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Santo Domingo by Otto Schoenrich

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chapel and two or three huts in 1820, but attained more importance
when slaves freed by the Haitians on the surrounding sugar estates
settled there.

_Bani_ is a pretty little town founded in 1764 and situated about 39
miles west of Santo Domingo, between the foothills and the sea. Its
chief pride is that it was the birthplace of Maximo Gomez, the famous
warrior for Cuban independence. Gomez became a major in the Spanish
army, fought against his countrymen during the War of the Restoration
and abandoned Santo Domingo with the Spaniards, but this record has
been forgiven by the Dominicans in view of his later services in
behalf of Cuba libre.

_Bayaguana_ and _Monte Plata_, about 30 and 28 miles northeast of
Santo Domingo, respectively, were both founded in 1606 for the
settlement of residents of coast towns destroyed in order to stop
smuggling, the former receiving the inhabitants of Bayajá and Yaguana,
the latter those of Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata. The church of
Bayaguana is visited by many pilgrims who come to adore an image of
Christ to which miracles are attributed.

Other villages of the province are: _San Lorenzo de los Minas_, 3
miles northeast of Santo Domingo, first settled in 1719 by negroes of
the Minas tribe, refugees from French Santo Domingo; _San Antonio de
Guerra_, situated in the plains 19 miles northeast of the capital;
_Boyá_, 32 miles northeast of the capital, founded in 1533 by
Enriquillo, the last Indian chief and by the last survivors of the
Indians of the island: it contains an old church of composite
aboriginal Gothic architecture, in which the remains of Enriquillo and
of his wife Doña Mencia are believed to rest; _Mella_, 7 miles, and
_La Victoria_, 12 miles north of the capital; _Yamasá_, 30 miles
northwest of Santo Domingo; and _Sábana Grande_, or _Palenque_, 22
miles west of the city.


_San Pedro de Macorís_, about 45 miles east of Santo Domingo City, is
one of the most modern and flourishing cities of the Republic. In
1885 it was merely a small fishing village, about that time sugar
plantations began to be established in the surrounding plains and the
town commenced to grow. To-day there are pretty houses, the streets
are clean and in good repair, the plaza has a handsome park and the
whole city wears a prosperous look. There are busy scenes on the
modern docks and in the harbor. Around Macoris, as in other parts of
the Republic, there are large numbers of beautiful graceful cocoanut
palms and royal palms.

The Province of Macoris is small and contains but one other town
worthy of mention, namely, _San José de los Llanos_, about 15 miles
northeast of Macoris, founded in the plains in the eighteenth century.


_Santa Cruz del Seibo_, 74 miles northeast of Santo Domingo, was
originally founded by Juan de Esquivel in 1502, but being destroyed by
an earthquake in 1751, was moved to its present location, to the north
of its old site. It lies in the center of a region devoted to cacao
planting and stockraising. The town has a pretty church, and is
celebrated in Dominican history as having instigated the reconquest
for Spain in 1808 and as having been the home and bulwark of General
Pedro Santana, who was idolized by the Seibanos.

_Salvaleón de Higüey_, the easternmost city of the Republic, situated
31 miles southeast of Seibo, was also founded by Juan de Esquivel in
the days of Ovando. Its church contains a picture of Our Lady of
Altagracia, to which miracles are ascribed and which attracts pilgrims
from all parts of Santo Domingo and Haiti.

Other towns are _Hato Mayor_, 18 miles west of Seibo; _Ramón Santana_,
formerly called _Guaza_, 19 miles south-west of Seibo; _La Romana_,
on the coast 25 miles south of Seibo, with rapidly expanding sugar
estates; and _El Jovero_, a hamlet on the coast near the eastern end
of Samana Bay.


_Santa Bárbara de Samaná_, 78 miles northeast of the capital of the
Republic, is built on a cove on the north side of Samana Bay. The
protected character of the inlet made it a favorite resort for pirates
in the seventeenth century, and beginning with 1673, French buccaneers
made several attempts to settle here but were driven out by the
Spanish authorities. The town was definitely settled in 1756 by
families from the Canary Islands. In the town and neighborhood live
many English-speaking negroes, descendants of those who were brought
from the United States by the Haitian President Boyer about 1825.

A larger town is _Sánchez_ at the western end of Samana Bay,
twenty-five miles from the town of Samana. In 1886 there was here a
tiny hamlet, known as _Las Canitas_, but on becoming the terminus of
the railroad from La Vega, the name of Sanchez, a hero of Dominican
independence, was given it, and the town rapidly grew in size. Its
dwellings are scattered over two ridges of land divided by a deep
valley. On one of the ridges the houses are pretty one-story buildings
with gardens in front. The beautiful grounds surrounding the house of
the general manager of the Samana-Santiago Railroad are situated on a
height overlooking the sparkling expanse of Samana Bay and give a
suggestion of the possibilities of landscape gardening in Santo
Domingo. Colored families from St. Thomas and the British West Indies
and descendants of American negroes make up a considerable proportion
of the population, so that more English is heard here than Spanish.

On the south side of Samana Bay is the small village of _Sábana de la
Mar_, commonly known as _Sábana la Mar_, founded by Canary Islanders
in 1756. There are many stories of pirates' buried gold in
this region.


_San Francisco de Macoris_, the capital of the province, is about 85
miles northwest of Santo Domingo City and occupies the site of a fort
established by Ovando in 1504 and known as the fort of La Magdalena.
It was founded in 1774 around a chapel dedicated to St. Ann which
stood on a ranch called San Francisco. Lying in a fertile district
formerly devoted to tobacco and now one of the chief cacao regions of
the island, it is a town of considerable business. It is also called
_Macoris del Norte_, to distinguish it from San Pedro de Macoris,
which is called Macoris del Este.

_Villa Rivas_, on the Samana-Santiago Railroad, 19 miles from Samana
bay, was formerly called Almacén, or Storehouse, because here was
situated, before the railroad was built, a warehouse for the storage
of merchandise imported and exported by way of Samana and the
Yuna river.

The other towns, all of recent foundation, are _Matanzas_, a fishing
village on the edge of a cacao district on the northeast coast, and
three villages named after heroes of the War of Restoration: _Cabrera_
on the coast at Tres Amarras point; _Castillo_, 8 miles west of Rivas;
and _Pimentel_, formerly called _Barbero_, a station on the
Samana-Santiago Railroad and the center of an important cacao zone.


_Concepción de la Vega_, capital of the province and one of the most
important cities of the Royal Plain, is 90 miles from Santo Domingo
City. The old town of Concepción de la Vega was founded by Columbus in
1495 at the foot of the eminence known as Santo Cerro and at the place
of residence of the Indian chief Guarionex. It quickly attained such
importance that in 1508 it was declared a city and endowed with a coat
of arms, and in the same year a bishopric was erected there, which
was, however, in 1527 merged with the bishopric of Santo Domingo. An
earthquake overthrew its fine buildings in 1564 and the city was
thereupon relocated at a distance of three miles on the bank of the
Camu. The site of the old city is now private property and is
overgrown with tropical vegetation. Moss-grown foundation walls
protrude from the ground; a mass of brickwork some twenty feet high
and having the form of a blockhouse chimney remains of the old church;
and part of the circular tower erected at the corner of the fort of
Columbus, well provided with loop-holes for muskets, still remains
standing. In desultory excavations made at different times small
objects such as ancient spurs, stirrups and coins have been found.

The new city led a languishing existence until it became the interior
terminus of the Samana-Santiago Railroad which gave it a great
impetus. It is regularly laid out, the streets are fairly wide and a
majority of the houses are built of brick. The city has a pretty plaza
laid out as a garden, a new market building, a theater, and like every
other town of importance in Santo Domingo, a club. At the entrance to
the town is a bronze statue of Gregorio Rivas, a progressive merchant
and philanthropist of this region, who died twenty years ago.

The feature of the city which attracts the traveler's attention
unfavorably is the neglect of the city streets. During the dry season
the lack of pavements does not matter but when the rains come the rich
loam turns to a deep black mud. Along most streets there are narrow
sidewalks, but where there are none, or where it is necessary to cross
to the other side, the mode of progress is by hop, skip and jump from
one dry place to another--the religion of the virtuous pedestrian
being put to a severe test when after a strenuous jump he lands in a
muddy place up to his shoe tops. At some crossings thoughtful
storekeepers lay a plank of salvation for the passer-by. The city is a
great center for cacao, tobacco and coffee, and several sawmills are
kept busy cutting up pine logs from the surrounding hills.

_Cotuí_, about 31 miles southeast of La Vega, was founded by order of
Ovando in 1505, being called _Las Minas_ in the early days because of
the mines of gold, copper and other metals in the neighborhood.
_Bonao_, about 26 miles south of La Vega, was founded by order of
Columbus in 1496 to protect the mines in the nearby mountains and was
the scene of Roldan's revolt against Columbus. Both of these towns
almost disappeared when the colony declined and are now
humble villages.

Other villages are _Jarabacoa_, 18 miles southwest of La Vega;
_Constanza_, 30 miles southwest of La Vega and rarely visited by
strangers because of its isolation among the mountains, near the
beautiful valley of Constanza; _Cevicos_, also hidden in the
mountains, 12 miles southeast of Cotui; and _Santo Cerro_, 3 miles
north of La Vega, on a hill which commands a magnificent view of the
Royal Plain.


_Moca_, also called _Espaillat_, 100 miles northwest of Santo Domingo
City, is a thriving city. It was the scene of the "Moca massacre" in
1805, when the Haitian general Christophe, having guaranteed the
safety of the inhabitants, induced them to return from their hiding
places in the mountains and assemble in the church to the number of
five hundred in order to hold a mass of thanksgiving, whereupon they
were massacred by the Haitian soldiers. In more recent history it has
been taken and retaken many times during revolutions and in 1899 was
the scene of the killing of President Heureaux. Its houses are mostly
one story in height and many are built of brick, while picturesque
huts of the poor surround the town. Gutters have been constructed in
the principal streets, but the possibilities of paving have by no
means been exhausted. The town sustains two churches, one on the
outskirts, and another with a peculiar square tower, on the plaza. The
inhabitants take pride in their pretty flower-grown plaza and in the
elaborate portal of their cemetery.

The other town of the province is _Salcedo_, formerly called _Juana
Núñez_, 7 miles east of Moca in a rich cacao district.


_Santiago de los Caballeros_, Santiago of the Gentlemen, 115 miles
northwest of Santo Domingo, was founded as a military station on a
bluff of the Yaque River about 1497 by order of Bartholomew Columbus,
and settled in 1504 by thirty knights, from which circumstance it
derives its name. It received many settlers from the old town of
Isabela, was given a coat of arms in 1508, reached a flourishing
state, and was destroyed in 1564 by the same earthquake which
overthrew La Vega. Its inhabitants then removed to the present site,
about six miles east of the location of the old city, the ruins of
which are still to be seen. The city was burned three times by the
French buccaneers during their struggles with the Spanish colonial
authorities and later by the Haitian general Christophe on the
occasion of the retreat of the emperor Dessalines in 1805. It had
again attained importance when it was destroyed by an earthquake in
1842. Once more it was reduced to ashes in 1863 at the outbreak of the
War of the Restoration. To-day Santiago is one of the richest and most
flourishing cities of the island and has aspirations to become the
capital of the Republic, so that an intense rivalry exists with Santo
Domingo. The streets are regular and clean and a general repair has
been commenced. There are important business houses and well-stocked
bazaars and the market place is one of the busiest in the country.

