Fertile Soil (Sugar)
The history of Island of Hispaniola is written in blood. The colony of Hispañola (Anglized as "Hispaniola") was the first Spanish colony in the New World which later became the Dominican Republic. Originally known as "La Española", the colony was reorganized in 1605 as Santo Domingo in response to French presence on Tortuga in the western part of the island. After years of struggles with the French, the Spanish remained in control permanently of the eastern two-thirds of the island. It played a significant role in the establishment Spanish colonies in the New World for being a hub for Spanish Conquistadores on their way for the conquest of The Americas.
In 1501, the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand I and Isabella, first granted permission to the colonists of the Caribbean to import African slaves, which began arriving to the island in 1503. These African importees arrived with a rich and ancient culture that has had an influence second only to that of Europe on the racial, political and cultural character of the modern Dominican Republic. In 1510, the first sizable shipment, consisting of 250 Black Ladinos, arrived in Hispaniola from Spain. Eight years later African-born slaves arrived in the West Indies. Sugar cane was introduced to Hispaniola from the Canary Islands, and the first sugar mill in the New World was established in 1516. The need for a labor force to meet the growing demands of sugar cane cultivation led to an exponential increase in the importation of slaves over the following two decades. The sugar mill owners soon formed a new colonial elite, and initially convinced the Spanish king to allow them to elect the members of the Real Audiencia from their ranks. Poorer colonists subsisted by hunting the herds of wild cattle that roamed throughout the island and selling their hides.
The first major slave revolt in the Americas occurred in Santo Domingo during 1522, when enslaved Muslims of the Wolof nation led an uprising in the sugar plantation of admiral Don Diego Colon, son of Christopher Columbus. Many of these insurgents managed to escape to the mountains where they formed independent maroon communities. descended from tainos mix with runaway Africans,who reach the cacique.
While sugar cane dramatically increased Spain's earnings on the island, large numbers of the newly imported slaves fled into the nearly impassable mountain ranges in the island's interior, joining the growing communities of cimarrónes-literally, "wild animals". By the 1530s, cimarron bands had become so numerous that in rural areas the Spaniards could only safely travel outside their plantations in large armed groups. By the 1540s, the Caribbean Sea had become overrun with English, French and Dutch pirates. In 1541 Spain authorized the construction of Santo Domingo's fortified wall, and decided to restrict sea travel to enormous, well-armed caravans. In another move, which would destroy Hispaniola's sugar industry, Havana, more strategically located in relation to the Gulf Stream, was selected as the designated stopping point for the merchant flotas, which had a royal monopoly on commerce with the Americas. In 1564, the island's main inland cities Santiago de los Caballeros and Concepción de la Vega were destroyed by an earthquake.
With the conquest of the American mainland, Hispaniola quickly declined. Most Spanish colonists left for the silver-mines of Mexico and Peru, while new immigrants from Spain bypassed the island. Agriculture dwindled, new imports of slaves ceased, and white colonists, free blacks and slaves alike lived in poverty, weakening the racial hierarchy and aiding intermixing, resulting in a population of predominantly mixed taino, Spaniard and African descent. Except for the city of Santo Domingo, which managed to maintain some legal exports, Dominican ports were forced to rely on contraband trade, which, along with livestock, became the sole source of livelihood for the island dwellers. In 1586, Sir Francis Drake captured the city of Santo Domingo, collecting a ransom for its return to Spanish rule.
In 1605, Spain, unhappy that Santo Domingo was facilitating trade between its other colonies and other European powers, attacked vast parts of the colony's northern and western regions, forcibly resettling their inhabitants closer to the city of Santo Domingo. This action, known as the devastaciones, proved disastrous; more than half of the resettled colonists died of starvation or disease. French and English buccaneers took advantage of Spain's retreat into a corner of Hispaniola to settle the island of Tortuga in 1629, which France established direct control over in 1640, reorganizing it into an official colony and expanding to the north coast of Hispaniola itself. Spain ceded the western end of the island to France in 1697, under the Treaty of Ryswick. In 1655, Oliver Cromwell dispatched a fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir William Penn, to conquer the colony. After being defeated at Santo Domingo in April 30, the English retreated, taking the island of Jamaica instead.
Cabo Raphael ("Cape Raphael") was founded by smugglers using Semana Bay on the north coast of Hispaniola to avoid paying Spanish tarifs for beef and hides from the interior. Especially since those supplying the beef were more likely to be cimarrónes, Maroons who were the Spanish colony's version of the French boucaniers.
One notorious "wild one" as cimarrón translates to was "Diego el Mulato," whose Dutch name was Jacob Hendrikszoon Lucifer. Branded as a pirate by the Spanish this buccaneer was the adopted son of a Dutch captain and his wife. His father held a letter of marque from the Dutch West Indies Company to plague the Spanish. Lucifer, Diego, or Cornieles as he was all known by, followed in his father's footsteps as a privateer and then as a a pirate. First he served on his father's flagship, taking command of the vessel when his father became ill on the voyage to Holland carrying their loot. There Lucifer was promoted and even woed a Dutch woman who became his wife. When Lucifer returned to the Carribean from the Netherlands he was in command of his own ship. Eventually he rose to serve as the senior captain of a flotilla of pirate ships that hit ports throughout the Spanish Main. The story goes that the Spanish, as much as they tried, never caught Diego el Mulato.