, a grandson of Dessalines).
Antonio del Monte y Tejada-Historia de Santo Domingo, desde su
Descubrimiento hasta Nuestras Dias, Madrid, 1860.
xxii BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST DO.MINGO.
Archenholtz (J. M3. Von)-History of the Pirates, Freebooters, &c., of
America, translated by G. Mason, 1807.
Ardouin (B.)-Etudes sur 1'Histoire d'Haiti, &c., 11 vols. Paris, 1853-61.
Atkins (John)-Voyage to Guilfea, Brazil, and West Indies, 8vo, calf,
BARBE DE MARBOIs-Etat des Finances de Saint Domingue, Paris,
- Observations Personelles A 1'Intendant de Saint Domingue, Paris,
Barcia (And. Gonzalez)-Historiadores Primitivos de las Indias Occiden-
tales, fol. Madrid, 1749.
Beard (J. R.)-The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, 1 vol. 12mo, illus-
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Beckford-Descriptive Account of the Island of Jamaica, with Re-
marks upon Sugar-cane Culture, Lond. 1790.
Bellin (N.)-Description Geographique des Debouquemens qui sont au
Nord de 1'Isle de Saint Domingue, Versailles, 1773.
Benzoni (Girolamo)-La Historia del Mondo Novo, Venetia, 1565.
Bergeaud-Stella-Roman Historique d'Haiti, Paris, 1859.
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the War with Spain, Lond. 1755.
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St Domingue, Paris, 1730.
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xxiv BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST DOMINGO.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST'DOMINGO. xxv
Hakluyt's (Richard) Voyages, History of the West Indies, &c., Lond.
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Pierce Sanders, Agent of the Haytian Government, Lond. 1816.
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Histoire G6nerale des Voyages par Dumont D'Urville, and others,
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Historic der Boecaniers op Vreybuyters van America, Amsterdam
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4 vols. Lond. 1828.
JACKSON (Dr Robt.)-Treatise on the Fevers of Jamaica, with Observa-
tions on the Intermittent Fever of America, 1791.
- Febrile Diseases, 1820.
Jefferys (Thomas)-Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions
in North and South America, fol. Lond. 1760.
- A Description of the Spanish Islands, &c., Lond. 1762.
Juan (Don George, Capt. in Spanish Navy)-A Voyage to South
America, translated, Lond. 1807.
- de y Ulloa-Noticias Secretas de America, 4to, Lond. 1826.
LA ABMERICA-Cronica Hispano Americana, Madrid, 1854.
Labat (R. P.)-Nouveau Voyage aux Iles .de F'Amerique, 8 vols. Paris,
xxvi BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST DOMINGO.
La Croix (Pamphile, Lieut.-General Barno)-Memoirs pour Servir a
1'Histoire de la Revolution de St Domingue, 2 vols. Paris,
Laet (Joan de)-Novis Orbis, Leyden, 1630.
La Harpe-Histoire G6nbrale des Voyages, Paris.
Las Casas-Relation des Voyages et des Decouvretes que les Espagnols
out fait dans les Indes Occidentales, avec le Relation Curieuse des
Voyages de Sieur Monteauban, Capitain des Flibustiers, Amster-
La Vega (Pedro de la)-Cronica de los Frayles, &c., de Sant Hieronymo,
- (Manuel de)-Historia del Descubrimiento de la America, Mexico,
L'Espinasse de Langeac (N. de)- Colomb dans les Fers, a poem, Lond.
*and Paris, 1782.
Llorente (Juan Ant.)-Annales de la Inquisicion, &c., plates, Madrid,
Lyonnet (Le C.)-Statistique de la Partie Espagnol de Saint Domingue,
MACGREGOR (John)-The Progress of America, 2 vols. Lond. 1847.
Mackenzie (C., British Consul)-Notes on Haiti during a Residence in
that Republic, 2 vols. Lond. 1830.
Madiou (Thomas, fils)-Histoire d'Haiti, 3 vols. 8vo, Port-au-Prince,
Malenfant (Colonel)-Des Colonies, et particulidrement de St Domingue,
Marles (M. la Croix de J.)-Histoire Descriptive et Pittoresque de St
Domingue, Tours, 1852.
M1tral (Ant.)-Histoire de 1'Expedition des Francais a Saint Domingue,
Metral (Antoine)-Histoire de 1'Expedition Militaire des Francais A
Saint Domingue, with Notes by Isaac, the son of Pierre Toussaint.
Monardes-Historia Medicinal de las Cosas que se Traen de Nuestras
Indias Occidentales que sirven en Medecina, woodcuts, Seville,
Montgomery (James)-The West Indies, a poem, Lond. 1814.
Moore (J. H.)-A New and Complete Collection of Voyages, 2 vols. fol.
illustrated, Lond. 1785.
Moreau de Saint Mery-Description Topographique, Physique, &c., de la
Partie Francais-de 1'Ile de St Domingue, 2 vols. Phil. 1798.
-- Partie Espagnol, 2 vols. 1796.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST DOMINGO. xxvii
Mosely (Dr Benj.)-Treatise on Tropical Diseases and on the Climate of
the West Indies, 8vo, Lond. 1803.
Muiioz (J. B.)-Historia del Nuevo Mundo, 4to, Madrid, 1793.
NAVARRETE (AM. Fernandez de)-Colleccion ineditos para servir por la
Historia de Espafia, Madrid, 1842.
Navarrete (M. Fernandez de)-Colleccion de los Viages y Descubri-
mientos, &c., 5 vols. Madrid, 1825.
Nicolai (Eliud)-Navigationes in den West und Ost Indien der Holland.
Engellandischen Compagnien, Munchen, 1619.
Nicolaus-Syllacias Letter, translated into English by the Rev. John
Mulligan, New York, 1859.
Nuix (El Abate Don Juan)-Reflexiones Imparciales sobre la Hu-
manidad de los Espafioles en las Indias, traducida, &c., Madrid,
OEXMELIN (A. O.)-Histoire des Aventuriers des Boucaniers et de t.
Chambre des Comtes etablie dans les Indes, 2 vols., maps and
plates, Paris, 1688.
Ogilby's Accurate Description of the New World, with the Remarkable
Voyages thither, &c., plates, 1671.
Osler (Edward)-The Voyage, a poem written in the West Indies,
Oviedo (Gonzalo Fernandez de)-Cronicas de las Indias, various
editions; La Historia General de las Indias, &c., 1547, 1535,
PHILOPONI (H.)-Nova Typis, Navigatio in Novum Mundum.
Pinkerton (John)-General Collection of Voyages and Travels, illus-
trated, Lond. 1809.
Placide Justin-Histoire de PIle de Hayti, Ecrite sur les Documents
Officiel et des Notes Communiques par Sir Jas. Baskett, Paris, 1826.
Poey (Andres)-Article on Antiquities of St Domingo in Transactions of
the American Ethnological Society, vol. iii. p. 1, New York, 1845.
Ponce-Recueil des Vues des Lieux Principaux de la Colonie de St
Domingue, Paris, 1791, to accompany M. St Mery's work.
Port-au-Prince-Production Historique, Report des Gardes Nationals,
4to, Port-au-Prince, 1792.
Purchas-His Pilgrimes, 5 vols. Lond. 1625.
RAINSFORD (Marcus)-Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti,
&c., 4to, maps and plates, 1805.
Raynal (G. T.)-Histoire Philosophique et Politique des Etablissements
xxviii BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST DOMINGO.
et du Commerce des Europeans dans les Deux Indes, 10 vols.
Relacion Verdadera del Horrible Huracan que Sobrevino a la Isla St
Domingo, Aug. 15, 1680, Madrid.
Remy (Saint)-Solution de la Question Haitienne, Paris, 1854.
Petion et Haiti, M4moires pour Servir h 1'Histoire de Haiti, 1851.
L'Ouverture, Chef des Noirs Insurgees & St Domingue, Paris, 1850.
Memoirs, &c., 1853.
Revue des Deux Mondes (Various Articles), Paris.
Robertson (Dr William)-History of America, 4 vols. Lond. 1812.
Charles the Fifth, edited by W. H. Prescott, Lond. 1857.
Robin' (C. C.)-Voyage dans 1'Interiefir de la Louisianne, St Domingue,
&c., Paris, 1807.
Rochefort (Poincy de Louis)-Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Iles
Antilles, &c., Rotterdam, 1658.
Rogers (Samuel)-The Voyage of Columbus, a poem, Lond. 1812.
Roselly de Lorgues-Vie et Voyages de Cristophe Colomb, 1 vol. 8vo
illustrated, Paris, 1862.
SAINT DOMINGO CONSTITUTION, St Domingo, 1854.
-- Cuentas Gin6rales, 1848.
-- History of the Island of (attributed to Sir Jas. Baskett), Lond. 1818.
Actos Legislativos, &c., de la Republica Dominicana, St Domingo,
- Essai sur 'Histoire Naturelle de 1'Isle, Paris, 1776.
- Dios, Patria, y Libertad, a pamphlet, St Domingo, 1855.
Sanchez y Valverde (Don Antonio)-Idea del Valor de la Isla Espaiiola,
San Domingo-Annexation of, pamphlet, anonymous, New York,
Santo Domingo-Report of the U. S. Commission of Inquiry to, Wash-
Schoelcher (M. V.)-Des Colonies Frangaises, Paris, 1842.
Schomburgk-The History of Barbadoes, Lond. 1847.
- Notes on St Domingo, in Proceedings of British Association for
Spain-Ordenanzas Reales del Consejo de las Indias, Valladolid, 1603,
and Madrid, 1585.
-- (Church of)-Historia y Origen de las Rentas de la Yglesia de
Espaiia, Madrid, 1828.
ToBAcco-Storia Distincta y Curiosa del Tobacco, &c., Ferrra, 1758.
Trollope (Anthony)-The West Indies, Lond. 1860.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ST DOMINGO. xxix
VARNHAGEN (Francisco ad de)-La Verdadera Guanahani de Colon,
Santiago de Chili, 1864.
Vastey (Baron de) Essai sur les Causes des Revolutiones et des Guerres
Civiles de Haiti, Sans Souci, 1819.
Le Systame Colonial Devoil6, Cape Henry, 1814.
Reflexions Politiques sur les Noirs et les Blancs, &c., Sans Souci,
WALTON (W.)-Present State of the Spanish Colonies, including a par-
ticular Account of Hispaniola, 2 vols. Lond. 1819.
West India Sketch-Book, 2 vols. 12mo, Lond. 1834.
- Directory, Lond. 1869.
Whitehouse (W. F.)-Essays on Sugar-Farming in Jamaica, 1843.
Whittier (John G.)-Poetical Works, Lond. 1869.
Wimpfen (Baron de)-Reisen nach St Doming Erfurt, 1798.
NoTE.-There have been at times also innumerable Pamphlets pub-
lished on Hayti by refugees and others, of which, though glanced at by
the author, he does not deem it necessary to include in the above.
Nymphs of romance,
Youths graceful as the fawn, with rapturous glance
Spring from the glades, and down the green steeps run
To greet their mighty guests, 'the children of the sun.'"
SANTO DOMINGO-Its Extent, Location, Physical Peculiarities-
The Aborigines-Their Habits, Customs, &-c.
F IVE days' good steaming from New York, or about
twelve from Land's End, England, lies in the South
Atlantic a famous 'island-famous in ages past, and to be
celebrated in the time to come, as the cradle of the New
World "-St Domingo.
Notorious for its misfortunes and those of its inhabitants
S in many decades of years, it had in the past almost lost its
existence in the political world; and the names even of St
S Domingo and Hayti were held by many intelligent people
to be those of two separate countries, until the efforts of the
Republic of St Domingo to find a place of safety and pro-
tection among the United States of America has attracted
attention to this almost forgotten yet historic isle.
Probably no spot on earth, take it all together, and look-
ing at it in its natural aspects, can be found more lovely;
and it is safe to say, probably no extent of territory, the
world over, contains within itself, under proper auspices, so
many elements of prosperity, worldly success, and happi-
ness as the Island of St Domingo.