The plaza in the center of the city has a handsome garden established
by popular subscription, and gay with flowers and palms. Two churches
are on the plaza, the larger of which has a beautiful altar. The
remains of President Heureaux are buried here, his resting place being
marked by a marble slab with the Dominican coat of arms. The
government palace fronting on the plaza is a substantial affair with
walls dating from Haitian times, and the city hall, also fronting on
the plaza, is a fine structure. In the cemetery there is a street of
beautiful mausoleums, the architecture of several being Egyptian in
style and others bearing medallions or recumbent figures of the
deceased. The volunteer fire corps of Santiago has a special lot and a
pretty monument. _San José de las Matas_, 24 miles southwest of
Santiago, is situated on a high plain in the midst of the mountains
and is surrounded by great pine forests. Its salubrious climate and
picturesque environments make it a favorite summer resort for wealthy
families of Santiago, Puerto Plata and Moca, and a health resort for
persons afflicted with stomach or lung trouble. Nearby are hot and
cold sulphur springs, the beautiful Inoa waterfall, the picturesque
confluence of the Amina and Inoa rivers and the high Rubio Peak, which
commands one of the finest panoramas in the island.

Other towns are _Valverde_, formerly _Mao_, 30 miles northwest of
Santiago; _Jânico_, 14 miles southwest of Santiago, _Esperanza_, 27
miles northwest of Santiago; and _Canton Peña_, also called
_Tamboril_, 7 miles east of Santiago and having such close social
relations with that city as to be regarded as a suburb of the same.


_Puerto Plata_, 150 miles northwest of Santo Domingo, is the most
important port of the north of the Republic. Columbus is said to have
made the plans for the streets of the town; as early as 1499 there
were settlers here; and in 1502 the city was formally founded by order
of Ovando. It enjoyed prosperity during the first years of the colony,
but in 1543 was attacked by pirates and thereafter rapidly went to
decay. The stringent laws which restricted the commerce of the island
to certain ports of the mother country encouraged contraband trade and
the place became the headquarters for smugglers. The government
endeavored to stop smuggling in 1606 by the brilliant expedient of
destroying the town and moving all the inhabitants to Monte Plata, far
in the interior of Santo Domingo province. In 1750 Puerto Plata was
populated anew and shared with Monte Cristi the advantage of the law
permitting free trade for ten years. It rapidly grew in population
until it became the most important commercial point of the Republic,
and the port of the entire Cibao region, part of which now finds an
outlet at Sanchez. It was in a flourishing state and had fine houses
when it was totally destroyed by fire in 1863, during the War of
Restoration, whether by the Spaniards or the Dominicans remains in
doubt. Prosperity again followed, many foreigners were attracted by
its commercial possibilities and to-day it is again one of the most
thriving towns of Santo Domingo.

The first thing to attract the traveler's notice is the excellent
condition of the city streets. Though the macadamized streets and the
sidewalks are narrow, they are clean, well kept and well lighted at
night. In streets, schools and public squares the city is in advance
of most of the other cities of the Republic. This is attributed to a
great extent to the presence of many cultured foreigners as well as to
the progressive natives. The inhabitants of Puerto Plata boast that
what Puerto Plata does the rest of the Republic does. They point as an
example to their plaza. Formerly the plaza of Dominican cities was a
bare, shadeless tract of ground in the center of the city. Puerto
Plata was the first to plant trees, lay out a garden and provide its
plaza with a music stand. This plaza in the center of the town is the
oldest and prettiest of the city's three public squares and is now
shaded by large, leafy trees and embellished with beautiful flowers
and varicolored bushes. On Sunday nights on this plaza and on Thursday
nights on one of the others, band concerts attract crowds of people,
young and old, who promenade to the strains of the music. The belles
of the city are very handsome and owing to the intermarriage of
natives with foreigners from all parts of the world widely different
types of beauty are to be observed at such concerts.

On one side of the principal plaza is the church, on another stand
side by side the theater, the government building, where the
provincial offices are located, and the city hall, on the first floor
of which is a well-attended school. The three principal clubs of the
city are also located in commodious quarters fronting on this plaza.
One of these clubs counts among its members most of the merchants and
staid and elderly people, another is the club of the young men and a
third is the ladies' club. The ladies' club is open only in the
afternoon and evening, but in the clubs frequented by gentlemen games
of billiards may be seen going on at almost any hour of the day.

The buildings of the city are all of modern date. Only a few
foundation walls near the ocean shore, and the old fort, remain from
former days. The old fort is situated on the point of land partly
enclosing Puerto Plata harbor and is surrounded on three sides by
buildings of the present fort. It is a large round whitewashed
structure having the appearance of a huge cheesebox; its walls are of
enormous thickness and it is now used as a jail. In former days the
inhabitants had much difficulty in obtaining drinking water, but
Puerto Plata was the first city to be provided with a general system
of water works, having been followed only recently by Santiago. The
water is brought from a stream a little over a mile away. The ride
there is a beautiful one but it goes to prove that the movement for
good thoroughfares has not yet extended to the roads. From all parts
of Puerto Plata Mt. Isabel de Torres is seen towering behind the city.
The view obtained from the slopes of the mountain, over miles of
shoreline and a broad expanse of ocean, is of indescribable grandeur.

The traveler who visits Puerto Plata carries away with him pleasant
memories of the clean city, its comfortable clubs, its hospitable
citizens and its beautiful surroundings.

Other towns of the province are _Altamira_, 18 miles southwest of
Puerto Plata, astride a hill rising in the middle of a valley of the
coast range of mountains; _Blanco_, on the coast 20 miles northwest of
Puerto Plata and 10 miles east of the site of Isabela, the first city
in the new world; and _Bajabonico_, 10 miles southwest of Puerto
Plata, a village called into being by the building of the Central
Dominican Railroad.


_San Fernando de Monte Cristi_, 196 miles northwest of Santo Domingo
City, the capital of Monte Cristi province, was founded during the
government of Ovando by sixty Spanish families, and after giving
promise of prosperity decayed with the rest of the colony. It was
supported for a time by a brisk contraband trade which sprang up with
the Dutch and other nations and to put a stop to which the town was
destroyed in 1606 like Puerto Plata and the inhabitants transferred to
Monte Plata, to the south of the central mountain range. In 1750 a
royal dispensation granted it the right to free trade with all nations
for a period of ten years and it began to attain prominence as a port,
but the wars with the Haitians, the War of Restoration with the
Spaniards and the many civil wars have retarded its progress. Only in
the last few years has it received a new impetus. The town is built
about a mile from the shore, with which it is connected by a tiny
horse car. About thirty houses are connected with a private system of
waterworks which supplies water from the Yaque river. Situated as it
is in the arid region of Santo Domingo the city bears much resemblance
to some of the western towns of the United States.

Other towns are _Guayubín_, 24 miles, _Sabaneta_, 36 miles, and
_Monción_, 46 miles southeast of Monte Cristi; and _Dajabón_, 22
miles, _Restauración_, 40 miles, and _Copey_, 12 miles southwest of
Monte Cristi. They are all small villages. Dajabon, founded towards
the middle of the eighteenth century, is situated on the east bank of
the Massacre river, which constitutes the Haitian boundary, and is one
of the inland ports of entry. Restauración is peopled largely by
French speaking negroes from Haiti.


_Azua de Compostela_, about 83 miles west of Santo Domingo City, was
founded by Diego de Velazquez in 1504 at a point four miles southwest
of its present location. It was first called Compostela after a
Galician official who held some property here, but the Indian name of
the region prevailed. Hernando Cortez, later the conqueror of Mexico,
settled here and for some five years was the notary of the town. At
first prosperous, the city soon suffered a serious decline, but was
beginning to revive when on August 18, 1751, it was entirely destroyed
by an earthquake. The inhabitants then transferred the town to its
present location on the western bank of the Via River. The ruins of
the old city are still visible near the hamlet called Pueblo Viejo,
Old Town. Azua was destroyed by fire three times in the Haitian wars:
in 1805, by order of the Haitian emperor Dessalines, in 1844 by
President Herard, and in 1849 by President Soulouque. To-day it is
the most important town in the southwestern part of the Republic.
Situated in an arid region, like Monte Cristi, it is similar to many a
town in New Mexico and Arizona, with hot, sunny, shadeless streets
beginning and ending in space, one story houses, a great plain of dark
green beyond the town and purple mountains in the distance. The houses
here are of wood or stone and with thatched or zinc roofs. There is a
large new church, the images in which seem to be very old and do not
distinguish themselves for beauty. The town is about three miles
inland from the port, but a branch of a narrow gauge plantation
railroad connects the city with the wharf and on steamer days a
passenger car makes several trips. Azua is famous throughout Santo
Domingo for its excellent "dulce de leche," a kind of milk taffy,
which is well made elsewhere in the Republic, but is better in Azua as
it is here prepared from goat's milk.

_San Juan de la Maguana_, 48 miles northwest of Azua, was founded in
1504 by Diego Velazquez in the beautiful Maguana valley where the
Indian chief Caonabo had his residence, became almost extinct in 1606,
but revived in 1764 with the establishment of new cattle ranches in
the vicinity. During the Haitian wars it was burned repeatedly. Near
the town is a curious relic of Indian times called Anacaona's circus
or "el corral de los Indios," consisting of large stones laid in a
huge circle, and in the center a strange cylindrical stone, carved
with Indian figures, which is supposed to have served as the throne of
the Indian queen Anacaona.

_Las Matas de Farfán_, 64 miles northwest of Azua, was established in
1780 and suffered greatly during the wars with the Haitians. Like the
other villages of the Maguana valley its chief industry is
stockraising. _Bánica_, 75 miles northwest of Azua, on the Haitian
frontier, was one of the towns established by Diego Velazquez in 1504.
Though an important town in the early days it decayed, and in the
beginning of the nineteenth century was abandoned entirely. During
Haitian rule it was reestablished, but upon the declaration of
Dominican independence was again abandoned for fear of Haitian
vengeance, remaining so until the War of Restoration during which it
was settled anew.

Other villages are _San José de Ocoa_, also known as _Maniel_, 18
miles northeast of Azua, founded in 1844 in a picturesque region;
_Túbano_, 34 miles northwest of Azua; _El Cercado_, 12 miles southwest
of Las Matas de Farfan; and _Comendador_, near the Haitian frontier,
13 miles west of Las Matas de Farfan, the seat of one of the inland

Dominican writers include among the towns pertaining to the Province
of Azua those situated in that part of the territory of the former
Spanish colony which is now held by Haiti. The principal towns in this
territory are _Lares de Guajaba_ or _Hincha_, to-day called _Hinche_,
which was founded in 1504 and was the birthplace of General Pedro
Santana; _Las Caobas_, founded about the middle of the eighteenth
century; _San Miguel de la Atalaya_, to-day called _St. Michel_,
founded about the same time; and _San Rafael de la Angostura_, called
_St. Raphael_ by the Haitians.


_Barahona_, 126 miles west of Santo Domingo City, became capital of
the Barahona district when a provincial government was established
there in 1881. It is a small town, which began to be settled in the
beginning of the nineteenth century, and suffered greatly during the
Haitian wars and the revolutions following them. At present its fame
is its fine coffee.

Other towns are _Enriquillo_, formerly called _Petitrú_ (Petit Trou)
on the coast 22 miles south of Barahona; _Neiba_, 32 miles northwest
of Barahona, founded a century ago and prevented from developing by
the damages it sustained first in the Haitian, then in the civil wars;
and _Duvergé_, formerly called _Las Damas_, which commands a fine view
of Lake Enriquillo with Cabras Island in the distance. In the
northwest corner of the province is the small collection of huts
called _Tierra Nueva_, and a few miles beyond, isolated in a wild
region on the frontier, the inland customhouse of _Las Lajas_.



Burial of Columbus.--Disappearance of epitaph.--Removal of remains in
1795.--Discovery of remains in 1877.--Resting place of Discoverer
of America.

