A day like today but with 526 years of difference, on December 5, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered The Americas. During his first trip, aboard the Three Caravels: Santa María, La Pinta and La Niña, he arrived at the island of Quisqueya, name that the indigenous Taínos gave to the insula baptized by Columbus as La Española, that today It serves as a seat for the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Upon his arrival Columbus and his companions found the island inhabited by a large population of Taíno Indians, who called it Ayti or Hayti (mountainous land or high ground). By then, the island was inhabited by Tainos or Arawaks, and divided into five cacicazgos: Marién, Maguá, Jaragua, Higüey and Maguana, each of which was led by a cacique.
On his first trip, Columbus established a settlement on the north coast, which he called the Fort of Christmas (having been on December 25). To establish this fort, he used the remains of the Santa María caravel, which crashed into a coral reef and sank.
The large deposits of gold motivated the establishment of settlements, the first of which was founded in 1493 in La Isabela.
The arrival of Christopher Columbus to Isla Saona was on September 14, 1494, on his second trip, and he called it Bella Savonesa, in honor of the savona Michele da Cuneo, the first to realize that it was an island different from the so-called La Española, the current Dominican Republic. The natives, who had always called her Adamanay, found it difficult to pronounce the new name, so it ended up being called Isla Saona.
It is said that at that time Cotubanamá, the indigenous chief of this region, took refuge in one of the caves of this island fleeing the massacres of the Spanish conquistadors, although unfortunately they ended up finding him. Although there is little indigenous left on this island, the place is still as virgin and authentic as before and its inhabitants have managed to preserve the environment in an enviable way.
The Tainos were subjected to slavery and for the next 25 years almost to the point of total disappearance. The relations between the natives and the Spaniards deteriorated due to the mistreatment to which the former were subjected. The Indians will reveal themselves although they were definitively submitted in 1495.
Bartolomé, the brother of Columbus, was appointed governor of La Española and, in 1496, founded the City of Santo Domingo.
Santo Domingo quickly became the most representative of the Spanish Royal Crown and, later, in a city of great influence and power.
The island of Hispaniola remained under Spanish control until 1697, when the western part of the island became a French possession that, in 1804, was transformed into the Republic of Haiti, called “Saint Domingue” by the French.
Do you want to rediscover the paradise hidden in Isla Saona? We take you!