Many circumstances serve to render the history of this
island peculiarly interesting to every intelligent mind, for
here we have realized, in almost every part, the actual exist-
'- ence and daily life of Columbus; here we have the place
r first colonised in the New World by Europeans-the start-
ing point of that civilisation which, spreading itself out in
the New World, is now penetrating to those Indies of which
the Grand Admiral" thought this very island was a por-
tion ; here we have also the spot where was first inaugurated
the beginning of African slavery in the Western World,
as well as the real movement that has served to end it.
Upon this spot has been wielded the power of almost every
European Government, the blood of whose children has
been lavishly poured forth upon its soil.
Though fire and sword, cruelty, persecution, and blood-
shed have traversed this noble isle in almost every part, and
often hand-in-hand, yet to-day it rests upon the bosom
of those tropic seas, as beautiful, majestic, and fruitful
in all its natural gifts as when Columbus first discovered
it, waiting only the assistance of law and sound government,
accompanied by intelligence, industry, and enterprise, to
take its place in the political arena as one of the most
favoured of states. Lying in the Atlantic Ocean at the
entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, second of the Great Antilles
to Cuba in size only, Santo Domingo yet, by its position and
natural advantages, ranks first of all the beautiful islands
in these waters; and though to-day impoverished and a
beggar, yet she will prove, under proper care, such a pre-
cious jewel to the power that may be induced to take her
under its protection, as many kings would be glad to place
in their crowns.
The territorial extent of the whole island, from its ex-
treme eastern point to its most western cape (Tiburon), is
ITS LOCATION. 3
about 400 English miles; and the extreme breadth of its
widest part nearly 180 miles-the area within its bound-
aries, exclusive of the adjacent isles, being of about the
same extent as Ireland, or 25,000 square miles.
Of this territory, the negro Republic of Hayti occupies at
the western end something less than one-third the whole
extent, the remainder being nominally under the control
of the Dominican Republic.
Situated in 18" 20' north latitude, and in longitude 68 40'
west from Greenwich, St Domingo has for near neighbours
Cuba, from which it is distant about 70 miles south-east;
from Jamaica, 130 miles north-east; and about 60 miles
west-north-west of Puerto Rico; possessing all the advan-
tages and few of the disadvantages of those three islands.
Such is the peculiar formation of this magnificent land,
that within its boundaries is found almost every variety of
climate; while in the character of its soils and vegetation,
it is equally varied. This fact is due to certain peculiarities
of its position, and to the singular manner in which its
principal mountain ranges are placed.
These consist generally of long chains, of which there are
two principal ones, stretching the whole length of the island,
their general direction being from east to west. From these
principal ranges, which on each side leave a space nearly
equal between them and the coast, but which do not always
run parallel to one another, go a number of secondary
chains, which, running in different directions, divide the
land between into valleys as various in depth as extent; and
these valleys are again divided by hills and ridges of dimen-
sions as various as are the valleys they divide, so that the
secondary chains and ridges appear like so many suppor-
ters given by Nature to the principal mountains.
The secondary chains that run from the sides of the prin-
cipal ones towards the sea, divide the intermediate space
into plains of various figures and extent; and these plains
are subdivided and sheltered by other ridges, which, going
4 SANTO DOMI.NGO.
sometimes even to the beach, serve them as a sort of bound-
aries or ramparts.
The two great chains of mountains rise as they advance
from the east; but this progressive elevation does not con-
tinue for more than forty leagues, after which the heights
remain the same for a considerable distance. They seem
to widen as they approach the west, till, coming to the
middle of the narrow part of the island, they narrow
again, still preserving their height, until, in fact, towards
the western part, the mountains are almost piled on top of
each other. For this reason, seen at sea, the whole island
appears completely mountainous.
But in this mountainous form lies the very secret of its
great fertility, for these mountains act as immense reser-
voirs, whose waters, by means of innumerable rivers, are
afterwards borne in every direction. They are the barriers
erected by Nature to repel the violence of the winds, to
temper the rays of a scorching sun, and to vary the tem-
perature of the air.
With occasional exceptions, all these mountains are
covered with vegetation of some sort, but principally of the
most valuable kinds of trees, the wood of which is used in
commerce; and though the summits of some raise their
rocky peaks bald of trees or vegetation, yet the majority are
covered with mould, rich in the accumulated vegetable
manure of centuries of decay.
For the general reader, it will suffice to make himself.
familiar with the names of only the two principal ranges of
mountains, the longest of which is the most southern;
beginning at the extreme eastern end of the island, and
running nearly through its centre, it ends near Dondon in
the Haytian part, thus dividing the Dominican portion
into two districts, the North and South. This range is
familiarly known as the Cordillera or Cibao range.
Nearly parallel, and to the north of the Cibao, extends
the great range known as the Monte Cristo mountains;
'-7- -.- -_- ." ''::.7 - .. "_^ -^ *i, '- 1^ : ': ^ -; a' ^ ^ ^ ^
____. _:_-- _- : _
- . --' ., ,
"'* "- - 'I
-* ... -t -" -- -*- : ---- -- ":- *"--.- --_- ---C.." ,.,. "
----- ." 5- -.. -" -
- -',, .,:~ "-_ - -;--- ": -- .... I .... -.--.,.. ".,I
S'"-- *-- - -_ - -.,,, ; , -- - ,
--- -.- ---- -... ..-, .-'-- -- -.4 ,
. ... ---- '-' kt- '; ', ., _'" _. --"-'- --.-------_-_ .--__-_- .. -.-,- .-___,. .._,'
- :' -- - --i.' :. -*: :: 2 --,--- v '
.....__. _..--7- ------'--
. ... -- -: --- ."L - "- -. .. .' ..
. ._. ..- ,.... _^.. ..
.- -- -' --". ~-~--~ -~ ~i~ '" -. " ,.."- -, ., -
ii,--i.-- , .;-~---~~~- 1 ;-.. -- .#.-~
PHYSICAL FEATURES. 5
beginning at the bay of that name, and running almost
parallel with the line of the north coast, it finally ends in
the peninsula of Samana.
Between these two ranges lies probably one of the most
fertile, beautiful, well-watered plains or valleys in the world,
-the famous Vega Real," or Royal Plain of Columbus.
The valleys of the Dominican part are more numerous
and- of greater extent than those in the Haytian, while
the mountains of the former are notably rich in valuable
mines and minerals; the climate and soil being equally
varied throughout the two portions.
Having given thus a casual glance at the general physical
peculiarities of the island, we shall be better able to enjoy
a journey over it, especially after glancing at some of the
principal events of its history.
The Dominican Republic having, by a vote of its people,
expressed a desire to annex itself to the United States, ap-
plication to this effect was made by the Dominican authori-
ties in 1869, and after much discussion in the national halls
of legislation, a commission was appointed by the United
States Government to proceed to St Domingo, and investi-
gate the condition of affairs on that island and report thereon.
This commission, sailing from the United States in the
American man-of-war Tennessee, January 17, 1871, reached
the island at Samana Bay, January 24.
For his own purposes, as well as to act as an independent
newspaper correspondent, the author left New York on the
1st day of February 1871 in the steamer Tybee, the only
steam-vessel that keeps up communication between the Re-
public of St Domingo and the United States. The voyage,
begun in the bitter weather of a Northern winter, was with-
out any event of interest to the general reader, and he can-
not do better, therefore, than occupy the time in reading
over with me a few chapters of the history of the famous
island for which we are bound.
Those of us who had been in the tropics before, looked
6 SANTO DOMINGO.
forward to the time when we should once again breathe the
delicious air of the balmy clime of the Antilles ; for there
seems to be something particularly fascinating about the
tropics, as well to Governments as to individuals: and we
find it the same with both; having tasted of the delights
of the tropic clime, there remains always a desire to renew
either acquaintance or possession once made therein.
Looking back to the period when the New World was first
discovered, we see, in the histories of the most prominent
nations of the time, the intense desire of their rulers to
become the possessors of domains described invariably in
such glowing terms by the subjects sent out on voyages of
discovery to those new and wondrous lands comprised in
the general name of The Indies;" desires which, being
fulfilled, gave to the monarchies of the Old World, in almost
every case, colonies and possessions in the Western World,
some of which to this day, notwithstanding changes in
government, domestic trouble, and long and bloody foreign
wars, still remain attached thereto.
Turning over the pages of the ancient chroniclers, we find
they all agree in their descriptions of the flowery lands,
uniting as they all do in using the most glowing language,
as well as the most highly-coloured hyperbole, in their ac-
counts of these new countries.
Even those adventurers who came from the sunny lands
of the South of Europe, and who, it might be supposed, were
well familiarised to the charms and novelties of the azure
skies, gorgeous colouring, and luxuriant vegetation of the
tropics, are in nowise behind their more phlegmatic brethren
of the North in their glowing eulogies of the new Paradise."
Reading some of the descriptions of the great Columbus
himself, written to his benefactors under the influence of
his first impressions of the West Indies, we seem rather to
be reading the warm and glowing descriptions of romantic
youth, than the staid, cautious relation of a man of mature
life, such as he is described to have been at this period; and
COL UMB US.
as we scan the outlines of the picture that seems more likely
to be a true likeness than many of the others of him, we look
in vain in the features of the calm, dignified man before us for
the writer of such lines as these concerning St Domingo:-
"I swear to your majesties there is not in the world a
better nation nor a better land; they love their neighbours
as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle,
From the portrait in the gallery of Paolo Giovo (born at Como in 1483),
who had a beautiful collection of portraits of the distinguished men of his
time, and who always considered this as representing with fidelity the
features of Columbus.
8 SANTO DOMINGO.
and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they
are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy."
When Columbus, traversing, in his first voyage in Decem-
ber 1492, the narrow channel that separates Cuba from St
Domingo, came in sight of the latter island, he found a
land even more beautiful in his eyes' than that of Cuba, in
the description of whose shores he had already almost ex-
hausted the language of panegyric; and of the actual supe-
riority of St Domingo-in every respect he gave practical
illustration by founding a colony on its north coast, giving
to the island the name, it seems, in honour of his adopted
country, of Hispalola, or Little Spain, imagining that it
resembled the most favoured provinces of Andalusia."
As to the number of the original inhabitants found on
this island at the time of its discovery, the authorities of
the time differ in placing the total at from one to three
millions; but of the appearance, manners, and customs of
the natives they all fortunately pretty nearly agree.
Columbus himself states, that sending a party of men to
one of the villages, now thought to be Grosmorne, in Hayti,
they found it to consist of nearly a thousand houses, showing
that there were at the time towns of some extent.
The original inhabitants were a mild and peaceful race,
recommending themselves to Columbus by their sweet-
ness of temper;" of rather tall and graceful form, but,
on the part of the men, of hideous visage, with nostrils
wide and open, and teeth badly discoloured. Their skin
was of a yellowish brown colour naturally, but from the
habit of anointing their bodies with "roucou," and other
extracts of vegetable matter, to protect the skin from the
attacks of insects, it had a reddish appearance.
The women were considered as rather comely in face as
in form, it being related that they took great fancy to the
Europeans; and the Spanish chronicles are filled with
romantic episodes of the connections formed between the
natives and the adventurers.
Both men and women were abundantly supplied with long
black hair on their heads. The females of mature age alone
wore clothing, consisting of a simple skirt of cotton cloth
around the waist, and extending to the knees; while the
men, young girls, and children were usually perfectly nude.
The shape of head peculiar to these people was produced
by artificial means, that forced almost entirely away the
forehead. This was brought about by the mothers, who
took care to hold the head of the child strongly pressed
between the hands, or two pieces of flat board, while the
children were yet newly born; "from which," naively says
an old writer, when the children grew up, their skulls
became so hard and compressed, that the Spaniards fre-
Caribbean skull, after Gall.
quently broke their swords in two when they attempted to
cut open their heads."
They all seemed possessed of a phlegmatic temperament,
the men especially inclined to melancholy; and it is related
they ate very little food, and that of the simplest nature, a
peculiarity noticed among their descendants to-day. A crab,
a few roots or vegetables, sufficed to nourish them; but they
were not endowed with much physical strength, and yet
there were many long-lived people among them.