The greatest pride of the Dominican people is that they are the
custodians of the mortal remains of Christopher Columbus. The same
honor is claimed by Spain, but a Dominican would consider it almost
treasonable to doubt the justice of the Dominican claim. It is a
strange freak of fate that not only should the great navigator have
been denied in life the rewards promised him, not only should the new
world he discovered have been given the name of another, but that his
very tomb is a matter of controversy. It is admitted that after his
death in Spain his remains were transferred to Santo Domingo City and
there deposited in the cathedral. In 1795, when the Spanish colony of
Santo Domingo was ceded to France, the Spaniards carried with them to
Cuba what they supposed were the remains of Columbus, and these were
in 1898 taken to Spain, but in the year 1877 another casket was
brought to light in the Santo Domingo cathedral, with inscriptions
which indicated that it contained the bones of the great Discoverer.

It was the desire of Columbus to be buried in Santo Domingo, his
favorite island. In his will, executed shortly before his death, he
called on his son Diego to found, if possible, a chapel dedicated to
the Holy Trinity, "and if this can be in the Island of Española, I
should like to have it there where I invoked the Trinity, which is in
La Vega, named Concepción." Columbus died on May 20, 1506, in
Valladolid and his body was deposited in the church of Santa Maria de
la Antigua in that city. In 1513, or perhaps before, it was
transferred to the Carthusian monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas
in Seville, where was also deposited the body of his son Diego, who
died in 1526. Diego Columbus, in his will of the year 1523, stated
that he had been unable to carry out his father's wishes, but
requested his heirs to found in the city of Santo Domingo, inasmuch as
La Vega was losing population, a nunnery dedicated to St. Clara, the
sanctuary of which was to be the burial place of the Columbus family.
His plans were modified in favor of a nobler mausoleum and his widow,
Maria de Toledo, in the name of her son Louis Columbus, applied to the
king of Spain for the sanctuary of the cathedral of Santo Domingo as a
burial place for her husband, his father and his heirs, which grant
the king made in 1537 and reiterated in 1539. A difference having
arisen with the bishop of Santo Domingo, who wished to reserve the
higher platform of the sanctuary for the interment of prelates and
cede only the lower portion to the Columbus family, the king in 1540
again reiterated his concession of the whole sanctuary. According to
the annals of the Carthusian monastery of Seville, the bodies of
Christopher Columbus and his son were taken away in 1536, and it is
probable that they were deposited in the cathedral of Santo Domingo in
1540 or 1541, after the issue of the king's third order and the
conclusion of the work on the cathedral. Where they were during the
intervening four or five years and in what year they were brought to
Santo Domingo, is not known. Las Casas, writing in 1544, states that
the remains of the Admiral were at that time buried in the sanctuary
of the cathedral of Santo Domingo. In the year 1572 Louis Columbus,
the grandson of the Discoverer, died in Oran, in Africa, and his
remains were taken to the Carthusian monastery in Seville. It is not
known when they were brought to Santo Domingo, but the transfer
probably took place in the beginning of the seventeenth century.

The early records of the Santo Domingo cathedral were burnt at the
time of Drake's invasion in 1586, and those since that year have been
so damaged by the ravages of tropical insects that little is left of
them. They make little and only passing reference to the tomb of
Columbus, and mention no monument or inscription whatever. Juan de
Castellanos, in his book "Varones Ilustres de Indias," printed in
1589, recites a Latin epitaph which he says appeared near the place
where lay the body of Columbus in Seville, but pretty Latin epitaphs
were Castellanos' weakness, and it is to be feared that this one, like
others which he dedicated to American explorers, was nothing more than
a figment of his poetic imagination. Two writers, Coleti and Alcedo,
who almost two centuries later mentioned the same epitaph as marking
the grave in Santo Domingo, must have copied from Castellanos.

Undoubtedly there was at first some inscription to mark the tomb, but
in the course of the years any slabs with inscriptions were permitted
to disappear entirely from the graves of Columbus, his son and
grandson, and the very existence of their remains in the cathedral
became a matter of tradition. It is possible that the epitaphs
disappeared at some time when the pavement of the church was renewed,
or when damages inflicted by earthquake shocks were repaired, or when
changes were made in the windows and doors about the main altar, or
when the higher altar platform was extended to reach the desks on
which lie the Gospels and Epistles. At any such times the slabs over
the burial vaults may have been broken or laid aside and never
replaced. It is also possible that they were intentionally removed in
order to guard against profanation of the tombs by enemies in time of
war or by West Indian pirates, who captured and sacked stronger cities
than Santo Domingo. In 1655 when an English fleet under Admiral
William Penn appeared before the city and landed an army under General
Venables, there was great excitement and fear in Santo Domingo, and
the archbishop ordered that the sacred ornaments and vessels be hidden
and that "the sepulchres be covered in order that no irreverence or
profanation be committed against them by the heretics, and especially
do I so request with reference to the sepulchre of the old Admiral
which is on the gospel side of my holy church and sanctuary," That
other tombs were hidden, whether at this time or another, was shown in
1879, when, on repairing the flooring in the chapel of the "stone
bishop" in the cathedral, the slab indicating the grave of the
Adelantado Rodrigo de Bastidas, the explorer, was found concealed
under a stone, and it was discovered that the epitaph of Bastidas on a
board which from time immemorial had hung on the wall of the chapel
was an incorrect copy of the original graven on the burial slab. From
the words of the archbishop it appears possible that the sepulchre of
Columbus was marked in some way in 1655, although even then there may
have been nothing, since the prelate saw fit to specify the point in
the church where the tomb was situated.

The first document in which tradition appears invoked for designating
the burial place is the record of a synod held in 1683, which contains
the following clause: "this Island having been discovered by
Christopher Columbus, illustrious and very celebrated throughout the
world, whose bones repose in a leaden box in the sanctuary next to the
pedestal of the main altar of this our cathedral, with those of his
brother Louis Columbus which are on the other side, according to the
tradition of the old people of this Island." The synod and tradition
were not strong in Columbus genealogy when they referred to Louis
Columbus as the brother instead of the grandson of the Discoverer, and
it is noticeable that no mention is made of the son Diego Columbus. It
may be remarked, in passing, that the body of Bartholomew Columbus,
brother of the Admiral, was deposited in the convent of San Francisco
in Santo Domingo, upon his death in 1514, and while some writers
suggest it may have been taken to Spain, there is nothing to indicate
that it was ever given sepulture in the cathedral of Santo Domingo.

After the lapse of another century tradition referred to two
sepulchres, one of Christopher Columbus, on the right side of the
altar, the other of his brother or son, on the left side of the altar.
Moreau de Saint-Méry, a French diplomat and statesman, who lived in
the French colony of St. Domingue for some years during the decade of
1780 to 1790, in his book "Description de la partie espagnole de
l'isle Saint-Domingue" states that, being desirous of obtaining
accurate information with reference to the tomb of Columbus, he
addressed himself to José Solano, an ex-governor of the colony, then
in command of a fleet in the insular waters; that this official wrote
a letter to his successor in the governorship, Isidoro Peralta, and
that he received the following answer:

"SANTO DOMINGO, March 29, 1783.

"_My very dear friend and patron:_

"I have received the kind letter of Your Excellency of the 13th of this
month, and did not answer immediately in order to have time to
ascertain the details it requests relative to Christopher Columbus,
and also in order to enjoy the satisfaction of serving Your Excellency
as far as is in my power and to permit Your Excellency to have the
satisfaction of obliging the friend who has asked for those details.

"With respect to Christopher Columbus, although the insects destroy
the papers in this country and have converted whole archives into
lace-work, I hope nevertheless to remit to Your Excellency the proof
that the bones of Columbus are in a leaden box, enclosed in a stone
box which is buried in the sanctuary on the side of the gospels and
that those of Bartholomew Columbus, his brother, repose on the side of
the epistles in the same manner and under the same precautions. Those
of Christopher Columbus were transported from Seville, where they had
been deposited in the pantheon of the dukes of Alcala after having
been taken there from Valladolid, and where they remained until their
transport here.

"About two months ago, in working in the church, a piece of thick wall
was thrown down and immediately reconstructed. This fortuitous event
was the occasion of finding the box of which I have spoken, and which,
although without inscriptions, was known, according to a constant and
invariable tradition, to contain the remains of Columbus. In addition
I am having a search made to see whether in the church archives or
those of the government some document can be found which will furnish
details on this point; and the canons have seen and stated that the
greater part of the bones were reduced to dust and that bones of the
forearm had been distinguished.

"I send Your Excellency also a list of all the archbishops which this
island has had and which is more interesting than that of its
presidents, for I am assured that the first is complete, while in the
second there are voids produced by the insects of which I have spoken
and which attack some papers in preference to others.

"I also refer to the buildings, the temples, the beauty of the ruins
and the motive which determined the transfer of this city to the west
bank of the river which constitutes its port. But with reference to
the plan requested by the note there is a real difficulty, as this is
forbidden me as governor; the superior understanding of Your
Excellency will comprehend the reasons, etc."

The documents sent by Governor Peralta were as follows:

"I, José Nuñez de Caceres, doctor in sacred theology of the pontifical
and royal University of the Angelical St. Thomas d'Acquino, dignitary
dean of this holy metropolitan church, primate of the Indies, do
certify that the sanctuary of this holy cathedral having been torn
down on January 30 last, for reconstruction, there was found, on the
side of the platform where the gospels are chanted, and near the door
where the stairs go up to the capitular room, a stone coffer, hollow,
of cubical form and about a yard high, enclosing a leaden urn, a
little damaged, which contained several human bones. Several years
ago, under the same circumstances and I so certify, there was found on
the side of the epistles, another similar stone box, and according to
the tradition handed down by the old men of the country and a chapter
of the synod of this holy cathedral, that on the side of the gospels
is reputed to enclose the bones of the Admiral Christopher Columbus
and that on the side of the epistles, those of his brother, nor has it
been possible to verify whether they are those of his brother
Bartholomew or of Diego Columbus, son of the admiral. In testimony
whereof I have delivered the present in Santo Domingo, April 20, 1783.


An identical certificate, signed by Manuel Sanchez, was also sent, as
well as a third which reads as follows:

"I, Pedro de Galvez, schoolmaster, dignitary canon of this cathedral,
primate of the Indies, do certify that the sanctuary having been
overthrown in order to be reconstructed there was found on the side of
the platform where the gospels are chanted, a stone coffer with a
leaden urn, a little damaged, which contained human bones; and it is
remembered that there is another of the same kind on the side of the
epistles; and according to the report of the old men of the country
and a chapter of the synod of this holy cathedral that on the side of
the gospels encloses the bones of the Admiral Christopher Columbus,
and that on the side of the epistles those of his brother Bartholomew.
In witness whereof I have delivered the present on April 26, 1783.


The certificates were not carefully drafted, for in speaking of the
rebuilding of the sanctuary only the interior thereof, probably only
the platform, was referred to, and from a notarial document of
December 21, 1795, quoted below, it is evident that by coffer was
meant a vault and that the word urn was used synonymously with box.
The papers give eloquent testimony of the uncertainty in which the
eminent men's remains were involved. Governor Peralta died in 1786 and
was interred under the altar platform near the supposed remains of
Columbus. In 1787, when Moreau de St. Méry endeavored to find the
official record of the find of 1783, it had already disappeared.

