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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    Photo Gallery - Cities

    La cara maritima de la Villa de Santo Domingo. Las nuevas ciudades.

    The conquest of America was the result of a process of expansion on the part of European society. This expansion, protected by a scientific community that emerged during the Renaissance, was influenced by the numerous religious schisms of the time. The Spanish conquerors were also aware of their role of consolidating the elements of newly emerging capitalism. Spain projected toward the new territories the impulse that originated as a result of the expulsion of the Moors, having behind them the consequences of the Crusades that united European territory in the name of God. Germany, France and other kingdoms and settlements allied themselves with Spain through their common faith.

      Colonial House on the Corner.This Spanish enthusiasm, strengthened by the unification of Iberian territory, didn’t just bring men then later women over to their new lands…these newcomers brought their own culture and imposed it upon the native people of the new world. This included institutions, customs and even the contradictory aspects of their society such as an antagonism toward the religion and beliefs of the people whom they “discovered.” They eliminated native religious customs, ignored their heritage and made no effort to comprehend or interpret them.

    As a result, Spanish colonization is an undecipherable mixture of venture capitalism and the medieval crusades carried across the ocean to the Caribbean. Their profitable undertaking was sustained by enslaving the native population and exploiting and extracting all available local natural resources (spices and others). These would serve as a substitute, at this early phase in their conquest, for the precious minerals that would soon become Spain’s motive to loot and plunder Peru and Mexico. Press to enlarge photo
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      Cliffs of Montecristi. The . Over every part of the territory “discovered” by the Spanish, they proceeded to build fortifications and populate them with adventurers who were ready and willing to do Spain’s bidding and then some. These settlements, in time, spread out and became their own expansionist sub-cultures that engaged in their own brand of social engineering by giving social status through economic means and dividing society through separation.

    Urban neighborhood rules and criteria were imported from Cadiz and Seville by way of, and enforced by, Spanish law relegated through political power and influence of the Spanish crown. The city was a landmark for envoys of the Spanish crown. For that reason, they were in a hurry to establish cities. Between 1496-98 and 1630 it was the Spanish alone who founded 295 small towns and cities, many of which still exist today. Others, unfortunately, disappeared.

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      The foundation.. Five hundred years ago, a group of Spanish colonizers declared the establishment of a settlement in a place inhabited by aboriginal Tainos on an island called the “mother of all the earth.” It was the second Spanish settlement in the New World (the first was called Isabela) and the oldest still functioning today. It was known as “the villa of Santo Domingo,” located in the center of the country near the mouth of the Ozama River on the Antilles archipelago.
    This is said to have occurred on August 4th between 1496 and 1498. The disagreement on the exact year was the result of a seminal debate among historians who took into account when they believed it should have happened in order to reach their decision. This was the rehearsal for the beginning of the most important phenomena of the 16th century: the drawing up of foundational guidelines that would be used for the creation and style of new cities following the European matrix in the Americas. From the beginning, these guidelines were to be based on the logic of Spanish penetration on the American continent.

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      El balconcete .The location of the first settlement was problematic. There was little and to drinking water as well as difficult access to the Ozama River. This is very likely to have been the motivation for the move of the city to the west of the country exactly adjacent to another settlement where access to abundant drinking water was a question of climbing down a sloping hillside to a river. Another reason that may have forced the move was a hurricane that hit the villa.
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      Casa Vernacula. Before that, other practical archeologists (Elpidio Ortega y Fernando Luna Calderón) had found vestiges of this ancient subsistence culture in the area around “Molinos Dominicanos,” that is to say where the first foundations of the city were laid.
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      Stone walls. The aboriginals, not regarded as human beings, were immediately enslaved and forced to work in the stone quarries of Santa Barbara, an area abundant in calcareous stones which were used to build many of the nearly indestructible monuments that still fascinate students and tourists today.
    Many of these constructions were the result of backbreaking and brutal work done by the natives. The archeological excavations carried out on many of the monuments in the surrounding areas are a testament to the presence of a native community in what is currently Santo Domingo. The Canadian architect, Pierre Denis, found the remains of an oven used by the aboriginals to prepare bread and “casaba” in what is now the foundation of the School of Bellas Artes, on the north-east corner of Del Conde and Isabel la Catolica Streets.

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      Mud Brick Walls. The mud brick and wooden tower was the first thing to be built, then came the government office with its institutions including the military as well as municipal. A large shop and the homes of prominent people were then built out from durable materials. Today only the archeological remains are left, among them a cylindrical structure, a well or a tower and a small shrine dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary.
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