They did no work, passing their lives in the greatest idle-
ness; they danced a greater part of the day, and when they
10 SANTO DOMINGO.
could do that no longer, they slept. They had no hopes, de-
sires, or ambitions, and some writers say they were without
passions; but the account others give of their habits of in-
dulgence, of the plurality of wives, and of their fierceness
in conflict when roused, show that this was an error.
They had no history, no writings, naught but traditions,
upon which have been generally conjectured the. theories
of the authors of the time; their songs alone
gave idei, of these traditions, and to these
they danced, the accompaniment being the
HI noise made by beating on a tambor or drum
I ] ii of peculiar construction, made of a hollow
cylinder of wood, entirely closed except an
opening in the side, and this drum was at
n"""s. times beaten by the principal man or chief.
The same instrument, somewhat varied in shape, seems to
be often used by the Africans to-day in Cuba.
These dances were of various kinds; sometimes the men
were ranged on one side, the women on the other; some-
times they began one by one, until the whole assembly were
on their feet. Reading the account of these people in the
early writers, one is not surprised to learn that they were a
listless energy-lacking people, for they committed the gross-
est sensual excesses; they danced until they could dance no
more, and falling upon the ground, they intoxicated them-
selves with the fumes of tobacco, which they produced in a
peculiar way. Upon some half-burning branches they
spread some leaves of the tobacco-plant not yet quite dry,
then they took a tube made in the form of a Y, the foot of
which they placed in the smoke, and its two arms in their
nostrils, inhaling through it until they were intoxicated by
the fumes of the tobacco, when, prostrated upon the ground,
they remained in a state of stupefaction, from which they
recovered utterly inert and feeble; the Cacique alone being
carried from the scene of these orgies by his women to a
bed or hammock.
Polygamy seemed to be the custom, and the women had
charge of the funeral ceremonies of their husbands, having
the privilege (?), if they desired, of putting themselves to
death on the bodies of their deceased spouses.
They seem to have had no implements or tools of any kind,
if we except a sort of hatchet, made of stone, with which
they dressed their canoes or piraguas, which they made ex-
clusively out of trees by burning out the trunks, and to get
the tree down, a fire was built round the base of it until
it toppled over. These canoes were peculiar in shape, differ-
ing from those of the Indians of North America, and yet
were very serviceable in the usually placid waters of the
islands, being propelled by paddles, and occasionally by a
small sail of cotton cloth.
The habitations of these people were in accordance with
the mild character of their climate, their houses being sim-
ply huts of various dimensions, constructed of the bamboo,
roofed with thatch, or roofed and walled with the palm
bark or leaf. These huts contained usually but one room,
and were always only one story in height, though some of
the better cabins had in front a portico, which seems to
have been considered amongst them a mark of wealth or
In the gardens, if they can
be called such, of their habi-
tations, the owners grew a /'
few fruits and vegetables,
including the maize or o
Indian-corn, of which latter V/
Benzoni says they harvested
two crops a year, and from V
its grain they made, in the
rudest manner, a kind of '. ':'.
bread, apparently similar to '
the "corn dodgers" of the ,';
southern United States. _--
Benzoni's description of
the wine made also from the IIt. (Oviedo.)
Indian-corn is not calculated to encourage a taste for that
the part of
for, he says,
at one period i F.
of the manu- 'i
facture, was ~ I,
masticated by .
who, putting .,
it in their -. -i
mouths,slow- --, I t "'-: -
ly chewed it, : -
with an effort,
coughed the material out upon a platter or leaf, from whence
it was thrown into a jar with the other mixture, and
Curiously enough, this method of wine-making prevails
to-day among some of the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
The natives used also another
kind of bread, called cassava,
made from the manioc or yuca
root; and many of their customs,
as described, are similar to those
of the people of the interior of the '
The wonderful fertility of the
soil, in those early days, may be
judged from the fact that the only
implement used in its cultivation i.,. Y
was a pointed stick, burned hard
in the fire, with which holes were idol.
14 SANTO DOMINGO.
made in the ground, into which were placed the seeds of
the few plants they needed to cultivate.
The same products brought forth then
by the bountiful hand of Nature are
still poured out in lavish profusion, al-
most unaided by the hand of man.
The religion of these islanders was
the worship of idols, cut out of stone,
in -the rudest manner, to represent
grotesque animals or human beings,
the name of these gods being zemes.
One of their traditions was, that the
sun and moon came out of a cavern of
their isle, and were made to enlighten
the world; to this cavern the natives
made pilgrimages; one of these had
Idol. an entrance, it is related, near Dondon,
in the northern part of Hayti; and
St Mery says, when he visited it, as late as 1789, remnants
Figures cut in the rock.
of rude sculpture on the walls of the grotto, and idols,
were yet to be seen there; while traces of the offerings
brought for the gods have been found in many of the
caverns in the island.
The special ceremony seems to have been one appointed by
the Cacique, calling all the people together on a certain
day; and they, joining in procession, with the Cacique at
their head, resorted to the temple, where were the gods and
the priests or butios," being accompanied in their march
Curing the sick. (Hakluyt after Benzoni.)
by the beating of drums and tambours. Offerings were
made of various kinds, often amid the wildest cries and
noises; and others," says Benzoni, "put sticks down
their throats when they vent before the idols, so that their
gods might see that they had nothing bad in their hearts or
stomachs when they vomited."
The priests acted as doctors, using plants in lieu of
drugs, making particular use of tobacco in most cases,
which they administered to the patient until he was
stupefied, and upon returning to himself he was considered
The original name of the island was Haiti, which among
the natives signified high ground; and in the eastern
part they had another name, Quisqueya, signifying mother
of the earth; while, in the western part, it was called
Babeque or Bohio, which signified land of many villages
At the time of its discovery, it was divided into five large
divisions, each under the government of a Cacique (a name
equally applicable to a chief or a province), and each of
these divisions was subdivided into minor provinces.
The government was despotic, though it seems to have
been mild in its execution of authority, except in extreme
cases, as in robberies, where the offender was impaled to
death. The government of the principalities was hereditary,
but if a Cacique died without children, his estates passed
to his sisters rather than his brothers, for the reason, as
they held, that the children were more likely to be of pure
The following were the five districts, viz.:-
Magua, in the Indian dialect signifying realm of the
plain," its capital being where was afterwards built the old
town of Concepcion de la Vega, in the interior of the island;
its chief was Guarionex.
Marien had its capital in the vicinity of Cape Haytien or
Frangais, its chief being Guacanarie.
Higuey had its capital in the present village of the same
name, so renowned in the annals of superstition of the island,
the Cacique Cayacoa having it under his command.
Maguana had its capital where now is San Juan, the
Cacique being the famous Caonabo, so celebrated in the sad
but romantic history of these people.
Xaragua had its' capital in the plain of the cul de sac
in the Haytian part, where was at one time the old town
of the same name. Bebechio was its chief.
Though the island was thus subdivided, there appears to
have been but one race upon it, unless the theory that some
authors have raised, that those in the western part, from
being more warlike and savage in their mariners, were of a
distinct race: but the same language, with some varia-
tions, seems to have prevailed.
This language, says Charlevoix, was not rude or uncouth,
but was easy to learn, and some of their words were after-
wards incorporated in the dialect of the island. From their
word'canoa came cannot (canoe); from d' uracane (hurricane),
ouragan; while not only was the word d'amacha (ham-
mock) adopted, but the article itself found its way into
general use by the new-comers.
"lWhen first Columbus dared the Western Main,
Spanned the broad gulf, and gave a world to Spain,
How thrilled his soul with tumults of delight,
When through the silence of the sleepless night
Burst shouts of triumph! "
THE CONQUEST- Landing of Colfumibus- First Settlement-
Columbus's Return on Second Voyage, and Founding of the
First Permanent Colony Expeditions to the Interior-
Settlements there-Rapid Advance of the Island-Columbus's
Hard Treatment-Ovando's Rule.
AT daybreak, on the morning of the 6th of December
1492, Christopher Columbus found himself a short
distance from the north-west coast of the island of Hayti;
and at vespers of the same day he entered a bay on the same
coast, which, in honour of its being the fete day of San
Nicolas, he called by that name, and which it has retained
up to the present time.
A drawing, said to have been made by Columbus, at-
tempts to give an idea of his first arrival off the island.
It suggests, however, but two ideas, that the country was
hilly and that the inhabitants went naked; but his written
descriptions give a very accurate idea of the country. In
fact, the traveller of to-day, with these in his hand, will
need no better guide to the general characteristics of this
very same coast.
Sailing leisurely along the coast, he entered a port that
he called Concepciori; and there.erecting a cross upon the
shore, he took possession of the island for the King and
Queen of Spain, giving it the .name, which it bore for a
FIRST SETTLEMENT. 19
long time among the early writers, of Hispailola," many
of whom spoke of it also as the Spanish Island."
The first settlement was temporarily made in the Bay of
St Thomas, to-day called Aeul (in Haiti), and originated
Sketch by Columbus.
through the wrecking of one of the two remaining caravels;
for Martin Pinzon had deserted Columbus off the coast of
Cuba with the third. From the materials of the wreck a
fort or tower was built, which was called La Navidad.
Here it was that Columbus first heard of the gold regions
of the Cibao; but, natur-
ally enough, his great aim
--.L. 'was now to return safely
to Spain, and make known
Sthe news of his great dis-
cover. Having therefore
Z'-i i-- 1' ,, } gathered from the Indians
\ many articles rudely work-
--- 'ed in gold, as well as other
curiosities, he was anxious
.- -'I ,,to set sail, and convey the
-grand tidings in person
-to his sovereigns.
H-._ o e left, therefore, a
small party of men with
____ munitions, provisions, and
---' -- other supplies, to keel)
The travels. them for a year, giving
also abundant instruc-
tions as to their conduct during his .absence; and on the
4th January 1493 he took his leave of them, not one of
whom was he ever to see again.
Sailing eastward along the coast, and stopping occa-
sionally, he was joined at Monte Cristo by the missing vessel
that he had parted from in Cuba; and having a favourable
wind, he set sail, continuing his voyage. At one of these
stoppages, Columbus saw a new sort of creature, which
he gravely stated to be sirens or mermaids, but which were
the "manati" or sea-cow, which are still found in these
waters, and yhich, from their strange form, their gambols
in the water, and the peculiar plaintive cry they emit,
might readily, when seen at a distance, be taken by the
novice for semi-human beings.
Finally, having reached the Bay of Samana, he deter-
mined to set sail for Spain, which place he reached the 15th
SECOND EXPEDITION. 21
of March 1493, entering into the port of Palos, from whence
he had sailed the 3d of August in the preceding year.
The important results of this great discovery were now
to be realized; for, after the reception of Columbus, and
the excitement caused thereby, had somewhat subsided,
attention was given to the means to profit by this great
discovery, and immediate preparations were made to fit out
an expedition on a larger scale.
The departure of this second expedition was very different
from that of the first, for gathered together in the Bay ot
Cadiz were seventeen vessels of different sizes, two of them
being of the largest class; and upon these were gathered
some 1200 men, of every rank and station, from the noble
to the humble labourer; there were also skilful pilots, as
well as many artisans of various kinds. Stores of all kinds
were also put on board, as well for the purposes of existence
as for trading, while particular attention was paid to the
supplies needed by a new colony in making a permanent
settlement. Upon Columbus himself had been bestowed the
chief command of the expedition, and to him had been ac-
corded also unlimited power over the new territory.
Among the supplies, one of the most important in the
future welfare of the colony was the different animals taken
out for breeding purposes; for, strangely enough, the islands
of the Antilles do not seem to have been possessed of.quad-
rupeds of any note, and mention is made of only some four
kinds, all of which are to-day extinct except the agouti.
Of these, the coati, a sort of cat, and the cories or agouti,
a species of hare, are only mentioned as furnishing animal
food to the natives, if 'we except the flesh of the iguana,
which still exists, and is considered a great delicacy.