In 1795 Spain ceded to France the entire Spanish part of Santo
Domingo, and in evacuating the island the Spanish authorities
determined to carry with them the remains of the great Discoverer. It
is to be assumed that there were still persons connected with the
cathedral who could point out the location of the vault accidentally
discovered twelve years before and that as tradition referred to only
one vault on that side of the altar, the remains contained therein
were extracted without further investigation. The description of the
vault opened tallies with that of the vault found in 1783. The
document attesting the embarking of these remains reads as
follows: "I, the undersigned clerk of the King, our Lord, in charge of
the office of the chamber of this Royal Audiencia, do certify that on
the twentieth day of December of the current year, there being in this
holy cathedral the Commissioner Gregorio Saviñon, perpetual member and
dean of the very illustrious municipal council of this city, and in
the presence of the most illustrious and reverend friar Fernando
Portillo y Torres, most worthy Archbishop of this metropolitan see; of
His Excellency Gabriel de Aristizabal, Lieutenant-General of the royal
navy of His Majesty; of Antonio Cansi, Brigadier in charge of the fort
of this city; of Antonio Barba, Field-marshal and Commander of
Engineers; of Ignacio de la Rocha, Lieutenant-colonel and
Sergeant-major of this city, and of other persons of rank and
distinction, a vault was opened which is in the sanctuary on the side
of the gospel (between) the main wall and the pedestal of the main
altar, which is one cubic yard in size, and in the same there were
found several plates of lead, about one tercio in length, indicating
that there had been a box of the said metal, and pieces of bone as of
the tibia or other parts of some deceased person, and they were
collected in a salver that was filled with the earth, which by the
fragments of small bone it contained and its color could be seen to
belong to that dead body; and everything was placed in an ark of
gilded lead with iron lock, which being closed its key was delivered
to the said illustrious Archbishop, and which box is about half a yard
long and wide and in height something more than a quarter of a yard,
whereupon it was transferred to a small coffin lined with black
velvet, and adorned with gold trimmings, and was placed on a decent

"On the following day with the presence of the same illustrious
Archbishop, His Excellency Aristizabal, the communities of Dominicans,
Franciscans and Mercenarians, military and naval officers, and a
concourse of distinguished persons, and people of the lower classes,
mass was solemnly said and fasting enjoined, whereupon the same
illustrious Archbishop preached.

"On this day, about half past four o'clock in the afternoon there
came to the holy cathedral the gentlemen of the Royal Order, to wit,
Joaquin Garcia, Fieldmarshal, President-Governor and Captain-General
of this Island of Española; José Antonio de Vrisar, knight of the
royal and distinguished order of Charles the Third, Minister of the
royal and supreme council of the Indies and at present Regent of the
Royal Audiencia; Justices Pedro Catani, dean; Manuel Bravo, likewise
knight of the royal and distinguished order of Charles the Third, and
with honors and seniority in the Royal Audiencia of Mexico; Melchor
Joseph de Foncerrada and Andres Alvarez Calderon, state's attorney;
there being in the cathedral the most illustrious and reverend
Archbishop, His Excellency Gabriel de Aristizabal, the municipal
council and religious communities, and a complete picket with draped
banner, and taking the wooden box covered with plush and gold
trimmings, in the interior of which was the box of gilded lead, which
contained the remains exhumed on the preceding day, the President
Joaquin Garcia, the Regent Joseph Antonio de Vrisar and the Justices,
Dean Pedro Catani and Manuel Bravo conducted it to a little before the
exit through the door of the said holy church, where the President and
Regent separated, passed to their respective places and were
substituted by Justice Foncerrada and Calderon, state's attorney, and
upon leaving the church it was saluted by the said picket with a
discharge of musketry, and there followed the Fieldmarshal and
Commander of Engineers Antonio Barba, the Brigadier and Commander of
militia Joaquin Cabrera, the Brigadier and Commander of the fort
Antonio Cansi, and the colonel of the regiment 'Cantabria,' Gaspar de
Casasola, and thereafter the military officers alternated according to
their grade and seniority until reaching the city gate which leads to
the harbor, where their places were taken by the members of the very
illustrious municipal council of this city, dean Gregorio Saviñon,
Miguel Martinez Santalices, Francisco de Tapia and Francisco de
Arredondo, judge of the rural court, and upon emerging from the gate
it was placed upon a table prepared therefor; a response was chanted
and during the same the forts saluted it with fifteen minute guns, as
for an admiral, and one after another took the key of the ark and
through the said illustrious Archbishop placed it in the hands of His
Excellency Aristizabal, stating that they delivered the ark into his
possession subject to the orders of the Governor of Havana as a
deposit until His Majesty should determine what may be his royal
pleasure, to which His Excellency acceded, accepting the ark in the
manner stated and transferring it aboard the brigantine 'Descubridor,'
which, with the other war-vessels waiting with insignia of mourning,
also saluted it with fifteen guns, whereupon this certificate was
concluded and signed by the parties.

"Santo Domingo, December 21, 1795. Joaquin Garcia. Friar Fernando,
Archbishop of Santo Domingo. Gabriel de Aristizabal. Gregorio Saviñon.
José Francisco Hidalgo."

The brief account of the remains when everything else was related with
such detail leads to the logical conclusion that there was no epitaph
on the vault and no inscription on the leaden plates found within. The
Spanish judicial chronicler's habit of minute description would not
have permitted the omission of such important particulars, if they
had existed.

The remains were transferred to Havana where their reception was even
more solemn than their embarkation in Santo Domingo. On January 19,
1796, they were landed amid the booming of guns, conducted in state by
the civil and military authorities and a large concourse to the plaza,
and deposited on a magnificent bier in the shadow of the column
erected where, according to tradition, the first mass was said in
Havana and the first municipal council met. Here the ark was formally
delivered to the Governor of Havana, who had it opened and its
contents inspected, whereupon it was again closed and transferred with
great pomp to the cathedral. The key was there delivered to the bishop
and the remains deposited in a sepulchre with suitable bas-reliefs
and inscriptions. The notarial narrative of the event goes into the
most minute particulars, but the contents of the ark are merely
described as "several leaden plates nearly a tercio in length, several
small pieces of bone as of some deceased person, and some earth which
seemed to be of that body."

For over eighty years it was generally accepted in Santo Domingo, as
throughout the world, that the bones of Columbus rested in the
cathedral of Havana. There were, indeed, persons who handed down a
tradition that the remains taken away by the Spaniards were not those
of the great navigator and that these still remained under the altar
platform in the Santo Domingo cathedral, but such persons were very
few and no attention was paid to their allegations. Some Dominicans
even called on the Spanish government to return the remains and let
them be laid to rest in Dominican soil in accordance with the
Discoverer's dying wish. In the meantime no one thought of the tombs
of Diego Columbus or Louis Columbus, nor was it remembered that they
were buried in the cathedral.

In the year 1877 extensive repairs were undertaken in the cathedral of
Santo Domingo. The worn brick flooring was to be replaced with marble
squares, the old choir was to be torn down and a choir established
elsewhere in the church, and the altar platform was to be extended
into the church proper and reduced in height. Shortly after the work
had begun, a heavy bronze image kept in the vestry--which adjoined the
sanctuary on the side opposite that where the remains were exhumed in
1795--was, on May 14, 1877, placed in a doorway long closed leading to
the sanctuary. In doing so it was noticed that a hollow sound came
from the wall adjoining and in order to ascertain the cause a small
opening was made in the wall about a yard above the floor. It was then
seen that there was a small vault under the altar platform of the
church, and that the vault contained a metal box with human remains.
Canon Billini, in charge of the cathedral, immediately ordered that
the opening be closed until the return of the bishop from a pastoral
visit to the Cibao. The hole was hidden behind a curtain and no
immediate attention given to it. Towards the end of June Mr. Carlos
Nouel, a friend of Canon Billini, obtained permission to look in at
the box and deciphered a rude inscription reading, "El Almirante D.
Luis Colon, Duque de Veragua, Marques de--" "The Admiral Don Louis
Columbus, Duke of Veragua, Marquis of--." The last word was missing
because of a hole in the corroded leaden plate, but was supposed to be
"Jamaica." At this time the box was broken, because several days
before in placing a scaffold in the church one of the posts had been
located over the box and had broken through. The persons who
afterwards sought to draw out the box pulled to overcome the obstacle
and tore the weak plates apart entirely.

The bishop returned on August 18, 1877, and being informed of what had
happened, on September 1 invited the Cabinet officers, the consular
corps and a number of civil and military authorities and private
persons to witness the removal of the remains of Louis Columbus. To
the chagrin of the bishop and canon, it was found that the plate with
the inscription had been stolen. Probably shamed by ever increasing
popular indignation, the grave-robber anonymously returned it on
December 14, 1879, by leaving it in the cathedral door in a package
addressed to the archbishop. The other plates with the earth and
pieces of bone were carefully collected.

(Scale; 1 centimeter = 1 meter)

1. Vault containing remains of Christopher Colombus.
2. Vault opened by Spaniards in 1795.
3. Vault containing remains of Louis Columbus.
4. Pedestal of main altar.
5. Door leading to vestry.
6. Door leading to capitular room.
7. Location of containing wall of old altar platform, as it existed
in 1540.
8. Location of stairs which in 1540 led up to altar platform.
9. Tribune of the Gospels.
10. Tribune of the Epistles.
11. Steps of altar platform.
12. Grave of Juan Sanchez Ramirez. Isidore Peralta had also been
buried at this spot.]

The unexpected finding of the long forgotten remains of the grandson
of the Admiral recalled the tradition that the Discoverer's body still
remained in Santo Domingo, and several gentlemen, among them the
Italian consul, requested the bishop to take advantage of the
repairing of the church for a thorough investigation of the altar
platform in order to ascertain whether it contained any other notable
graves. The bishop gave his consent, and the investigation commenced
on September 8, under the direction of Canon Billini. Digging was
begun near the door of the capitular room and in a short time an
unmarked grave was found containing human remains and military
insignia. It was proven by witnesses that they were the remains of
Juan Sanchez Ramirez, Captain-General of Santo Domingo, who died on
February 12, 1811, and was buried in the same place where had been the
grave of General Isidore Peralta. A narrow wall was then encountered
which was afterwards found to be the containing wall of the ancient
altar platform. On the ninth, a Sunday, the work went on during the
morning with the permission of the bishop. An excavation was made at
the place where, according to tradition, the remains taken to Havana
had lain and soon a small vault was discovered quite empty. It was
evidently the vault opened by the Spaniards in 1795. The examination
was continued between this vault and the main altar, but nothing new
was encountered, whereupon the work was left to be resumed on the
following day, rather with the hope of finding something of Diego
Columbus, for the empty vault seemed to show that the remains of
Christopher Columbus were really removed in 1795.

The excavations continued on September 10, 1877, between the empty
vault and the wall. A large stone was found, and a piece broken off,
disclosing another vault containing what appeared to be a square box.
The bishop and the Italian consul were sent for immediately and upon
their arrival the orifice was slightly enlarged and a metal box became
clearly visible. It was covered with the dust of centuries, but an
inscription was seen, in which abbreviations of the words "First
Admiral" could faintly be distinguished. The work was stopped at once,
the doors of the cathedral were locked and all the principal persons
of the city invited to attend the further investigation of the vault's
contents. The report of the find rapidly spread through the city,
though distorted in some quarters, for one of the workmen hearing the
bishop's joyful exclamation, "Oh, what a treasure!" conceived the idea
that the box was full of gold pieces and so informed the people that
gathered outside.

