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They contain the largest collection of 2,year-old rock art in the Caribbean. AD They engaged in farming and fishing  and hunting and gathering.
The latter's successes gained his people an autonomous enclave for a time on the island. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in the Americas occurred on Hispaniola in Soon after the largest discovery of gold in the island was made in the cordillera central region, which led to a mining boom.
By , Columbus's cousin Giovanni Columbus, had also discovered gold near Buenaventura, the deposits were later known as Minas Nuevas. The gold rush of — ensued. By , the Spanish Crown legalized the distribution of Indians to work the mines as part of the encomienda system. According to Pons, "Once the Indians entered the mines, hunger and disease literally wiped them out.
The repartimiento of accelerated emigration of the Spanish colonists, coupled with the exhaustion of the mines. In , a smallpox epidemic killed an additional 8,, of the remaining 11, Indians, in one month. By , according to Pons, "Both the gold economy and the Indian population became extinct at the same time.
In , the colony began to import African slaves. After its conquest of the Aztecs and Incas , Spain neglected its Caribbean holdings. The slaves remained and became the basis for the Dominican population.
Some rebelled and were defeated while others fled to Cuba. Only 2, livestock out of , survived in the new pasture.
One third of the people from La Yaguana and Bayaja who were settled at Bayaguana died of hunger and disease by The French were envious of Spain 's possessions in the Americas, and thus sent colonists to settle the northwestern coast of Hispaniola.
In order to domesticate the buccaneers , the French supplied them with women who had been taken from prisons, accused of prostitution and thieving. After decades of armed struggles with the French, Spain ceded the western coast of the island to France with the Treaty of Ryswick , whilst the Central Plateau remained under Spanish domain.
France created a wealthy colony there, while the Spanish colony suffered an economic decline. The sweltering heat soon felled many of the northern European invaders. The Spanish defenders, having had time to prepare an ambush for the aimlessly thrashing, mosquito-swatting newcomers, sprang on them with mounted lancers , sending them careening back toward the beach in utter confusion.
The French attacked Santiago in , and this was followed by a devastating hurricane the next year and a smallpox epidemic that killed about 1, in In , the Spaniards captured the fort at Petit-Goave, but the French fought back and hanged their leaders.
Island tensions subsided once peace was restored and Spain's last Habsburg monarch—the deformed invalid Charles II—died on 30 November , being succeeded by the sixteen-year-old French Bourbon princeling Philip of Anjou.
The crown progressively relaxed the rigid controls and restrictions on commerce between Spain and the colonies and among the colonies. The last flotas sailed in ; the monopoly port system was abolished shortly thereafter.
By the middle of the century, the population was bolstered by emigration from the Canary Islands , resettling the northern part of the colony and planting tobacco in the Cibao Valley , and importation of slaves was renewed.
The colony of Santo Domingo saw a population increase during the 17th century, as it rose to about 91, in Of this number approximately 38, were white landowners, 38, were free mixed people of color, and some 15, were slaves.
In our veins runs the blood of the heroic conquistadores who won this island of ours with sword and blood. When the War of Jenkins' Ear between Spain and Britain broke out in , Spanish privateers , particularly from Santo Domingo, began to troll the Caribbean Sea, a development that lasted until the end of the eighteenth century.
During this period, Spanish privateers from Santo Domingo sailed into enemy ports looking for ships to plunder, thus harming commerce with Britain and New York.
As a result, the Spanish obtained stolen merchandise—foodstuffs, ships, enslaved persons—that were sold in Hispaniola's ports, with profits accruing to individual sea raiders.
The revenue acquired in these acts of piracy was invested in the economic expansion of the colony and led to repopulation from Europe. Domingue offered the principal market for Santo Domingo's exports of beef, hides, mahogany, and tobacco. With the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution in , the rich urban families linked to the colonial bureaucracy fled the island, while most of the rural hateros cattle ranchers remained, even though they lost their principal market.
Although the population of Spanish Santo Domingo was perhaps one-fourth that of French Saint-Domingue, this did not prevent the Spanish king from launching an invasion of the French side of the island in , attempting to take advantage of the chaos sparked by the French Revolution.
Although the Spanish military effort went well on Hispaniola, it did not so in Europe see War of the Pyrenees. As a consequence, Spain was forced to cede Santo Domingo to the French under the terms of the Treaty of Basel July 22, in order to get the French to withdraw from Spain.
French rule French and British ships fighting at the battle of Santo Domingo In , Toussaint Louverture , who at least in theory represented imperial France, marched into Santo Domingo from Saint-Domingue to enforce the terms of the treaty.
Toussaint's army committed numerous atrocities; as a consequence, the Spanish population fled from Santo Domingo in exodus proportions. French control of the former Spanish colony passed from Toussaint Louverture to Gen. Charles Leclerc when he seized the city of Santo Domingo in early Following the defeat of the French under Gen.
He invaded the Spanish side of the island, defeated the French-led Spanish colonials at River Yaque del Sur, and besieged the capital on March 5, At the same time, the Haitian General Christophe marched north through Cibao, capturing Santiago where he massacred prominent individuals who had sought refuge in a church.
The arrival of small French squadrons off the Haitian coast at Goncaives and at Santo Domingo forced the Haitians to withdraw. As Christophe retreated across the island, he slaughtered and burned.
The Spaniards not only tried to re-establish slavery in Santo Domingo, but many of them also mounted raiding expeditions into Haiti to capture blacks and enslave them as well. This period is also known as the Ephemeral independence.
In order to raise funds for the huge indemnity of million francs that Haiti agreed to pay the former French colonists, and which was subsequently lowered to 60 million francs, the Haitian government imposed heavy taxes on the Dominicans.
Since Haiti was unable to adequately provision its army, the occupying forces largely survived by commandeering or confiscating food and supplies at gunpoint.
Attempts to redistribute land conflicted with the system of communal land tenure terrenos comuneros , which had arisen with the ranching economy, and some people resented being forced to grow cash crops under Boyer and Joseph Balthazar Inginac 's Code Rural.
It was in the city of Santo Domingo that the effects of the occupation were most acutely felt, and it was there that the movement for independence originated.