On the 25th September 1493, in the presence of a vast
concourse of spectators, this second expedition set sail from
the Bay of Cadiz, and after a prosperous voyage, touching at
various points and islands, the fleet came to anchor in the
Bay of Samana, the 22d November 1493.
22 SANTO DOUMIGO.
On coasting the shore of the north coast for the Bay of St
Thomas, the Admiral was informed by an Indian of the fate
that had befallen the settlers he had left at La Navidad, in
that bay, by which every one had perished at the hands of
the natives, in revenge for injuries inflicted on them by the
Spaniards, and the settlement had been reduced to ashes.
L i '
*."- ^ ." .
Columbus then resolved to establish his new city in a dif-
ferent place; and afterhaving sen t some parties into the region
about Monte Cristo to explore the country, he continued
along the coast, until, deeming it a favourable place, he
established, on the banks of a small stream, his new settle-
ment, which, in honour of the Queen, he called Isabella.
This settlement, with the intention of making it per-
manent, he laid out in the form of a regular town, with
streets at right angles, and constructed there also a sub-
stantial church of stone, as also some of the officers' houses
of the same material; the whole being surrounded by a
wall and ditch, as a protection against the Indians.
Having thus made a starting-point in the island, he
began to send out expeditions to the interior, and so favour-
able were the reports made by these parties on their return,
that he determined himself to penetrate into the interior, to
the region described to him at St Thomas, which he called
Cipangi, celebrated for its gold; this is the region known
then, as now, as the Cibao.
Elated with these descriptions, and anticipating much
for the future, the Admiral determined to send advices to
Spain, and on the 2d of February 1494, he despatched the
fleet, loaded with gold specimens and other products, send-
ing by it also glowing accounts to the King and Queen of
the advantages that would accrue to Spain by the rapid
colonisation of the island.
Columbus seems to have been unfortunate in the selection
of his first site for a settlement, as the spot chosen was a
very unhealthy one; and is to-day a noted place for fevers,
.it being in a low marshy situation, and in some degree
sheltered from the healthful breezes of the north; from
hence, however, he despatched Ojeda to explore the interior.
Many of his people were taken sick, and he himself, worn
out with work and care, fell a prey to the attacks of disease,
but happily recovering, he made preparations for a journey
to the interior, from which he was delayed by the discovery
of an insurrection 'incited by Bernal Diaz and his friends,
that had for its object the breaking up of the colony, and
the returning to Spain of the colonists, on the plea that the
promises of gold were a delusion, as this mineral was only to
be found in the smallest quantity, that which was in the pos-
session of the natives being the accumulation of many years.
Columbus having put an end io this mutiny, and punished
some of the mutineers, sallied out the 14th day of March
1494, at the head of 400 men, on his expedition to the inte-
rior; and following the route taken by Ojeda in his expedi-
tion, he penetrated with much difficulty into the interior of
'the region known as the Cibao, where, on the banks of the
river Janico, he established a fortress, which he called St
Thomas, presumed to be in the now impenetrable region
known as the Valla de Constanza.
On the completion of this fort, he gave the command of
it to Pedro de Margarita, and returned, March 29, 1494,
to Isabella, which he had left under the governorship of his
brother Don Diego.
Here he found matters in a very unsettled state, for the
inhabitants were discontented and sick, many of them
utterly disappointed and desponding over the paradise that
had been so glowingly described to them. This state of
affairs, in addition to the unhealthiness of the locality, was
caused from the fact that many of the settlers were utterly
useless, inefficient men, who joining the expedition without
the slightest knowledge of any vocation or trade, had ex-
pected they were simply to pick up gold as they wanted,
while leading a life of indulgence and idleness.
Columbus receiving at this time news from the fort that
he had established in the interior of a threatened attack of
the now united Indians against it, he deemed this a good
opportunity to rid the town of these fractious spirits, and
under the plea of strengthening that garrison, he selected
all such men, to the number of 400, and sent them under
Ojeda to the interior.
Columbus now occupied himself in regulating the affairs
of Isabella, which being permanently established, became
the first Christian settlement in the New World. He created
a council, over which presided his brother Diego, composed
of the priest Father Boil and four of the most prominent
men, and fondly hoped from this small beginning the
greatest results would flow.
Columbus, in thus establishing the colony of Isabella,
had set up the corner-stone of civilisation in the New
World, upon which were to be erected structures that he in
his wildest dreams had never pictured; and as little dreamed
he that, within 300 years of his great discovery, his own last
resting-place, though within the very walls of a city he
himself had originated, would be a matter of doubt, uncer-
tainty, and neglect; while the spot which he established in
grateful remembrance of the Queen his benefactress, and to
which he gave her name, should be a deserted heap of ruins,
entirely obscured by the rank vegetation of the land he had
described to her in such glowing terms.
But the tide of emigration, once started for these new
lands, ceased not to flow; and each year, while he himself
was prosecuting further voyages of discovery, saw accessions
to the numbers of those who, spreading themselves through-
out the island, managed to gain riches which, in most cases,
were acquired not only at the expense of the liberty, but of
the lives of the native inhabitants.
During Columbus' absence on further voyages of dis-
covery, the Indians had united their forces, and given the
Spaniards of the interior much trouble; so that, on the re-
turn of the Admiral, on the 4th of September, sick, and worn
out with fatigue, he was compelled to take very decided
.. r ^ ;.,,: .- '. ,,--
':" ',:-^ ---= -- -
A Spanish Attack. (De Bry.)
action against them, the more especially as at Isabella the
council and authorities had been occupying themselves in
quarrels and dissensions rather than with the necessary
cares of the colony.
The native chiefs were now, with one exception, united
in open arms against the Spaniards, besieging them in their
fort of St Thomas; and therefore, taking with him a strong
force, Columbus started, March 27, 1495, from Isabella,
on a tour of complete conquest, in which he not only rescued
the beleaguered garrison, but forced the Indians to make
peace, while at the same time he established another fort in
the interior, called Concepcion. These trips of the Spa-
niards into the depths of a savage wilderness infested with
large numbers of hostile Indians seem, as we read their
accounts in early writers, or the glowing pages of Irving,
like fabled romance; and it is only when we discover that
these parties of adventurers, small in number as they were,
owed great part of their success to the fact that their armour
protected them from the rude missiles of the disproportionate
numbers of the Indians, while the effect of the fiery Spanish
horses, animals entirely unknown to the natives, added to
the use of their arquebusses, actually quelled the Indians
into submission, as much by their effect morally as by their
The success of the Spaniards was followed by the capture
of two of the principal chiefs, and by the imposition upon
the different tribes of a tribute, to be paid in gold and cot-.
ton; and from this time forth may be dated the beginning
of that servitude of the natives, which, in a very few years,
was to sweep them almost entirely from the island, such
was the severity of the yoke imposed, upon them by the
Before the contemplated return of Columbus to Spain, in-
formation was brought him by one Miguel Diaz of the dis-
covery of some gold-mines in the banks of the river Jaina,
eight leagues from its mouth, towards the southern side of
the island; and such was the enthusiasm created by this
news, that Columbus authorised his brother Bartholomew
to investigate. the fact, and finding the news founded in
truth, directed him to establish a fort there, as also to enter
into the working of the mines.
Meanwhile, as he himself had determined to return to
Spain, he appointed his brother Bartholomew to be chief-
in-command during his absence, with the title of Adelan-
tado or Governor, and designating also, in case of accident,
S his other brother, Diego, to succeed him. The Admiral
having sailed for Spain the 10th of March 1496, the Ade-
lantado set himself to work to carry out the plans of Colum-
bus in the working of the mines, and leaving his brother
Diego in command at Isabella, he himself went to Jaina,
where were established the works known as those of Buena-
ventura, still in existence in a ruined condition, north of the
town of San Christobal. Here he remained some three
months, when he deemed it necessary to visit the town of
Concepcion, in the interior, to receive the tribute from the
The arrival of reinforcements and supplies at Isabella
shortly after brought the news of the safe return of
Columbus to Spain, and his honoured reception there, as
well as an order from the Admiral for the Adelantado to
establish a settlement on the Ozama river, at its mouth,
where it emptied into the southern sea. The Adelantado
,complied with these instructions by going himself to estab-
lish on the left bank of the river the town, which was at
first called New Isabella, but afterwards received the name
of Santo Domingo, the first stone being laid there on the
4th August 1496; and with the foundation of this famous
city began the career of glory and discovery in the New
World destined to render immortal the names of so many
The Adelantado seems to have been an earnest, energetic
man, and every effort was used by him to further the inte-
rests of the colony; and we find him at this time making
continual journeys throughout the island, now establishing
a new town, now developing a mine, and again making
war upon the rebellious natives.
Meanwhile, at the first settlement established, the town of
Isabella, matters were going from bad to worse, for affairs
there were in a most'deplorable state, owing to the general
sickness of the inhabitants, and the cessation of agricultural
labours, caused by the flight of the Indians, who, driven to
a labour to which they were entirely unaccustomed, under
the harshest kind of treatment, sought relief in the woods
and mountain fastnesses.
Following close upon this state of things came the mutiny
of Roldan, who had been appointed alcalde-mayor, or chief-
justice of the town, and who, in his ambitious projects, de-
sired to have the chief command. Notwithstanding the
active efforts of the two Columbuses, this mutiny gained
strength and followers among the discontented colonists,
and they had even the audacity to sack the public storehouses
at Isabella; a state of affairs that continued until Columbus
himself returned from Spain, the 30th of August 1498.
Columbus, mortified with the state of affairs in the
colony, used every effort to bring about peace and tran-
quillity among the colonists; but the power of Roldan had
increased to such an extent, that, humiliating as it was to
the feelings of the great commander to make terms with
the rebel, he, for the sake of the welfare of the colony, com-
promised with Roldan and his followers, by which the
former was reinstated in his office of alcalde-mayor, while
those of his followers who wished to remain were each
allotted a certain amount of land, and a certain number of
Indians to work the same; the others were permitted to
return to Spain. By this act was established that system
known as repartimientos, destined to be such a cause, in
the future, of quarrels amongst the Spaniards and misery
to the aborigines.
Columbus, who had established himself at St Domingo,
was not, however, destined to remain without further
troubles; for the Indians known as the Ciguayos endea-
voured to release their captured chief Mayobanex by a
rising against the Spaniards; and this affair was hardly
quelled when Ojeda attempted to enslave the Indians for
the purpose of carrying a number of them to the newly-
acquired lands of Terra Firma. In both these affairs,
the former rebel, Roldan, acquitted himself with honour,
honesty, and bravery in asserting the rights of Columbus.
30 SANTO DOMINGO.
Matters being however tranquillised, affairs in the colony
began to improve: the mines were in profitable working
order, and great advances were made in agriculture, while
many towns in the island were permanently established;
and we find in 1499
among these the
names mentioned of
S. -- bella, Concepcionde
la Vega, Santiago,
_-Puerto Plata, and
_- Bonao as flourish-
rfir7 l- 7 ing places, while
S"' --. I others that had been
'' temporarily estab-
lished were dying
Si. The year 1500 will
always be memor-
J |- able in the annals
of the island as that
S ,, in which the in-
r' i famous Bobadilla
came out from
.- -_-.--- Spain, arriving at
i : --: St Domingo city at
.'- .-. a timewhen Colum-
bus was in the in-
The Citadel. terior of the island.
Although this officer
was sent out from Spain clothed with certain powers and
authority to investigate matters on the island, he so far ex-
ceeded these as to seize upon the persons of Columbus and
his brother Bartholomew, and throw them into prison, treat-
ing them with every indignity, even to sending them to
Spain in chains. The cell in which they were confined is
ST DOMINGO REBUILT.
still shown in the old citadel of St Domingo city, and is a
moderate-sized square room, with a grated window in the
immensely thick wall,-a limited space for a man who had
given such immense territories to the world.