The formal opening of the vault on the afternoon of that day and the
examination of its contents are minutely described in the notarial
document drawn up on the occasion:

"In the City of Santo Domingo on the tenth of September of the year
eighteen hundred and seventy-seven. At four o'clock in the afternoon
upon invitation of the most illustrious and reverend Doctor Friar
Roque Cocchia, Bishop of Orope, Vicar and Apostolic Delegate of the
Holy See in the Republics of Santo Domingo, Venezuela and Haiti,
assisted by presbyter Friar Bernardino d'Emilia, secretary of the
bishopric, by the honorary penitentiary canon, presbyter Francisco
Javier Billini, rector and founder of the College of San Luis Gonzaga
and of the charity asylum, apostolic missionary and acting curate of
the holy cathedral, and by presbyter Eliseo J'Andoli, assistant curate
of the same, there met in the holy cathedral General Marcos A. Cabral,
Minister of the Interior and Police; Licentiate Felipe Davila
Fernandez de Castro, Minister of Foreign Relations; Joaquin Montolio,
Minister of Justice and Public Instruction; General Manuel A. Caceres,
Minister of Finance and Commerce; and General Valentin Ramirez Baez,
Minister of War and the Navy; and the citizens General Braulio
Alvarez, Civil and Military Governor of the Province of the Capital,
assisted by his secretary Pedro Maria Gautier; the honorable members
of the illustrious municipal council of this capital, citizen Juan de
la C. Alfonseca, president, and citizens Felix Baez, Juan Bautista
Paradas, Pedro Mota, Manuel Maria Cabral and José Maria Bonetti,
members; General Francisco Ungria Chala, military commandant of this
city; citizens Felix Mariano Lluveres, president of the legislative
chamber and Francisco Javier Machado, deputy to the same chamber; the
members of the consular corps accredited to the Republic, Messrs.
Miguel Pou, Consul of H.M. the Emperor of Germany, Luis Cambiaso,
Consul of H.M. the King of Italy, Jose Manuel Echeverri, Consul of H.
Catholic M. the King of Spain, Aubin Defougerais, Consul of the French
Republic, Paul Jones, Consul of the United States of North America,
José Martin Leyba, Consul of H.M. the King of the Netherlands, and
David Coen, Consul of H.M. the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain; the citizens licentiates in medicine and surgery Marcos
Antonio Gomez and Jose de Jesus Brenes; the civil engineer Jesus Maria
Castillo, director of the work in this cathedral; the chief sexton of
the same, Jesus Maria Troncoso, and the undersigned notaries public,
Pedro Nolasco Polanco, Mariano Montolio and Leonardo Delmonte i
Aponte, the first also being the acting notary of the curacy and the
second the titular notary of the municipal council of this capital.

"The most illustrious Bishop, in the presence of the gentlemen above
designated and of a numerous concourse, declares: that the holy
cathedral being undergoing repairs under the direction of the reverend
Canon Francisco Javier Billini, and it having come to his notice that
according to tradition and notwithstanding what appears from public
documents with reference to the transfer of the remains of the Admiral
Christopher Columbus to the city of Havana in the year seventeen
hundred and ninety-five the said remains might still be in the place
where they had been deposited and as such place the right side of the
sanctuary was designated, under the spot occupied by the archbishop's
chair; with the desire of clearing up the matters which tradition had
carried to him, he authorized the reverend Canon Billini, upon his
request, to make the necessary explorations; and as the latter was
doing so with two workmen on the morning of this day, he discovered at
a depth of two palms, more or less, the beginning of a vault which
permitted part of a metal box to be seen; that immediately the said
Canon Billini ordered the chief sexton, Jesus Maria Troncoso, to go to
the archiepiscopal palace and inform His Grace of the result of the
investigations, also informing the Minister of the Interior,
requesting their presence without loss of time; that immediately His
Grace proceeded to the holy cathedral where he found Jesus Maria
Castillo, civil engineer, in charge of the repairs to this temple and
two workmen who, in company with Canon Billini, guarded the small
excavation which had been made, and at the same time Luis Cambiaso
arrived, called by the said Canon Billini; that having personally made
certain of the existence of the vault as well as that it contained the
box to which Canon Billini made reference and an inscription being
discovered on the upper part of what appeared to be the lid, he
ordered that things be left as they were and that the doors of the
temple be closed, the keys being confided to the reverend Canon
Billini; proposing to invite, as he did invite, His Excellency the
great citizen, President of the Republic, General Buenaventura Baez,
his Cabinet, the consular corps and the other civil and military
authorities named in the beginning of this certificate, in order to
proceed with all due solemnity to the extraction of the box and give
all required authenticity to the result of the investigation; and
having advised the authorities, by their order municipal policemen
were stationed at each one of the closed doors of the temple.

"His Grace, stationed in the sanctuary, near the started excavation
and surrounded by the authorities above mentioned and a very numerous
concourse, all the doors of the temple having been opened, had the
excavation continued, and a slab was removed, permitting the raising
of the box, which was taken and shown by His Grace and found to be of
lead. The said box was exhibited to all the authorities convoked, and
thereupon was carried in procession through the interior of the temple
and shown to the people.

"The pulpit of the left nave of the temple being occupied by His
Grace, by the reverend Canon Billini, who carried the box, the
Minister of the Interior, the president of the municipal council and
two of the notaries public who sign this document: His Grace opened
the box and exhibited to the people a part of the remains it encloses;
he also read the several inscriptions on the box, which prove beyond
controversy that the remains are really and in fact those of the
illustrious Genovese, the great Admiral Christopher Columbus,
Discoverer of America. The truth of the matter being irrefutably
ascertained, a salute of twenty-one guns, fired by the artillery of
the fort, a general ringing of bells and strains of music from the
military band, announced the happy and memorable event to the city.

"Immediately the authorities convoked met in the vestry of the temple
and proceeded in the presence of the undersigned notaries public, who
certify thereto, to an examination and expert investigation of the box
and its contents; the result of the examination being that the said
box is of lead, has hinges and measures forty-two centimeters in
length, twenty-one centimeters in depth and twenty and a half in
width; containing the following inscriptions: on the upper side of the
lid 'D. de la A, Per. Ate.'--On the left headboard 'C.' On the front
side 'C'--On the right headboard 'A.' On raising the lid the following
inscription was found on the inner side of the same carved in German
Gothic characters: 'Illtre. y Esdo. Varon Dn. Cristobal Colon,' and in
the said box human remains which on examination by the licentiate of
equal class Jose de Jesus Brenes are found to be: A femur deteriorated
in the upper part of the neck, between the great trochanter and its
head. A fibula in its natural state. A radius also complete. The os
sacrum in bad condition. The coccyx. Two lumbar vertabrae. One
cervical and two dorsal vertabrae. Two calcanea. One bone of the
metacarpus. Another of the metatarsus. A fragment of the frontal or
coronal bone, containing half of an orbital cavity. A middle third of
the tibia. Two more fragments of tibia. Two astragoli. One upper
portion of shoulder-blade. One fragment of the lower jawbone. One half
of an os humeri, the whole constituting thirteen small and
twenty-eight large fragments, there being others reduced to dust.

"In addition a leaden ball weighing about an ounce, more or less, was
found and two small screws belonging to the box.

"The examination mentioned having been terminated, the ecclesiastical
and civil authorities and the illustrious municipal council resolved
to close and seal the box with their respective seals and deposit it
in the sanctuary of the church of Regina Angelorum, under the
responsibility of the aforesaid penitentiary canon Francisco Javier
Billini, until otherwise determined; His Grace, the Ministers, the
consuls and the undersigned notaries immediately proceeding to affix
their seals; and finally they determined to transfer the box in
triumph to the said church of Regina Angelorum, accompanied by the
veteran troops of the capital, batteries of artillery, music, and
whatever else might give impressiveness and splendor to so solemn an
act, for which the town was prepared as was noted from the great
multitude which filled the temple and the cathedral plaza, to which we
certify, as we do also that the present was signed by the gentlemen
above named and other distinguished persons.

"Friar Roque Cocchia, of the Order of Capuchins, Bishop of Orope,
Apostolic Delegate to Santo Domingo, Haiti and Venezuela, Apostolic
Vicar in Santo Domingo--Friar Bernardino d'Emilia, Capuchin, Secretary
of His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate and Vicar--Francisco X.
Billini--Eliseo J'Andoli, assistant curate of the cathedral--Marcos A.
Cabral, Minister of the Interior and Police--Felipe Davila Fernandez
de Castro, Minister of Foreign Relations--Joaquin Montolio, Minister
of Justice and Public Instruction--M. A. Caceres, Minister of Finance
and Commerce--Valentin Ramirez Baez, Minister of War and the
Navy--Braulio Alvarez, Governor of the Province--Pedro Ma. Gautier,
Secretary--Juan de la C. Alfonseca, President of the Municipal
council--Members, Felix Baez--Juan Bautista Paradas--Manuel Ma. Cabral
B.--P. Mota--Jose M. Bonetti--Francisco Ungria Chala, Commandant of
Arms--Felix Mariano Lluveres, President of the Legislative
Chamber--Francisco Javier Machado, Deputy of the Legislative
Chamber--The Consul of Spain, Jose Manuel Echeverri--Luigi Cambiaso,
R. Consul of H. M. the King of Italy--Miguel Pou, Consul of the German
Empire--Paul Jones, United States Consul--D. Coen, British
Vice-Consul--J. M. Leyba, Consul of the Netherlands--A. Aubin
Defougerais, Vice-Consul of France--Jesus Ma. Castillo, Civil
Engineer--M. A. Gomez, Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery--J. J.
Brenes, Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery--The chief sexton, Jesus
Ma. Troncoso--A. Licairac--M. M. Santamaria--Domingo Rodriguez--Manuel
de Jesus Garcia--Enrique Peinado--Federico Polanco--Lugardis Olivo--P.
Mr. Consuegra--Eujenio de Marchena--Valentin Ramirez, Jr.--F.
Perdomo--Joaquin Ramirez Morales--Amable Damiron--Jaime Ratto--Pedro
N. Polanco, Notary Public--Leonardo Delmonte I Aponte, Notary
Public--Mariano Montolio, Notary Public."

[Illustration: Inscription on lid of lead box. (2/5 actual size)]

[Illustration: Inscription on inner side of lid. (2/5 actual size)]

The vault so opened was a little larger than that opened in 1795, and
separated therefrom by a six-inch wall. The leaden box was of rude
construction, dented and much oxydized, the plates being a little
thicker than those of the casket of Louis Columbus. The inscription on
the outside of the lid "D. de la A. Per, Ate." was taken to mean
"Descubridor de la América, Primer Almirante"--"Discoverer of America,
First Admiral." The inscription on the inner side of the lid, without
contractions, was: "Ilustre y Esclarecido Varon Don Cristobal
Colon"--"Illustrious and noble man, Christopher Columbus." The letters
"C C A" were interpreted as signifying "Cristobal Colón,
Almirante"--"Christopher Columbus, Admiral." On January 3, 1878, a
more minute examination of the remains was made at the request of the
Spanish Academy of History and in the dust at the bottom of the box
was found a small silver plate with two holes by which it had
evidently been screwed with the two screws found at the first
examination to some wooden board or receptacle. All vestige of wood
had disappeared, either through decay or perhaps through destruction
by insects, for on the walls of the vault are faint traces of ancient
tracks made by the comejen or wood-eating ant. On one side of the
plate was engraved in rude letters: "Ua. pte. de los rtos. del pmer.
Alte. D. Cristoval Colon Des.," which is read as meaning "Ultima parte
de los restos del primer Almirante, Don Cristoval Colon,
Descubridor"--"Last part of the remains of the first Admiral, Don
Christopher Columbus, Discoverer." On the reverse side are the words
"Cristoval Colon" and several letters which indicate that the
inscription "Ua. pte." etc., was begun here but was stopped, perhaps
because there was not sufficient room.