Happily for the island, the governorship of this man
lasted for a short time only, as no sooner did the news reach
Spain of his treatment of Columbus, than Nicholas de
Ovando was appointed Governor of the island, as also of all
the Indies. Going out in great state, with a large number
of followers, Ovando took with him a plentiful supply of
arms and artillery; and on the 15th April 1502, he reached
the island and relieved Bobadilla of'his command.
The superstitious might think, in the events that imme-
diately follow, there was a miraculous intervention of Pro-
vidence in favour of Columbus, who having been restored to
favour, was again in these waters with his fleet on another
voyage of discovery, and being desirous of changing one
of his vessels, had sought refuge at St Domingo. Ovando,
however, declined to allow him to enter the port, and Co-
lumbus foreseeing and prophesying a storm, took shelter in
the Bay of Ocoa. Meanwhile, some of the property of
Columbus had been placed upon the vessels of the fleet in
which Bobadilla was intending to return to Spain, and in
the same fleet was Roldan, and the chief Guarionex.
Though Columbus gave warning of the threatened storm,
no attention was paid to it, and the fleet had hardly set
sail when the storm broke upon it, and the whole .of the
vessels, with the exception of two, were lost with all their
crews. In these two vessels was the property of Columbus.
In the same storm the town of St Domingo was utterly
Ovando the Governor, who seems to have been a man of
great energy, resolved, however, to rebuild the city, but
upon the other side of the Ozama, on the site of the present
city; and with its re-erection begins a career of unexampled
32 SANTO DOMI.yNGO.
prosperity for the island, a career which unfortunately lasted
but for a limited period of years.
The building of the new city did not, however, prevent
Ovando from prosecuting the war for the entire conquest of
-the island from the aborigines, for he carried on his ppera-
tions against them with such zeal, that it was not long before
the two remaining principalities of Jaragua and Higuey
were subdued, but not until deeds of treachery, cruelty, and
bloodshed were perpetrated that will for ever. cast a blot
upon the name of Ovando.
The reader of Irving will readily recall .some of the
romantic passages in these bloody annals, in which the sad
story of the Princess Anacoana and the Cacique Cotubanama
are related at length. Suffice it to say here, that with their
capture may be said to have ended the period of the con-
quest of the island.
The Spaniard came . .
With toil and woes he crushed his wretched slaves,
Till murdered nations sunk into their graves;
Then, to replace his victims, fiercely tore
The helpless negro from his native shore."
THE EARLY SPANIARDS-Their Treatment of the Natives-Ovan-
do's Rule-Habits of the Spaniards-Negro Slaves--Rapid
Decrease of the Aborigines-Sugar-making-Diego Columbus
and his Successors-The War of Enrique, and Final Peace.
T HILE Columbus, on his fourth voyage, after having
warred with some furious hurricanes and violent
tempests, was obliged to take shelter in Jamaica, the
Island of St Domingo was the theatre of several remark-
This colony, the model and the source of all the later
establishments that Spain has founded in the New World,
acquired by degrees the form of a society regular and
The tender care, full of humanity, that the Queen Isa-
bella had evinced for the protection of the Indians, and
the special laws passed, by which was enacted their free-
dom from oppression and enforced labour, delayed for some
time the industrial interests of the island; because the
natives, seeing happiness only in the indulgence of their
indolent habits, could not be tempted to physical labour
by the doubtful promises and recompenses of the Spaniards,
their conquerors; the result of which was, that the latter
lacked the necessary labourers for the working of the mines
and the cultivation of the soil.
Accustomed to the service of the Indians, several of the
first colonists abandoned the island when they saw them-
selves deprived of the instruments without which they
could do nothing; added to this, some maladies peculiar
to it, or, perhaps, created by the imprudence of new-
comers, developed themselves; and a great number of
those who had arrived with Ovando succumbed to the at-
tacks of disease, and in a short time more than a thousand
perished, because, without food and preparation, they had
proceeded to the mines, where they died of sickness and
The demand of half the product of the mines required
on the part of the sovereigns, seemed such an onerous con-
dition, that no person was willing to engage in their work-
ing at this price, and the ruin of the colony from these
causes appeared inevitable. In truth, it would not have
been able to have sustained itself from the fate that threat-
ened it, had not Ovando taken upon himself the responsi-
bility of modifying the royal ordinances. It was the new
distribution of Indians he made on this occasion that had
brought about the uprising of the natives against this
enforced labour; and even he, fearing that he would be
accused of having forced the Indians again into servitude,
ordered that their masters should pay them a regular sum
as legitimate recompense for their labour; he also reduced
the portion of gold intended for the King from one half
to a third, and then to a fifth, a tax at which it remained
fixed a long time.
It is curious, in this connection, to read the accounts
of the habits of these early adventurers. Many of them
were the very dregs of the population of Spain; in fact, in
order to get recruits at one time, Columbus had induced
the authorities of Spain to pardon all such malefactors
as would agree to emigrate to the new colony. Again,
EARLY SPANIARDS. 35
though many of the emigrants were of the labouring
class, accustomed to
work for their living in
Spain, yet so strong a
hold had the thought of I
finding gold taken upon I
them, that they had no
idea of labouring them-
selves in the New
World; but constitut-
ing themselves masters,
they sought to force the -
natives to labour for
them, while they exer- A Spanish Master. (De Bry.)
cised an easy superin-
tendence, swinging in a hammock. Others again, sarcas-
tically observes an old writer, who in Spain had never known
_.___ F_. ,
Spaniard in litter.
even the luxury of riding a mule, were not content, when
they had gained some riches in the New World, unless
they were conveyed in a luxurious litter, between the poles
of which were the native Indians.
The Indians, who had been enjoying the privileges of
freedom from labour and oppression, already felt in their
first servitude, found this new yoke press so heavily upon
them, that they made several new attempts to recover their
The Spaniards always treated these efforts as rebellion,
and took arms against the natives with this idea. It is
easy to imagine the result, in a contest between savages,
entirely naked, on one side, and, on the other, one of the
most warlike nations of Europe, where science, courage,
and discipline were pitted against timidity and ignorance.
The natives were, from the commencement, treated not as
people struggling for their rights and freedom, but as
slaves revolted against their masters.
No distinction was made by the Spaniards in their treat-
ment of these poor people; the Cacique was as brutally
punished as his most humble follower, and this in spite of
the treaty that had been made between the Spaniards and
natives; and the unjust war made against the people of the
province of Iiguey had ended in the unwarranted hanging
of the chief for having defended his people with a bravery
superior to that of his fellow-patriots.
It was in such a state of affairs that Columbus, return-
ing from his fourth voyage of discovery, in which he had
been wrecked on the Isle of Jamaica, had stopped at St
Domingo city, where he was well received by the Governor,
Ovando; but who offended Columbus' sense of dignity by
releasing from arrest one of his men, Porras, whom the
Admiral himself had ordered to be confined on board one
of his ships, in order that he might be sent to Spain
to be tried for mutiny while at Jamaica.
This shameful humiliation was too much for the feelings
of Columbus, and caused him such mortification, that he
set sail from the island for Spain, never again to return to
the New World alive. This event, in 1504, was soon fol-
lowed by the death of his benefactress, the Queen Isabella,
who died the same year, an event that was fraught with
such portentous consequences for the Indians.
In memory of her who had been known as the protec-
0 VANDO'S RULE. 37
tress of the Indians, her husband, King Ferdinand, pro-
posed to liberate them all from a state of servitude and
threatened destruction, and for this purpose he sent to
Ovando new orders, tending to better the condition of the
As the new plan would destroy entirely the system of
the repartimientos upon which the colonists now founded
their hopes of future riches, it became the object of the
most terrible opposition, and the Indians remained subject
to their yoke in spite of the royal order, for they were
utterly powerless to help themselves. Intimidated and
humiliated by the atrocious treatment that they had re-
ceived, the inhabitants of the whole island submitted
without further resistance; and the bloody Ovando, ignor-
ing the royal mandate, and henceforth held by no check,
divided the Indians among his friends and creatures.
It is, however, due to him to say, that he governed the
Spaniards with a wisdom and justice very dissimilar to the
barbarity that he exercised over the vanquished natives.
He established equitable laws, and executed them with
impartiality, and accustomed the colonists to respect them;
he founded several towns in different parts, and drew to
them inhabitants by conceding various privileges. He
sought also to bring the attention of the Spaniards to
some branch of industry more useful than the mere work-
ing of mines, in many cases unprofitable; and the sugar-
cane having been brought to the island in 1506 from the
Canaries, the richness of the soil and-the fertility of the
climate appeared so favourable to this culture, that it was
soon made an object of speculation.
Though the apparatus for its manufacture was of the
rudest kind, large plantations were formed, mills estab-
lished, and in a few years the manufacture of sugar was
the principal occupation of the colonists, and the most
abundant source of their riches.
Though the wise measures that Ovando took were prin-
38 SANTO DOMINGO.
cipally seconded by the attention that King Ferdinand,
gave to the laws and the police of the island, it was menaced
by a quick destruction.
-III 1.. -. .
Sugar-making. (De Bry.)
The natives, upon whose labours the Spaniards had
counted for the success of their enterprises, and even for
the supplies for their own existence, died so rapidly, that
the extinction of the entire race became probable.
When Columbus discovered St Domingo, it certainly
had, at the lowest estimate, a million of inhabitants;
fifteen years were now elapsed, and they were. reduced
to 60,000, a result caused by the combination of certain
The natives, possessing a constitution more feeble than
that of the Europeans, could not stand the same amount
of labour or fatigue; and the indolence and inaction in
which they had previously passed their lives, as well as
the inroads made upon their constitutions by their habits
VA TI VE DEPOPULA TIOX.
of excess, rendered them incapable of any sustained effort,
especially when suddenly begun and long continued, as
was the case when they were driven to their hard daily
labour; and though their habits were thus materially
changed, it does not seem that their food was improved
to a more substantial fare.
The Spaniards, never relenting in their vocation of
taskmasters, pushed these poor people to the utmost ex-
tremity, until, worn out, without strength or hopes, they
put an end in various ways to their unfortunate lives.
Benzoni has made this a subject of one of his illustra-
tions, so well known was this fact among the early
chroniclers; and following him, De Bry has represented
a .perfect saturnalia of suicide, in which every means is
resorted to by the natives to end their own lives and
that of their families.
-.... -----,.-, ,-
When we read how these poor people were yoked to-
gether like cattle, how men and women were separated,
how the men were driven into the mines, while the women
slaved in the fields under the burning sun, we can readily
put faith in the accounts of the self-destruction of these
people, who saw only in this an easy way out of their
Gold-mining. (De Bry.)
The Spaniards, seeing themselves thus deprived by de-
grees of the arms upon which they were habituated to rely
for the culture of their lands, were not able any longer
to increase their extent, and, in fact, from this time were
not able t6 continue the work already begun.
Alarmed at this state of things, and wishing to remedy
promptly this evil, Ovando proposed to his court to trans-
port to Hispaniola the inhabitants of the Lucayos or
Bahamas, a series of numerous small islands lying at the
entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, under the pretext that it
would be easy to civilise them and instruct them in the
O VANDO'S RECALL.
Christian religion, when they should be united to the
Spanish colony, where they could be supervised by the
Ferdinand, deceived by the specious promises of Ovando,
and perhaps willing to resort to any means to keep up a
colony, then the Pride of Spain," consented.
Several vessels were sent to these islands, and with
them some persons who spoke the language of the islanders;
and these, giving the simple people the most glowing ac-
counts of the Spanish island, and the deliciousness of the
life there awaiting them, induced large numbers to accom-
pany them;-the population, it is stated, of Hispaniola
being increased to the extent of 40,000 by these deluded
Notwithstanding this effort to improve matters, these
various causes served to discourage the Spaniards; and
their favourite mode of enriching themselves-the digging
of gold-being unprofitable, the more adventurous spirits
cast about for new regions to explore,-their efforts result-
ing in a series of most wonderful and brilliant discoveries
and explorations, never before or since equalled. The record
of these is filled with the names of such bold and brilliant
men as Cortes, Balboa, Pizarro, De Soto, and many others.
De Ovando had now been in office from 1501, and
although he had undoubtedly benefited the island by his
government, many complaints had been made against him,
to all of which Ferdinand had turned a deaf ear for a long
time; when, with a fickleness said to be a characteristic of
this monarch, and sheltering himself under the plea that
the Queen Isabella had sworn to chastise Ovando for hav-
ing put to death Anacaona, the fulfilment of which vow
she had confided to Ferdinand at her- death, he in 1508
relieved Ovando from his command, and ordered him back
Don Diego Columbus succeeded him, but did not enjoy
the full rights of his father, the Admiral, who had died in
__ -- I
Spain in 1506; and'it was strongly suspected that the son
was more indebted to the Duke of Alva, whose daughter
he had married, and whose influence at court was great,
for this recognition of his rights, than to the justness of
his claims as being the heir of his father. He was at
first only named Governor of the island, not Viceroy of the
Indies, according to the patent given to the Admiral.
The new Governor came to the island accompanied by
his uncle, his brother, and his wife, upon the latter of
whom in mere courtesy had been bestowed the title of
vice-queen. With them came a numerous cortege of dis-
tinguished persons of both sexes; and the splendour and
elegance displayed during Don Diego's residence at the
capital astonished the people of the New World, while
the presence of so much rank and beauty, it is said, had
the effect of softening the manners of the colonists, and
gave a higher tone to the state of society at the city of St
Domingo, which had then reached its highest state of
The unfortunate natives, however, did not profit by
these splendours; for, strong in his position, Diego awarded
to his friends and followers the Indians, not only in the
manner hitherto known as repartimientos, but by speci-
fying the exact number to be allowed each person according
to his rank.
Although the Spaniards were busy in extending their
dominions, Hispaniola seems to have been looked upon
as their principal colony; and though Diego Columbus
appears to have had the ability to govern it with wisdom,
he was not permitted by the changeful Ferdinand to exer-
cise his authority without much interference and many
annoyances, the King even curtailing some of his privileges.
Among these was that of assigning the Indians, which
privilege he accorded to a courtier named Albuquerque, who
was authorised to apportion out the natives independently
of the Governor;-the result of which was, that, in anxious
haste to profit from the perquisites of the office he held,
Albuquerque entered with eagerness into their apportion
ment; and the first step he took was to obtain the exact
number of the natives, from which we learn that these
unfortunates had died out so rapidly, that, from having
numbered in 1508, 60,000 souls, in 1514 the total number
was reduced to 14,000.
To the credit of the priesthood be it said, they had almost
unanimously declared against the system of the reparti-
mientos, and especially had the Order of the Dominicans
raised their voices against it, availing themselves of every
occasion to speak out against the iniquitous practice, not
fearing in the presence of the Viceroy and his suite, when
present in the grand cathedral of St Domingo city, to appeal
to them in eloquent language'to remedy this state of things;
and carrying out these principles, they refused even to
absolve those who shared in this division of the natives.
This proceeding gave great offence, of course, to the
authorities; and the Franciscans, who were not so deter-
mined in their opposition, uniting with the Government,
two parties were in existence, each of whom made com-
plaints to the King.
We can read with astonishment and indignation now
the famous edict of Ferdinand, in which he declares it is a
divine and humane duty to hold the Indians in servitude,
as thus they can become Christianised; but at the time
this decree gave great satisfaction, as many even of the
higher prelates themselves held numbers of the natives in
In spite of this, the celebrated Father Las Casas used
every effort to bring about the relief of these people; and
going oter to Spain, he reproached King Ferdinand in
person, with such effect, that the King, being then near
to death, listened to his appeals, and promised to remedy
the state of the Indians, but he died before he could fulfil
44 SANTO DOMINGO.
SIt has been said, at various times, that Las Casas was
the author of the introduction of African slaves into the
island, but this is not corroborated by facts; for as early
as 1511, we find that negroes had been brought there,
and previous to this Ferdinand had issued orders for their
However, Zimenes, Cardinal and Regent of Castile, in
the minority of the new Emperor Charles the Fifth, listened
to Las Casas; and in order to make a beginning in the
new programme he had arranged, he sent out to St Do-
mingo three superintendents of all the colonies, utterly
ignoring the rights of the then Governor, Don Diego.
These superintendents he selected from the order of Hier-
onymite monks, hoping thus to get impartial and upright
men. Through them he changed entirely the system of the
colonies, as, on their arrival, they declared free all the
Indians, a proceeding' that occasioned general alarm, fol-
lowed by appeals to the new authorities, who, on the re-
presentation that the new conquests of Spain in America
would have to be abandoned if these Indian labourers
were taken away, found it necessary to tolerate the system
of repartimientos, but endeavoured to arrange for a more
genial execution of its workings.
From the troubles ocasioned by these proceedings origi-
nated the introduction permanently of the African; for
even Las Casas used his influence to have them brought
into the island in larger numbers, in order to lighten the
labours of the Indians.
This body of priestly governors, although endeavouring
to act with justice and impartiality, did not give entire
satisfaction to the colonists; and Cardinal Cisneros de
Zimenes dying in 1518, the Emperor Charles the Fifth
ascended the throne, and immediately recalled these
reverend friars, naming a licentiate, Rodrigo de Figueroa,
as Governor, who, manifesting great avarice and rapacity,
was carried to Spain in 1521 a prisoner, and Don Diego
Columbus was again made Governor.
Reference has already been made to African slaves, and
it appears that the Indians died out so fast, that it became
absolutely necessary to have some reliable mode of getting
labourers to work not only the mines, but the land, now
become valuable by the culture of the sugar-cane; and
thus, in 1510, a regular form had been given to this traffic
in human flesh, by the charging of the Casa de Contracion
with its carrying on; and in addition to this, when Charles
the Fifth became Emperor, he, by a patent bestowed upon
a Flemish favourite, gave an exclusive right of importing
slaves to the number of four thousand annually. This
patent was sold by the Fleming to some Genoese for
twenty-five thousand ducats, and they were thus the first
merchants who brought into regular. form the commerce
for slaves between Africa and America.
So rapidly had these
slaves increased in num-
ber on the island of St I
Domingo, that we find,
in the records of the
second term of the gov- '
ernorship of Diego Co- -6 -. ''
lumbus, that in 1522
to mutiny on the plan-
tation of the Governor .
himself, moved thereto
by the cruelty with which
they were treated. Punishment of Negroes. (De Bry.)
Some idea may be gained of the cruelties experienced by
these poor creatures in the descriptions of many of the
old authorities, and of which De Bry has made an illus-
tration. One of these accounts is curious, as showing that
the modern theory of earth cure in wounds is- not new,
AFRICAN SLAVES. 45
46. SANTO DOMINGO.
since it is stated that the slaves were so badly whipped
that their backs became raw, and upon their raw wounds
brine was poured; a hole was then dug in the ground, the
suffering negro placed therein, and the earth piled up
around him, in order, says the chronicler, that his wounds
might be healed by the salve in mother earth, and he ren-
dered fit to do more labour.
The insurrection, the first of which there is any record,
was, however, soon put dowii by the troops; and hardly was
this accomplished, when another, much more important,
broke out among the few remaining Indians in the island.
This had been incited by a chief named Enrique, a savage
who had been converted to Christianity, and who, notwith-
standing the nobility of his birth, had been reduced to
slavery in one of the repartimientos.
Desiring to avenge an insult that had been offered to his
wife by a Spaniard, Enrique called upon his compatriots,
and uniting themselves in strong force, they took refuge
in the mountains of Bajorucho, where they maintained
Meanwhile many complaints had been made against the
Governor, Diego Columbus; among these was one that,
because he was building a substantial palatial house on the
bank of the river, he designed it to be a fortress, and,
when finished, he intended to declare himself sovereign of
the island, and independent of the authority of Spain.
This house still stands, and though in a sad state of
decay, gives a good impression of the solidity and grandeur
of such buildings in the St Domingo of those days. The
accompanying illustration of it is after Guillermin, who saw
it about 1801, when it was in a more perfect state than
at present. On account of the above complaints, Diego
Columbus returned to Spain, and though he completely
disproved the charges brought against him, he was not re-
instated in his command, but died in 1526 while petitioning
for his rights. His office meanwhile had been given to the
Father Luis de Figueroa,
to the pacification of the
-_.- _. _- -
who devoted himself especially
Indians, who, under the chief
House of Don Diego Columbus.
Enrique, had now become formidable from their military
organisation. The Emperor, hoping probably. to replace
their labour, now lost, authorised the Flemings in 1526 to
introduce African slaves more freely into the island.
By thd death of Figueroa the island came under the
rule of one of its best Governors, Don Sebastian Ramirez
Fuenleal, who immediately took wise and sensible measures
for securing the settlement of the affairs of the island, and
improving the condition of the loyal Indians.
48 SANTO DOMINGO.
Although many overtures were made to the insurrec-
tionary chief, yet such was his want of confidence in the
Spaniards, that it was not until Father Las Casas suc-
ceeded in inducing Enrique to send an envoy to St Do-
mingo city, that a treaty of peace was signed, in 1533, by
which the Indians, 600 in number, under their chief, were
permanently established in a village (Boya) by themselves,
and land allowed them to cultivate for their own use.
With this treaty ended actually the troubles with the abo-
rigines, Which in Dominican annals are known as belong-
ing to the time of the conquest. Of this race, not one
single pure-blooded descendant exists to-day.
Let nobler bards, in loftier numbers, tell
How Cortez conquered, Montezuma fell;
How grim Pizarro's ruffian arm o'erthrew
The sun's resplendent empire in Peru."
THE DECLINE OF ST DoMINGo-Failure of the Mines-Expeditions
fitted out-Depredations on Spanish Vessels-Depopulation of
the Island-Neglect of Spain-Its Colonial Policy--Drake's
Attack-The Capture and Ransom of the Capital.
T HERE now ensues a long period in the history of St
Domingo, in which the island, having gained a posi-
tion brilliant and striking from its sudden rise and pro-
sperity, as quickly sinks into obscurity, desolation, and
misery, the result of manifold causes.
St Domingo city, the capital, had become firmly estab-
lished; it had been beautified and improved; in fact, had
become noted for the splendour of its houses and the regu-
larity of its streets, while its port was the most busy one
in the New World.
In addition to this principal city, there had been estab-
lished in different parts of the island other towns and vil-
lages, the most important of. which were Azua, Aquin
(Yaquimo), Salvatierra de la Savana, Yaguana (Leogane),
Puerto Plata, Puerto Real, Monte Cristo, Santiago de los
Caballeros, Bonao, Cotuy, Buenaventura, Concepcion de la
Vega, Balica, Hincha, Higuei, and Seybo, to all of which,
so important were they considered, had been allowed the
use of respective coats of arms.
The number of regularly organised sugar plantations
had amounted to nearly fifty, and the products of these, it
Sis related, more than ex-
ceeded the products of the
< gold mines in their best
days; in fact, so luxu-
Sriant and profitable was
the cane-crop, that it was
AL. 'a common remark of the
Si time that some of the
handsomest palaces in
J Spain were built of St
The increase of the live-
:. '. stock originally brought
S.; '- out from Spain had been so
Hatero. wonderful, that the island
was literally overrun'with the wild cattle, which were left
undisturbed, except by occasional visits of the hateros or
herdsmen, men who, even at the present day, devote them-
selves exclusively to the raising of cattle upon the immense
plains called "llanos" or savanas.
There was then no reason why affairs should not have
vastly improved, and the.island itself reached a high state
of prosperity, had it not been from a combination of re-
In the period after the conquest known in its annals
as the time of Old Spain," the island may be said to have
reached the very zenith of its prosperity, followed gradually
by a series of events which left it almost depopulated, pros-
trated, and even unrecognised by its parent country; a
period in which we see, in strong contrast to the Spaniards,
the French, who had gained possessions in the West Indies,
show by their energy and talent, as well as by an encourag-
ing policy of the home Government, what could be made of
,those beautiful isles generally called the Antilles.