[Illustration: Obverse side of silver plate (Enlarged 1/20)]

[Illustration: Reverse side of silver plate. (Enlarged 1/20)]

The small lead ball, similar to a musket-ball, found in the box, has
been the subject of much comment. It is not known that Columbus was
ever wounded, though it is true that of many years of his life we
have little information. Some writers make deductions from an
equivocal sentence contained in a letter written by him to the rulers
of Spain on his fourth voyage, in which he refers to his difficulties
off the coast of Central America and says: "There the wound of my
trouble opened." Others refer to an obscure sentence of Las Casas, but
others believe that the ball was dropped in the box by accident,
either when the box was prepared for the vault or at some time when in
the course of the centuries the vault may have been casually opened as
was the adjoining vault in 1783. At what time the remains were
enclosed in this box and the inscriptions placed on the same it is
impossible to determine; it may have been in Seville, or in the early
days in Santo Domingo, or at a later date, perhaps when the epitaphs
were removed from the vault.

The remainder of the old altar platform was carefully examined but no
other vaults or remains were discovered. With reference to the bones
"of a deceased person" transferred in 1795 a logical conclusion can be
reached: Christopher Columbus, his son Diego, and his grandson Louis
were all buried in the Santo Domingo cathedral; the caskets, with
inscriptions, of the first and third were found in 1877 and there are
no other vaults under the old altar platform; therefore the remains
taken away in 1795 with pieces of a casket without inscription, or the
inscription of which had become illegible, were most probably those of
Diego Columbus.

Santo Domingo went wild with joy over the discovery. It was determined
to erect a suitable monument for the remains with funds raised by
private subscription and by a half per cent, surtax on imports. A
beautiful marble memorial costing $40,000, guarded by bronze lions and
adorned with bronze relief work depicting scenes from the life of
Columbus, was designed by two Spanish sculptors. The first intention
was to place the same in a mausoleum specially built for the purpose,
but it was finally erected in the nave of the cathedral near the main
door. A richly ornamented bronze box placed in the monument contains
the leaden casket and the remains. Once a year on the anniversary of
the find, the box is opened and the public permitted to gaze on
its contents.

The Spanish authorities would never admit the authenticity of the
remains found in 1877, and the Spanish consul in Santo Domingo was
bitterly criticized for affixing his signature to the notarial
document relating the discovery. The Spaniards continue to claim that
the true remains of the Discoverer are those which were transferred to
Havana. Upon the evacuation of Cuba by Spain in 1898 these remains
were solemnly removed and taken to Spain, where they now rest in the
cathedral of Seville. Many investigations have been made from
different sources and the majority of investigators report in favor of
the Dominican contention, especially when they have personally visited
Santo Domingo. The Spanish writers present no proof that the remains
taken to Havana in 1795 were those of Christopher Columbus, but limit
themselves to attacking the find of 1877. The insinuations and
accusations, without corroborating facts, prove nothing but the temper
of their authors. All criticisms have been refuted by showing that
even supposing the box to date from the year 1540, other and
indubitable inscriptions of that year have the same style of letters,
abbreviations, spelling and words as those criticized. Further the
appearance of the box and vault of 1877, the circumstances attending
their discovery, and the irreproachable character of the Apostolic
Delegate, of Canon Billini and of others connected with that event
preclude all suspicion of fraud.

On the whole, the weight of evidence is strongly in favor of the
Dominican contention. It seems that, in spite of the acts of men, fate
has permitted the remains of the Discoverer of America to repose in
the principal cathedral of the island he loved.



Form of government.--Constitutions.--Presidents.--Election.--Powers.
--Executive secretaries.--Land and sea forces.--Congress.--Local
subdivisions.--Provincial governors.--Communal governments.

From the date of the declaration of independence, February 27, 1844,
down to the present time, with the exception only of a portion of the
period of Spanish occupation of 1861 to 1865, Santo Domingo has
remained in form at least, a republic. Herein it contrasts with its
neighbor Haiti, which has experienced several monarchies. Thus
Dessalines proclaimed himself emperor in 1804, Christophe assumed the
title of king in 1810 and Soulouque had himself declared emperor in
1849; and the latter two instituted pompous black nobilities. And
though the Cibao of Santo Domingo and the region south of the Central
Cordillera have ever been rivals and often in arms against each other
under competing generals, there has never been any tendency to
separate and form two states--as occurred in Haiti in 1806 when the
northern portion fell under the sway of Christophe for a period of
fourteen years, first as a nominal republic and later as a kingdom,
while the southern portion became a republic under Petion and finally
under Boyer.

But although the country has in form remained a republic and the title
of the chief of state has never been more pretentious than president
or protector, in fact there have been few years when the government
was not autocratic and the president an absolute monarch whose powers
were limited only by his own generous impulses or the fear of
alienating his more influential supporters. Dominican writers have
even referred to the constitution as a conventional lie.

The various Dominican presidents, as soon as securely in power, have
generally been careful to follow constitutional forms, in an effort to
deceive their followers and themselves into the belief that they were
acting in regular course as servants of the people. The successful
revolutionist was almost, always in haste to "legalize" his position
by an election. Most of the presidents, among them Heureaux, have been
great sticklers for form. Instead of moulding their wishes to conform
to the constitution, however, they would mould the constitution to
conform to their wishes, and repeatedly the first act of the
successful revolutionist has been to promulgate a new constitution in
accordance with his ideas. It has thus come to pass that the
constitution, far from being revered as the immutable foundation of
government, has rather been regarded as the convenient means for the
president in office to exercise power. From 1844 to the present time
nineteen constitutions have been promulgated in Santo Domingo, one in
the year 1844, one each in 1858, 1859 and 1865, two in 1866 and one
each in 1868, 1874, 1875, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1887, 1896, 1907
and 1908.

This extraordinary number is due in part to the practice of not
enacting amendments to an existing constitution, but of promulgating
the amended instrument as a new constitution. On three of the
occasions here indicated a constitution was abrogated in order to
revive a prior one. No account is taken in the above computation of
the instances where a successful revolutionist in order to announce
his adherence to the then existing constitution promulgated the same
anew. Thus the constitution of 1896 was reestablished in 1903.

The Dominican constitutions have all been modeled on the general lines
of that of the United States, and have differed from each other only
in detail. The term of office of the president has varied from one to
six years and the powers conferred upon him have been more or less
ample. The constitution of 1854, revived in 1859, 1866 and 1868,
practically invested him with dictatorial powers, and the only
legislative assembly it provided for was an "Advisory Senate" of
nine members.

The present constitution was drafted by a constitutional assembly
which sat in Santiago de los Caballeros in the early part of 1908. It
is disappointing both as a literary and political document. The style
bears witness to the haste with which the instrument was compiled.
Provisions quite unsuitable to Dominican conditions are included, such
as that granting the right to vote to all male citizens over eighteen
years of age. Such an extension of the suffrage would be looked upon
askance even in countries where education is general, and in Santo
Domingo would constitute a serious danger if really put into effect.
While the presidential succession is left to be regulated by a law of
Congress, the constitution goes into minute details regarding
citizenship, naturalization and several other matters. Repeated
attempts have been made to secure a new constitution and in 1914
partial elections were held for a constitutional convention, but for
one reason or another the plan has not matured. A new constitution
will probably be provided in connection with the cessation of American

According to the present constitution the president must be a native
born Dominican, at least thirty-five years of age and with a
residence of at least twenty years in the Republic. His term of office
is fixed at six years, to be counted from the day of inauguration. The
fact that no specific date is mentioned has repeatedly proved a matter
of convenience to successful revolutionists. The designation of a
presidential term of office in the various constitutions has thus far
been something of an irony, for of the 43 executives who have come to
the fore in the 70 years of national life, but three presidents have
completed terms of office for which they were elected: Baez one term,
Merino one and Heureaux four, nor was the distinction of these three
due to ought but their success in suppressing revolutionary movements.
Five vice-presidents completed presidential terms. Two presidents were
killed and twenty deposed. The other chief magistrates resigned more
or less voluntarily.

Of the 43 presidents 15 were chosen by popular election according to
constitutional forms, 5 were vice-presidents who succeeded to the
presidency, 4 were provisional presidents elected by Congress, 10
began as military presidents and then had themselves elected under
constitutional forms, and 9 were purely and simply military
provisional presidents.

A comparison of the list of presidents with the roster of executives
of Haiti reveals a disproportion, for though the black Republic has
been in existence since 1804, it has had but twenty-nine chiefs of
state, the average duration of whose rule was therefore much longer
than has been the case in Santo Domingo. It is to be observed,
however, that of the Haitian executives only one completed his term of
office and voluntarily retired; of the others, four remained in power
until their death from natural causes, eighteen were deposed by
revolutions, one of them, committing suicide, another being executed
on the steps of his burning palace, and still another being cut to
pieces by the mob; five were assassinated; and one is chief magistrate
at the present time.

The president and members of the Senate and House of Deputies are
elected by indirect vote. Electors whose number and apportionment
among the several provinces and their subdivisions are prescribed by
law, are chosen by general suffrage in what are called primary
assemblies in the several municipalities and constitute electoral
colleges which meet at the chief town of the respective province. The
electors having cast their votes for president the minutes of the
session are sent to the capital. The votes are counted in joint
session of Congress and the successful candidate is proclaimed by
that body.

Though the election procedure designated in the constitution was
gravely followed, yet not once in the history of the country has the
result of an election been in doubt, nor is there an instance when the
candidate of the government was not elected, excepting only the
election of October, 1914, when the American government brought
watchers from Porto Rico to avoid gross frauds and coercion. Usually
everything was prepared beforehand and the primaries and the meetings
of the electoral colleges were little more than ratification meetings.
The votes of the electoral colleges were generally unanimous in favor
of the government's candidate, yet the odd spectacle has repeatedly
presented itself, of a unanimously elected president being driven out
of the country within a few months by a general revolution.

The constitution authorizes the president to conclude treaties with
the consent of Congress, to appoint certain government officials, to
receive foreign diplomatic representatives, and to grant pardons in
certain cases, and makes him commander-in-chief of the army and navy.
Most of the chief magistrates have not felt themselves hampered,
however, whether in peace or war, by any enumeration of powers in the
constitution, for their ascendancy has generally been such that their
wishes would be complied with and their illegal acts ratified or
ignored by a subservient Congress. President Heureaux so controlled
Congress, the courts, and all public functionaries, that the
government was practically identical with his personality.

The constitution provides that in case of the death, resignation or
disability of the president the Congress shall by law designate the
person who is to act as president until the disability ceases or a new
president is elected, and that if Congress is not sitting the Cabinet
officers are immediately to call a session. This is an innovation, as
from 1853 to 1907 the Dominican constitutions provided for a
vice-president. The vice-president was generally a decorative feature.
He was required to possess the same qualifications as the president
and was chosen with the same formalities, but no duties were assigned
to him, not even that of presiding in Congress, so that his only
attribute was the glory of being a president in escrow. The newly
elected vice-president therefore often quietly retired to his farm,
emerging occasionally to act in the president's stead when the latter
left the capital on a trip through the country. Frequently the
vice-president was made delegate of the government in some part of the
country and at times he was invested with a portfolio as one of the
cabinet secretaries. During the administration of a strong president,
as in the time of Heureaux, the vice-president was generally one of
his satellites, whereas, when the president's power was not so firmly
established, as in the administrations of Jimenez and Morales, one of
his rivals would be mollified by the vice-presidency. In such cases
friction frequently developed, and in the two cases specified the
vice-presidents and presidential rivals, Vasquez and Caceres,
overthrew the president and established themselves in power. Evidently
in order to avoid such disturbances and temptations the constitution
of 1908 abolished the office of vice-president. The lack of a definite
successor to the president, however, enabled Victoria to seize the
presidency after the death of Caceres in 1911 and has given rise to
uncertainty and trouble in the cases of presidential succession since
that time.