SPANISH POLICY. 51
In order fully to understand the condition of St Domingo
while exclusively under Spanish rule, it may be as well that
we take a glance at the policy of Spain in relation to her
colonies; for what applied to one as a general rule applied
to all. And as she was the first to enter the arena of
the New World, so was the system she adopted considered
the best by the other powers which followed her, and,
with some modifications, pretty generally adopted by
The Spanish Indies, the name given by Spain to its
colonies in America, having been by law declared an
inalienable part of the Spanish monarchy, the King became
the sovereign of those newly discovered countries, and
exercised all the authority belonging to that title, enjoy-
ing to every extent all the rights, powers, and patronage
that title gave, and his will became thus the law of the
colony, against the exercise of which there was no check
In the exercise of this power, the first agent of
the King was the Royal and Supreme Council of the
Indies," a name given to a tribunal created by King Fer-
dinand in 1511 for the control of the American depart-
The powers of this tribunal were much enlarged by the
Emperor Charles the Fifth, in 1524, and his successors;
so that it became the depositary of all law, the fountain
of all nominations, both ecclesiastical and temporal, and
the supreme tribunal where all questions, whether of
government or trade, in the colonies, were finally ad-
This council, as ancient as the New World itself almost,
had always the same limited views, and so far from being
moved by great'impulses and large ideas fitting to the
immense powers bestowed upon it, was, on the contrary,
a great drawback to the forward impulses of the youth-
ful colonies, which, like young children, required the
52 SANTO DOMINGO.
most careful nursing and attention from their mother
In the earliest period, this council had been organised to
benefit the colony of St Domingo, by devising means to
advance its interests, to send out supplies of provisions, and
to furnish seeds and implements for the agricultural de-
velopment of the island.
This council prepared-all the laws for the Indies; it
took cognisance exclusively of all matters by land and sea,
and of every kind that in any wise related to the Indies,
having full authority over viceroys, presidents, courts, com-
merce, and even of the army and navy.
It proposed to the King all persons for office, of what-
ever grade; it presented also the officials of the Church;
and, in fact, was endowed with such supreme powers, as,
says Valverde, "not even the Roman Senate had so ex-
clusive a jurisdiction."
In the early days of Spanish discovery and conquest,
St Domingo was the headquarters of the "Royal Audenciar"
or court established for all the new provinces; but as the
latter grew in extent and number, they also began to have
courts of their own.
For hundreds of years the chief commands of the
island were bestowed on military officers, the Governor
being known as Captain-General, and who in subsequent
years, became the President of the Royal Audencia.
The power of the Governor was almost supreme, and
with him rested the appointment of the subaltern officers,
such as the commandants.
The royal court was surrounded by a great number
of formalities, laws, and ceremonies; and at one time,
it would appear that St Domingo city was noted for the
pomp and display made' by the officials in the fulfilment
of their duties, which duties were distinctly prescribed in
a code made in Spain, known as "The Collection of the
Laws of the Kingdoms of the Indies."
The establishment of the royal court was the cause, in
later years, of much trouble, for to it were carried all
appeals from the decision of the Governor of the island,
and there were frequent conflicts of authority therefrom.
An endless cause of bickering and complaint in the
island was the constant interference in secular affairs of
the priesthood, whose strength and numbers constantly
increased; and, under Cardinal Zimenes, we have seen the
government intrusted to three of their number.
As the King paid all the expenses of divine worship,
the tithes belonged to him in consequence of a concession
'of the Pope. There was collected on all vegetable products
of importance in commerce one measure in ten; on all
annual products, even on milk, lard, wool, and on minor
products, such as wax, honey, &c., the King took his
share of one-tenth. A percentage there was also on sugar
and molasses, even the native bread, cassava, paying
The conquerors of the New World, in their desire of
making themselves masters of large domains, seized upon
immense tracts of land, and held them under what was
known as "encomiendas," and by degrees they obtained
the privilege of converting these into "mayorasgos," a
species of fief introduced into the Spanish system of feudal
jurisprudence, which can neither be divested nor alienated,
resulting, as we shall see, to-day, in the system known as
The Church followed the example set by these adven-
turers, and became the possessors of large tracts; and,
as their revenue was only to be derived by the cultiva-
tion of these lands, they were leased out in small lots to
those unable to buy or to occupy pieces of their own;
and in all the jurisdictions of the Church "first-fruits"
were exacted and paid.
The Church had yet another influence in the island,
for the Inquisition has played here, as elsewhere, a memor-
54 SANTO DOMIINGO.
able part in the history of St Domingo; for, as early as
1517 inquisitors were sent to the island, their advent
being marked with great pomp and ceremony on the
part of the officials and people; and when we read that
the inquisitors were paid from the confiscations made by
themselves, we can readily understand the motives that
prompted their action in many cases. And it is on record
that there was only one printing-office, little used, on the
entire island; and no books of any kind were allowed
to be brought in that had not received the sanction of
the Inquisition, a proceeding that is seen in its results
to-day, not a single book of any value being found for
The Inquisition, as is well known, was always opposed
to the instruction and enlightenment of the people; and
in no place was this more forcibly manifested than in St
Domingo; and the antipathy of inquisitors against books
was only equalled by that against Jews, the results of
which are seen to-day in the islands still under the Spanish
crown; for, though the Jews may be found in almost every
habitable part of the globe, not one hardly is to be met
with in Cuba, Porto Rico, or St Domingo.
In fact, the entry of every class of foreigners into the
island was discountenanced by the Government, which,
with the jealousy peculiar to Spain, looked with sus-
picion upon the attempts on the part of subjects of any
other power to trade with its colonies.
Many other of the Church rules and regulations weighed
heavily upon the settlers.; and some writers are ill-natured
enough to doubt the possibility of the Church, in these
times, honestly getting rich, when its servants were so
poor. The Jesuits, it is said, managed to carry large
sums of gold out of the .country in various ways without
exciting suspicion, such as sending it as rolls of chocolate,
and bones of saints.
In addition to the sources of revenue above mentioned,
Ik ~ .-~----
CASA DE CONTRA CION. 55
there was a tax upon the salaries of the officials, consisting
of a levy of half the product of the first year, whidh is
suggestive of the honesty with which these offices must
have been filled; while many of the minor positions were
publicly farmed out to the highest bidder.
There were municipal governments for the different
districts, towns, or villages, presided over by an alder-
man or alcalde, and he named subordinate officers; and
there were besides innumerable fiscal officers, which it
would be tedious to mention.
It is, however, from the monopoly created by the
organisation of the Casa de Contracion that the colonial
interests of Spain have, perhaps, received their greatest
injury; for, by an ordinance dated at Alcala, January
20, 1503, a board of trade, with the above name, was con-
stituted, which, though supposed to be subordinate to the
Council of the Indies, became in time almost independent
of it. The laws and regulations made by this body, al-
though nominally created to encourage and protect the
commerce of Spain with her colonies, were ultimately the
cause of its decay and ruin.
It consisted of three officers, bearing the separate titles
of treasurer, factor, and comptroller, their residence being
appointed at Seville, where they were to hold daily meetings
in the building known as the Aleazar, for the transaction
This board was instructed to make itself thoroughly
familiar with everything pertaining to the colonies, and to
furnish the Government with every kind of information
concerning their prosperity and welfare.
Laws were passed restricting the entire trade of the
colonies with the mother country to the port of Seville;
and tq the Casa de Contracion was intrusted the super-
vision of all fleets, their destination, the furnishing them
with instructions; and, in the warehouse of the board,
at that place, was deposited all the merchandise for ship-
ment, as well as the return cargoes, for the sale of which
the contracts were to be supervised by the board.
Seville, therefore, remained the only port for a long
time, until the Guadalquiver, which, in the time of the
Emperor Charles the Fifth, was navigable up to the town,
became, for large vessels, inaccessible, when the port was
removed to Cadiz, from whence, at' stated times, a fleet
sailed for Mexico, and galleons for Porto Bello. This
continued in practice until the war of 1732, when register
'ships were substituted for galleons, which no longer sailed
at fixed times, though the "fleet and these "register"
ships continued to sail from Cadiz to Mexico.
Porto Bello was the main rendezvous for this fleet from
Spain, known in early times as the "galleons," which
consisted usually of about eight men-of-war, of the size
known as three or four deckers, each mounting fifty guns,
and they were nominally assigned to supply the American
ports with military stores; but, in reality, were laden not
only with these, but every kind of merchandise, and they
also convoyed other ships on private account, to the num-
ber of fourteen or fifteen.
In time of peace, this fleet sailed regularly once a
year from Cadiz, according as the King ordered it, or
the convenience of the merchants permitted; the fleet of
galleons being regulated pretty much as was the flota"
or fleet, and designed for the exclusive trade with Terra
Firma, as South America was then called, and the South
The flota," on the contrary, was destined for New
Spain, as Mexico was then called, the port being Vera
Cruz, as also the Philippine Islands. It consisted of an
annual fleet, that sailed from Cadiz, leaving there about
the last of September, being composed of three men-of-
war, and sixteen large merchantmen, of from 500 to 600
These were loaded with every sort of goods which
COMMERCIAL RESTRICTIONS. 57
Europe could produce for export, and thus every part of
Europe was interested in this fleet, as their manufactures
were thus distributed in the New World. Spain itself
sent out little more than wine and fruit; this, with the
freight and the commission to the merchants, and the
duty to the King, was almost the only advantage that
the mother country derived from the commerce with the
This is easily accounted for, from the fact that Spain had,
at this time, few or no manufactures, and as she had no
goods of her own to send to the colonies, she passed such
laws and restrictions as made the whole of Europe one
vast storehouse for her, to which she acted as broker,
charging commission nominally both ways, to the con-
sumer and the manufacturer; but, in truth, it was the
overtaxed consumer, the colonist, who paid the commis-
sion; and as the colonist began to realise this fact, so
gradually did Spain find her colonies seeking to render
themselves independent of her.
In the early days of the New World colonies, all these
fleets made the harbour of St Domingo city their haven,
in passing to and from Spain, as at that time this was
the only strongly and regularly fortified place belonging
to that power in the New World.
With the conquest of Cuba, Jamaica, Peru, and Mexico,
this arrangement was changed, and the fleets, on their
return, almost entirely stopped at the city of Havana,
loaded with everything the colonies produced; and here
congregated the galleons, the flota, and the register ships,
preparatory to their return to Spain.
The register ships originated from the illicit commerce
that sprang up by Spain's prohibiting all intercourse with
strangers; they were registered, with all the effects em-
barked in them, in the books of the Chamber of Com-
merce at Seville.
It was this sort of commerce that induced the English
and the Dutch to step in without waiting for a license;
and, with the connivance of the Governors of the different
colonies, they all made money.
This practice became finally so flagrant and glaring,
that the home authorities sent new Governors with precise
orders; and with these came the "guardia costas," or
guardships, which, from being established at first for a
just and legal purpose, finally made trouble by becoming
privateers, and preying upon the commerce of all nations,
ending in open war between the powers.
With all these plans to control the trade of the colonies,
it would be supposed that every effort would have been
made to encourage emigration and increase the value of the
colonial lands; but so far from this being the case, cer-
tainly, as regards St Domingo, a few years after its dis-
covery and settlement, restrictions were made, and per-
mission had first to be asked of the Board of Trade before
emigrants could go out there. Almost every article going
into or coming out of the island paid a duty, hindrance
even being made to domestic trade; for the principal one
of cattle-selling, in the time of the French, had to pay its
share of taxes and fees to officials, who occupied their posi-
tions, not to further the interests of the island, but to look
out for their own profit.
It is very certain that all these restrictions on emigra-
tion and commerce had a great deal to do with the decline
in the prosperity of St Domingo; for all these laws being
enacted at a time when new countries were being opened
up, adventurers thought it more easy to seek rapid fortunes
in the conquest of those places, than to await them by the
slow and restricted processes of agriculture and trade in
In the early period of its history, the population had
.been increased by the crowds of Spaniards who, in-
satiable for gold, crowded here from the mother country
when expeditions were fitted out for the conquest of
EMIGRATION PROHIBITED. 59
Cuba, Porto Rico, Trinidad, and St Marguerite. Yet
the very influence that brought such hosts of these ad-
venturers to this island was the one that assisted more
effectually than any other in depopulating it; for the
discovery of the gold mines of Mexico and Peru, the
glowing accounts of which had come first to St Do-
mingo, tempted the largest part of its inhabitants, par-
ticularly the young and adventurous, to seek in those
regions for adventures, glory, and riches, the fabulous
accounts of which had fired the hearts of a people who
seem to have had as second nature that love of adventure
which has tended so much to gild with glory the crown of
Most of the noted expeditions of the time being fitted
out from the port of St Domingo, it was not long before
tre island threatened to become entirely depopulated, such
were the numbers who sought a part in these expeditions;
and so alarming did this emigration become, that the
Emperor Charles the Fifth issued orders against the emi-
grating of families as well as the recruiting of men on the
island. Means were found by those who wished to evade
these commands ; and it is stated that some of the richest
families found it to their interest to seek, with their means
and capital, larger fields of enterprise in the new countries
Up to 1540, the period when this decline began in the
affairs of St Domingo, it seems like romance to read the
accounts of the comings and the goings of the immense
fleets of vessels which were constantly arriving and de-
parting to and from the mother country and the settle-
ments in America, with their products.
Some of the mines, when at first worked, had pro-
duced so much silver, that a mint had been established
at the capital, where money was struck off the same as
in Spain; and in the products of the soil, then mostly
new to the Old World, such as cotton, sugar, tobacco,
I~LCI r- I r
____- _-^______ -r___-___.-._c
60 SANTO DOMINGO.
ginger, &c., additional sources of riches were found; add
to which the large number of hides produced by the im-
mense herds of cattle then scattered over the island, had
produced a commerce at that time which at no period since
has reached the same extent.
The traveller to-day, who traverses the streets of the
present city of St Domingo, deserted and decayed as they
are, as he looks at the immense structures, the solid walls,
and the ruins of former greatness, finds himself wondering
what has become of those incentives to enterprise which
were the origin of the foundation of such a city. From
this period to the time when Drake landed, there seems
to be little of general importance occurring in the island,
other than a series of misfortunes; for the labour of the
? .... .- I _
mines was reduced to most nothing, while the a
I" n 1." *:" -. I"
Y, -} : ----k -;.t | '.-3 -- -r
An old street in St Domingo city.
mines was reduced to almost nothing, while the agri-
culture was followed in detached portions only; for the
colonists, seduced away by the reports of famous riches
on the continent of America, still continued to emigrate.
DRAKE'S EXPEDITION. 61
In 1568 the limited amount of products raised consisted
of cotton, sugar, and tobacco, the results of the labours
of a few Indians still surviving, as also a few Africans,
while the commerce was limited to a few sticks of Brazil
wood; when a trade sprang up with the Dutch, which in
time would doubtless have helped the colony much, but
just at this juncture the English appeared on the.coast, to
give a new turn to affairs for a time.
Queen Elizabeth of England, being determined to de-
stroy the preponderance of, Spanish power in the West
Indies, sent out, in 1586, an expedition under Sir Francis
Drake, to do all the harm he could, as well to the com-
merce, as to the possessions of Spain in that part of the
world. Acting under these instructions, Drake landed on
62 SANTO DO l GO.
the shores of St Domingo, and succeeded in getting
possession of the town. The subjoined account, being
that of an eye-witness, affords us some quaint infor-
mation as to the condition of this famous city and the
mode of warfare at that time. I give it in the original
"By the way we met a: small frigate bound for the
same place; in her was found one by whom we were adver-
tised the haven to be a barred haven, and the shore or
land thereof to be well fortified, having a castle thereupon,
furnished with great store of artillery; without the danger
whereof was no convenient landing-place within ten Eng-
lish miles of the city, to which the said pilot took upon
himself to conduct us . .
"Our general having seen us all landed in safety, re-
turned to his fleet, bequeathing us to God and the good
conduct of Mr Carliell, our Lieut.-General, at which time,
being about eight of the clock, we began to march, and about
noon-time, or towards one of the clock, we approached
the town, where the gentlemen and those of the better
sort, being some hundred and fifty brave heroes, or rather
more, began to present themselves; but our small shot
played upon them, which were so sustained by good pro-
portion of pikes in all parts; as they, finding no part of
our troop unprepared to receive them (for you must under-
stand they viewed all round about), they were thus driven
to give us leave to proceed towards the two gates of the
town, which were the next to the seaward.
"They had manned them both, and planted their ord-
nance for that present and sudden alarm without the gate,
and also some troops of small shot in ambuscade upon the
We divided our force, being some thousand or twelve
hundred men, into two parts to enterprise both the gates
at one instant; the Lieut.-General having openly avowed
to Captain Powell (who led the troops that entered the
--_-> = : ~ `;- _-
I _I A.
I.__ _.. -' ..... .'- _. -, .- -" ... ... '' - " [ - '
,j .._ -.*r ri '. p . '' -,
I f",'~"-,ls/ 'e~~
OLD SANTO DOMINGO CITY.
DRAKE'S EXPEDITION. 63
other gate), that, with God's good favour, he would not
rest until our meeting in the market-place.
"Their ordnance had no sooner discharged upon our
near. approach, and made some execution amongst us,
though not much, but the Lieut.-General began forthwith
to advance both his voice of encouragement and pace of
marching; the first man that was slain with the ordnance
being very near unto himself, and thereupon hasted all that
he. might to keep them from recharging the ordnance.
"And notwithstanding their ambuscadoes, we marched,
or rather ran, so roundly into them, as pell-mell we entered
the gates, and gave them more care, every man to save
himself by flight, than reason to stand any longer to their
broken fight. We forthwith repaired to the market-place,
but, to be more truly understood, a place of very fair,
spacious, square ground before the great church; whither
also came, as had been agreed, Captain Powell with the
other troop; which place, with some part next unto it, we
strengthened with barricades, and there, as the most con-
venient place, assured ourselves; the city being far too
spacious for so small and weary a troop to undertake to
Somewhat after midnight, they who had the guard
of the castle, hearing us busy about the gates of the said
castle, abandoned the same; some being taken prisoners,
and some flying away by the help of boats to the other
side of the haven, and so into the country.
"The next day we quartered a little more at large, but
not into the half part of the town; and so making sub-
stantial trenches, and planting all the ordnance that each
part was correspondent to the other, we held this town
the space of one month.
In which time it chanced that the General sent on his
messages to the Spaniards a negro boy with a flag of
white, signifying truce, as is the Spaniard's ordinary man- .
ner to. do there; which boy unhappily was first met with
64 SANTO DOMINGO.
some who furiously struck the poor boy through the body
with one of their horsemen's staves, with which wound
the boy returned to the General, and after he had declared
the manner of this wrongful cruelty, died forthwith in
his presence; wherewith the General, being greatly pas-
sioned, commanded the provost-marshal to cause a couple
of friars, then prisoners, to be carried to the same place
where the boy was struck, "accompanied with sufficient
guard, and there presently to be hanged, despatching at
the same time another poor prisoner, with the reason
wherefore this execution was done, and with the message,
that until the party who had thus murdered the General's
messenger were delivered into our hands, there should no
day pass wherein there should not two prisoners be hanged,
until they were all consumed which were in our hands. . .
Upon disagreements with their commissioners, we still
spent the early mornings in firing the outmost houses;
but they, being built very magnificently of stone, with
high lofts, gave us no small travail to ruin them.
And albeit for eleven days together we ordained each
morning by daybreak, until the heat began at nine o'clock,
that two hundred mariners did nought else but labour to fire
and burn the said houses, without our trenches, while the
soldiers stood their guard. Yet did we not, nor could not,
in this time, consume so much as one-third part of the
town. And so, in the end, what wearied with firing, and
what hastened by some other respects, we were contented
to accept of five-and-twenty thousand ducats (about 30,000
dollars) for the ransom of the rest of the town."
Five years subsequent to this, the English again com-
mitted depredations, doing injury to other towns upon the
coast; and the effect of these combined misfortunes was,
that the entire population of the island was reduced to
less than 14,000 inhabitants, not including some 1200 run-
away negroes, who were encamped in the inaccessible parts
of the island.
It was thus, from these attacks, that the island rapidly
receded in prosperity; for, in addition to the effects on
land, the waters of the Spanish Main were filled with
vessels bearing roving commissions to prey upon the
commerce of nations not at peace with those represented
by the banners flying at their masts. From this cause
intercourse between Spain and her colonies became very
difficult, and particularly so with St Domingo, to which
this connection was more desirable and necessary than
it was to the mother country, and the trade between the
two became almost extinct; for it was only once in two or
three years, at most, that a few ships were seen in the
port of St Domingo city. Its only external relations were
with Mexico; and had it not been for foreigners, the Dutch
in particular, the colony would have sunk under the misery
which it so long groaned under.
Encouraged by these people, who were anxious to ex-
change their products and manufactures for the hides,
cattle, and produce of the island, the Dominicans entered
largely into a contraband trade at the towns on the coast.
The Court of Madrid, entirely unmoved at this con-
dition of affairs, which had arisen in great degree
from its own want of administration, and jealous of the
interference of any other nation in its trade, shut up,
in 1606, all these ports except St Domingo city, and
ordered the inhabitants thereof to the interior, where,
erecting cabins for themselves, they became only indifferent
agriculturists, while their former habitations were de-
molished. This was another signal for the emigration of
numerous families from the island, and such a state of
affairs resulted from this, that the authorities of the time
state, that the fields were uncultivated, and the farms
were depopulated; the houses were going to ruin, with
closed doors, their occupants having deserted them; the
duties and taxes that could be collected for the Govern-
ment amounted to absolutely nothing; and to these num-
Ip~l-- ~- ~__~_~trl_-----
SANdTO DO OIINGO.
berless evils, the island began to be raided on by the
buccaneers. But the appearance of these people in the
history of St Domingo is of such importance, that I shall
devote a chapter to them especially.
While events of this nature were taking place in the
western part, there was hardly anything worthy of men-
tion occurring in the other portion of the Spanish part,
which was already sunk into-decay, when the declaration
of war in 1654 against Spain by Oliver Cromwell gives a
new interest to the history of St Domingo, in which the
English largely figure; and the reader of English history
can refer to the details of the disastrous expedition in 1655,
sent against St Domingo, for the history of the first attempt
of England to make a permanent landing on Dominican
This expedition consisted of a squadron under com-
mand of Admiral Penn, having on board 9000 men under
the command of General Venables, which, having arrived
off the city of St Domingo, April 1655, was divided into
two bodies, for the purpose of attacking two different
The Spaniards made a united and strong resistance, lead-
ing the English into ambuscades, and with such success,
that the troops were thrown into disorder, and compelled
to retire; and the expedition having signally failed in its
object, left the coast of the island for Jamaica.
Penn and Venables, on their return to England, were
imprisoned by Cromwell, and their conduct being investi-
gated, they were liberated from prison, but disgraced for
their want of skill and success.*
Walton gives an amusing account of the manner in which the defeat
of the English was brought about. He says, The landcrabs found here are of
an immense size, burrow in the sand, and at night issue out in great num-
bers. On the above occasion, the English landed an ambuscade to surprise
the Spanish camp, which being unprepared, and consisting of irregulars, had
it been pushed, must have certainly fallen.
"The advanced line from the first boats had already formed, and was
FEAST OF THE CRABS. 67
proceeding to take post behind a copse, when they heard the loud and quick
clatter of horses' feet, and, as they supposed, of the Spanish lancemen,
who are dexterous, and whose galling onset they had experienced the day
before. Thus believing themselves discovered, and dreading an attack before
their comrades had joined, they embarked precipitately, and abandoned their
enterprise ; but the alarm proved to be these large landcrabs, which, at the
sound of footsteps, receded to their holes, the noise being made by their
clattering over the dry leaves, which the English soldiers mistook for the
sound of cavalry.
In honour of this miracle a feast was instituted, and celebrated each year,
under the name of Feast of the Crabs, on which occasion a solid gold landerab
was carried about in procession."