It has been a custom, sometimes expressly authorized by the
constitution, for the president to delegate executive powers and
prerogatives to persons selected by him in various parts of the
country, especially where revolutionary uprisings threatened. There
has usually been such a delegate of the government in the Cibao and
often one in Azua. They are powerful officials, inasmuch as they are
regarded as the direct representatives of the president and his
administration, command the local military forces, and constitute the
fountain-head of all local executive appointments. Nominations as
delegates of the government have been preferably conferred upon
provincial governors or upon the vice-president. The president is
naturally anxious to repose such powers in one of his confidants, but
political exigencies have sometimes obliged him to soothe one of his
rivals with the distinction and remain on the qui vive thereafter.
More than one governmental delegate has overthrown the president and
established himself in power.

Provisional presidents have been numerous in Dominican history. After
a successful revolution the victorious general usually proclaimed
himself president of a provisional government and until the
constitution was again declared in force he and his ministers united
executive and legislative power. How far the acts of such de facto
governments were legally binding upon the Republic has been questioned
in cases where obligations were imposed upon the country, but foreign
governments in asserting their rights have paid little attention to
such quibbles.

The constitution provides that there shall be such executive
secretaries as may be determined by law. They are currently referred
to as ministers and their number has been fixed at seven, namely, (1)
secretary of the interior and police (interior y policia); (2)
secretary of foreign relations (relaciones exteriores); (3) secretary
of finance and commerce (hacienda y comercio); (4) secretary of war
and the navy (guerra y marina); (5) secretary of justice and public
instruction (justicia e instrucción pública); (6) secretary of
agriculture and immigration (agricultura e inmigración); (7) secretary
of public development and communications (fomento y comunicaciones).
Communication between Congress and the executive departments is
rendered easier than in the United States by the constitutional
provision that the secretaries of state are obliged to attend the
Congressional sessions when called by Congress. This right of
interpellation has frequently been exercised.

The secretary of the interior and police is at the head of an
important department. He is the administrative superior of the
provincial governors and the communal and cantonal chiefs. His
position renders him the sentinel of the government for the detection
of revolutionary movements.

The foreign office of the Republic is directed by the secretary of
foreign affairs. The diplomatic service of Santo Domingo is limited
to the modest needs of the country, the more important posts being
those of minister plenipotentiary in the United States, Haiti and
France and chargé d'affaires in Cuba and Venezuela. The majority of
consuls depend altogether upon consular fees for their remuneration,
only a few of the more important being provided for in the budget. The
consulates of most consequence have been considered to be those in the
surrounding West India Islands and in New York City, for apart from
their commercial relations with the Republic these places have been
the favorite haunts of conspiring political exiles. Almost all the
European countries are represented in the Dominican Republic either by
ministers, chargés d'affaires or consuls. Of the diplomatic
representatives residing in Santo Domingo City the highest in rank is
the American minister. Before 1904 the American minister to Haiti was
accredited to the Dominican Republic as chargé d'affaires. The United
States has consular representatives at all the principal ports, there
being an American consul at Puerto Plata and consular agents
elsewhere. In the past, great respect has been shown to consulates
even to the extent of allowing them privileges of extra-territoriality,
and frequently political refugees have sought asylum under the flag of
a mere consular agent.

The secretary of finance and commerce has charge of the sources of
national income, and the customs and internal revenue services, and
under his authority the disbursements of the Republic are audited. The
office for the compilation of statistics, organized a few years ago,
is also in this department.

The army, rural police, navy and the captaincies of the port are under
the supervision of the secretary of war and the navy. This official is
always a military man and generally takes the field in person in
cases of revolutionary uprisings. During the insurrection of Jimenez
against Morales in 1903-4, two of Morales' ministers of war were
killed in battle.

Upon the American occupation in 1916 the military force of the
Republic was disbanded. There were at that time twelve military posts,
one in the capital of each province. The commanders and their aides
and the chiefs of forts and their assistants were treated as distinct
from the regular army. The army's strength and organization have
varied greatly; at the time of its dissolution the authorized strength
was one infantry regiment of about 470 officers and men, and a band of
33 men. Only a few months before, the preceding budget had authorized
an infantry force of about 800 officers and men and a battery of
mountain artillery of 100 officers and men, in addition to the
all-important band. In reality, however, only the membership of the
band was certain; in time of war the rest of the military
establishment was much larger, and in time of peace it comprised
numerous phantom soldiers, whose salaries were nevertheless regularly
collected from the national treasury. Service was supposed to be
voluntary, but the "volunteers" were generally picked out by communal
chiefs and brought in under guard, sometimes tied with ropes to keep
them from deserting.

There was also an inefficient and overbearing rural police called the
"Guardia Republicana," supposed to consist of seven companies of about
800 officers and men, but here too things were not what they seemed.
The higher officers of the Republican Guard were a brigadier-general,
a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel and 2 majors; those of the army only a
colonel, 2 lieutenant-colonels and 2 majors, which was very modest for
a country teeming with generals and where the budget of 1909 even
appropriated $20,000 for a "corps of generals at the orders of the

The American garrison in the Republic, comprising about 1000 men, took
over the military posts in the Republic and lent strength to the
Guardia Republicana. By an order of the military governor, of April 7,
1917, the sum of $500,000 was set aside for the organization of a
constabulary force to be called the "Guardia Nacional Dominicana," to
take the place of the Dominican army, navy and police. This Dominican
National Guard is to be commanded by a citizen of the United States
and such other officers as the American government may consider
necessary. Its organization is far advanced and it has already
absorbed the Guardia Republicana. In it will be merged the frontier
guard of about 70 men depending on the general receiver's office, and
probably also the small municipal police squads that compel the
observance of municipal ordinances.

The Dominican navy is now composed of a single gunboat, the
"Independencia." At the end of Heureaux's rule the country boasted
three. The best of these was the "Restauración," which went on the
rocks at the entrance to Macoris harbor in one of the first conflicts
between the Jimenistas and Horacistas. The story goes that the steamer
was about to attack Macoris, that the pilot, in sympathy with the
opposition, grounded her with a view to having her captured, but that
a sudden storm drove her to complete destruction. Another gunboat was
the "Presidente," which had figured in history, for it was nothing
less than the yacht "Deerhound," on which the Confederate Admiral
Semmes took refuge after the sinking of the "Alabama" by the
"Kearsarge." In 1906 it was sent to Newport News for overhauling as
old age had made it unseaworthy, but since the repairs would have cost
more than the vessel was worth, it was sold for old iron. The
survivor, the "Independencia" is a trim vessel with a crew of fifty
officers and men. Attached to the general receiver's office are
several gasoline revenue cutters, recently provided.

The secretary of justice and public instruction has administrative
supervision over the courts, jails and schools of the Republic, and
the government subventions to primary and private schools are
disbursed under his direction.

The secretary of agriculture and immigration is the cabinet officer of
most recent creation. Prior to the 1908 constitution agriculture had
been in charge of the department of public development and there had
been no special provision for immigration. The importance of these
subjects for the Republic was felt to be such as to merit the
establishment of a special department. In practice the department has
done nothing, its efforts being hampered by revolutions and
circumscribed by the limited sums at its disposal. Its activities have
been confined to a general supervision of agriculture, the preparatory
work of the establishment of an agricultural experiment station and
the operation of a small meteorological service.

The department of public development and communications has charge of
the postal service of the Republic, of the national telegraph and
telephone, of the lighthouses, and of the public works carried on by
the government.

The size of the national legislature of Santo Domingo has fluctuated
considerably. Under the 1896 constitution the Congress consisted of a
single house of twenty-four members, two from each of the then
existing six provinces and six districts. The increase of the
national income permitting greater expenditures, the constitution of
1908 provided for two houses, one called the Senate, the other the
Chamber of Deputies. The Senate is composed of twelve members, one
from each province, elected by the same electoral colleges that elect
the president and holding office for six years. One-third of the
Senate is renewed every two years. The number of members of the
Chamber of Deputies is supposed to be in proportion to the number of
inhabitants of the various provinces, but as there has been no census
the number is provisionally fixed at twenty-four, two from each
province. The members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for a
term of four years, also by the electoral colleges, which at the same
time designate alternates for the several members.

Congress meets each year in regular session on the anniversary of
Dominican independence, February 27, and its session is limited to
ninety days, which may, however, be extended sixty days more. Since
there are no provincial legislatures the powers of the Congress, set
forth in the Constitution, are sweeping. They include the right to
legislate in general for every part of the Republic, to approve or
reject treaties and to try the president, cabinet members and supreme
court judges on impeachment charges.

In practice the elections for deputies have been as perfunctory as
those for president, though there were occasional contests. The
character and attitude of Congress has varied with the character and
condition of the presidents. During the incumbency of strong leaders,
such as Santana, Baez and Heureaux, the Congress was little more than
the tool of the executive, but when the personality of the president
was not so overwhelming or when many of the deputies were followers of
a rival chieftain, as in the administrations of Jimenez and Morales,
an independent and sometimes a nagging spirit has been manifested.

Under the American occupation the Congress was by decree of January 2,
1917, declared in abeyance and all executive and legislative powers
are temporarily exercised by the commander of the American forces. The
heads of executive departments are officers of the American navy or
marine corps. Otherwise the general structure of the government
remains as before. The theory that Santo Domingo is an independent,
sovereign country is carefully followed, though at times it leads to
anomalous situations, as when the American military governor issues
exequaturs to American consuls in Santo Domingo "by virtue of the
powers vested in me by the Constitution of the Dominican Republic," or
when the American minister, Hon. W. W. Russell, representing the
United States and receiving his instructions from the United States
State Department, calls on Admiral H. S. Knapp, chief executive of
Santo Domingo, who takes his orders from the United States Navy

For administrative purposes the Republic is divided into twelve
provinces; Azua, Barahona, Espaillat, La Vega, Macoris, Monte Cristi,
Pacificador, Puerto Plata, Samana, Santiago, Santo Domingo and Seibo.
Formerly six were known as provinces and six as maritime districts,
though there was in practice no distinction between them. The
provinces are subdivided into communes and cantons--a canton being a
commune in embryo--and these in turn are subdivided into sections.
Congress is empowered to create new provinces, communes and cantons.

In the twelve provinces there are now sixty-five communes, several
comprising cantons. The provinces bear the names of their capital
towns, except Espaillat and Pacificador, the former of which is
called after Ulises F. Espaillat who took a prominent part in the War
of Restoration and was president in 1876, and the latter in honor of
President Heureaux, on whom a fawning Congress conferred the title of
Pacificador de la Patria, but these also are sometimes known by the
names of their capitals, Moca and San Francisco de Macoris. The
communes bear the names of their urban centers. Towns with long names
are usually referred to by part of the name only, thus Santa Cruz del
Seibo is known simply as El Seibo, Santa Barbara de Samaná either as
Santa Barbara or as Samana, etc.

At the head of each province is an official who bears the title of
governor. He acts as the direct agent of the president and is chief of
the government police and commander of the military forces of the
district. In civil matter he is dependent upon the department of the
interior and police, in military affairs he is under the department of
war and the navy. The governors are appointed by the president of the
Republic and their salaries are paid from the national treasury. Under
the present American occupation the various provinces still have their
governors, but the real governors are the American officers locally in
command of the occupation forces.

In each commune and canton there is a communal or cantonal chief who
represents the governor of the province. He is paid by the national
government and is charged with the preservation of the peace in his
jurisdiction. Again in each section there is a sectional chief, a
local police officer who depends on the communal chief.

The system of local chieftains of gradually diminishing category has
brought Santo Domingo to resemble in some administrations a feudal
monarchy rather than a constitutional republic. As governor the
president usually chose prominent men of the locality, either friends
whom he wished to reward or opponents or rivals whom he was obliged to
placate. The communal chiefs were also appointed by the president,
though the governor's wishes were respected to a large extent, and
here too men of influence were selected, such influence usually being
reckoned by the possession of a devoted following. The section chiefs
were chosen under similar considerations.

Though the law prescribes the duties of the governors, their local
prestige, their authority as commanders of the military, and their
activities in revolutionary times, have so exalted their position as
to convert them into something like satraps and make them powerful
supporters or dangerous rivals of the president. Many insurrections
have been inaugurated by disaffected governors. At times provinces
have remained practically independent for many months, ruled merely by
the governor and a coterie of his friends, while the president, in the
impossibility of imposing his authority, was obliged to acquiesce. A
conspicuous example of such a peculiar state of affairs was furnished
by the district of Monte Cristi, during the presidency of Morales. In
December, 1903, the formidable insurrection of Jimenez against
Provisional President Morales originated in Monte Cristi and though
the government gradually regained the remainder of the country it was
unable to subjugate this district, where the entire population was
Jimenista and the character of the country rendered campaigning very
difficult. Finally in the spring of 1904 a formal treaty was signed by
which the insurgents agreed to lay down their arms upon the
government's promise not to interfere in their district, where all
executive appointments were thereafter to be made as recommended by
the local authorities. Though constitutional forms were still
observed a few military chiefs thus assumed the direction of affairs.
Whenever any executive appointment was to be made, the name of the
nominee was certified to the capital to be ratified as a matter of
course; when orders came from Santo Domingo City, whether in civil or
military affairs, they were obeyed or ignored as convenience dictated;
the entire amount of the revenues collected in the Monte Cristi
custom-house was retained in the district. In order to stimulate
imports and increase the customs collections the local authorities
even conceded a secret discount from the general tariff. With the
enforcement of the San Domingo Improvement Company's arbitral award
and the inauguration of the receivership for Santo Domingo the control
of the custom-house passed out of the hands of the local chieftains,
who sullenly protested as against an invasion of their treaty rights.
In other matters the autonomy of the district remained unimpaired
until the beginning of 1906 when upon the fall of Morales the
government troops, in suppressing the revolution in the north, overran
Monte Cristi province and restored its dependency upon the central

The healthiest and most important political subdivisions in Santo
Domingo are the communal governments, and whatever progress has been
made in the Republic has been due largely to their initiative. They
correspond to the Spanish "municipios" and the French "communes." In
Santo Domingo the French name was introduced during Haitian
occupation. The various towns constitute the centers of government,
their jurisdiction extends over the surrounding rural districts, and
the affairs of the whole are administered by a municipal council. The
powers of such councils are manifold and far-reaching and their
importance has been accentuated by the chronic impotency of the
central government to foster public improvements. The councils
exercise all the faculties commonly pertaining to city councils
elsewhere and have control of education, sanitation, streets and roads
in their respective districts. They also act as election boards.

When an outlying hamlet of the rural belt has grown to sufficient size
it is erected into a municipal district or canton and accorded a
justice of the peace and a cantonal chief and governing board. It
remains subject, however, to the municipal council of the commune of
which it formed a part until further development warrants its
segregation as an independent commune with its own council. The
cantons, as well as some of the sections, are also provided with a
cemetery and a small church or chapel.

From among their number the municipal councilmen select a president
who is regarded as mayor of the commune, though many of the duties
elsewhere pertaining to mayors are discharged by an official called
the syndic. The councilmen are supposed to be elected for a term of
two years, but the oft repeated revolutions have interfered as
seriously with their terms of office as with everything else. The
average Dominican seems to manifest little interest in his municipal
elections; my question as to when the last local election was held
would generally be answered with uncertainty: "Last January, no, last
April, no, I believe it was in November." After all, the elections
have usually been mere ratifications of slates prepared beforehand. In
the time of Heureaux the lists of new councilmen were often arranged
in the capital and a few days before election remitted to the various
towns, even with a designation of the person whom the council was
later to choose as its president.

The results of such a method of selection of councilmen has not been
as unfavorable as might be expected. The position of councilman pays
no salary and is not of sufficient importance to appeal to the
politician, so that under the present system the principal merchants
and other prominent men are frequently designated. The law does not
prohibit foreigners from forming part of the municipal councils and
they have frequently been chosen, especially in Puerto Plata.



Political parties.--Elections.--Relation between politics and
revolutions.--Conduct of revolutions.--Casualties.--Number of
revolutions.--Effect of revolutions.

The characteristic features of Dominican politics are the violence of
political antagonism and the absence of differences of principle
between the political parties. None of the three parties existing
to-day has a platform, and the distinction between them is entirely a
matter of the personality of the leaders. Each party alleges that it
has the best people and the purest motives and views with alarm the
government of the country by any other party. In practice therefore,
politics follows the rule only too common in the Spanish-American
countries, of resolving itself into a personal struggle between the
"ins" and the "outs."

In the early days of the Republic different policies were occasionally
seriously considered. It was then held by some that independence
should be preserved at any cost while others contended that in view of
the constant, civil wars the country should seek peace and progress
under the protection of some foreign power. Although the
annexationists were at first called conservatives and their opponents
liberals, these divergent views were not the exclusive property of any
designated group of men, but the annexation idea was generally
espoused by the party that happened to be in power, which thus hoped
both to save the country and perpetuate its own rule, while
independence was invariably supported by the opposition, which
bristled with patriotic indignation and the fear that it might be
permanently excluded from the banquet-table. Thus Santana obtained a
return to Spanish rule in 1861 and Cabral a few years later agitated
the question of American annexation and their action was denounced by
Baez; yet shortly after Baez almost succeeded in securing annexation
to the United States and was stigmatized as a traitor by Cabral.

Another issue which existed for a few years after the separation from
Haiti in 1844 was the division between clericals on the one hand and
liberals on the other, a party division that has created havoc in
other parts of Spanish America. The very indefinite claims on each
side and the practical unanimity of the country in its attitude
towards the church caused this issue to disappear.

The real parties that kept see-sawing in and out of power from the
early days of the Republic down to the time of Heureaux were those
founded by General Pedro Santana and General Buenaventura Baez.
Intimate friends in the struggles with Haiti which followed Santo
Domingo's declaration of independence, their ambitious and domineering
natures soon clashed, and each collected a group of friends and
incessantly conspired against the other. The partisans of Baez, or
Baecistas, adopted red for the color of the cockades and ribbons which
distinguished them in the civil wars, and came to be known as the
"Reds," while the followers of Santana, or Santanistas, adopted blue
and were known as the "Blues."

On the death of Santana in 1863, Luperon and Cabral became the leaders
of the Blue party, and for several years after the expulsion of the
Spaniards in 1865 the Reds and Blues took turns in setting up
governments and having them overthrown. In 1873 General Ignacio Maria
Gonzalez, a former adherent of Baez, assembled a following from both
factions and formed a Green party with which he ousted the Reds who
were then in power. In the next six years the Reds and Greens
alternated in control, but in 1879 the Greens were driven out and
definitely scattered by the Blues, who thereby gained a foothold which
they did not lose for years. The death of Baez in 1884 threw the Reds
into confusion and their constant persecution by the "blue" President
Ulises Heureaux effectually crushed them. Ulises Heureaux with Blues,
Reds and Greens built up his own party of "Lilicistas" which remained
in power until his death in 1899. In the later years of Heureaux's
rule the distinguishing color used by his troops was white.

On the death of Heureaux, Juan Isidro Jimenez, as president, and
Horacio Vasquez, as vice-president, came into power. The rivalry
between Jimenez and Vasquez caused a division between their respective
followers, who called themselves Jimenistas and Horacistas, thus
forming the principal parties which continue to the present time. The
old Reds and Blues had disappeared and their survivors aligned
themselves with Jimenez and Vasquez indiscriminately; members of the
Baez family joined old Blues to follow Jimenez, while other old Reds
and Blues as well as the Lilicistas seemed to prefer Vasquez. In 1901
an attempt was made to form a party known as the Republican Party,
which it was intended to endow with a platform, but being composed
largely of Jimenez' friends, it was viewed with suspicion and
fell with him.

In 1902 the Horacistas revolted and obtained the government, only to
be overthrown in 1903 by followers of Jimenez. The new administration
proving odious to both parties they combined to drive it out in the
fall of 1903. The Horacistas gained the upper hand in the succeeding
government and remained in power until 1912, though a serious division
developed in the party, to the extent that the nominal leader, Horacio
Vasquez, himself joined in conspiracies and uprisings against the
administration. His efforts, combined with those of the Jimenistas,
led to the choice of Archbishop Nouel as compromise candidate for
president in 1912. Monsignor Nouel unsuccessfully attempted to govern
with both parties and on his resignation in 1913 another Horacista
became president. Again there was opposition from Horacistas as well
as Jimenistas and in 1914 a Jimenista became provisional president.

At about this time a small third party appeared, led by Federico
Velazquez, a former Horacista. His followers are known as
Velazquistas, though the party has adopted the official name of
Progresista. In the elections of 1914 he joined forces with Jimenez,
who thus secured the presidency. The government, or what remains of it
under the present military occupation, is still constituted largely by
followers of Jimenez and Velazquez.

Though both Jimenistas and Horacistas claim to have the larger
following in the country in general, it is probable that they are
about equally matched, the Velazquistas holding the balance of power.

The Jimenistas are often vulgarly called "bolos" or bob-tailed cocks,
and the Horacistas "rabudos" or "coludos," meaning bushy-tailed or
long-tailed cocks. In the fighting on the Monte Cristi plains the
Jimenistas would often attack, but retire as soon as their opponents
showed fight, and as such tactics reminded the Dominicans of the
habits of bob-tailed fighting cocks, the nicknames were imposed.

The men who attain prominence in politics range all the way from rude
ignorant military chiefs to polished members of the aristocracy. In
looking over the annals of Dominican history the same family names
constantly recur and it may be affirmed that the government of the
country has during the time of independence been in the hands of some
twenty families, the members of which have swayed its councils and led
its revolutions. They have tasted the sweets of power but also the
bitterness of defeat, alternately occupying high positions in the
government and pining in prison or exile. Almost all the chiefs of
state since 1899 would have done honor to any country, but all have
been obliged by the exigencies of politics to give places in their
entourage to men of low standing, whose deeds or misdeeds when in
power and whose unbridled ambition, have been a factor in the civil
wars. At the present moment perhaps the most prominent political
figure is Federico Velazquez, a man of unusual force of character, who
as minister of finance under Caceres, enforced the settlement of the
Dominican debt and gave what was probably the most honest
administration of public revenues in the Republic's history. He is one
of the few men having the moral courage openly to advocate American
cooperation in the government of the country. He is about forty-seven
years old, was born in Tamboril, near Santiago, and advanced through
the stages of schoolmaster, shopkeeper, secretary to Vasquez and
Caceres, and cabinet minister, to the position of a political leader.

The ill-feeling akin to hatred between many members of the political
parties is incredible to one not accustomed to Latin-American
politics. They will have nothing in common, neither will acknowledge
the existence of any good in the other, they endeavor to keep apart in
the clubs, they do not care to buy in each other's stores. Even the
women enter into this bitterness and engagements have been broken
because the bridegroom was discovered to favor one party while the
bride or her family sympathized with the other.

The parties are not unalterably composed of the same individuals. On
the contrary a great number of the leaders and of the rank and file
are continually drifting from one party to another, evincing
particular anxiety to "get on the band-wagon." These changelings,
while they belong to any one party, affect to be its most ardent
supporters in order to avert any suspicion of insincerity. Much of the
disorder which has sapped the life-blood of the Republic has been due
to disappointed office-seekers who suddenly veered about and joined
the opposing party.

Not only to personal ambitions and corruption of the persons in power,
but also to the perfunctory mode in which elections have been
conducted the many revolutions are to be ascribed. The municipal
councils in the communes and the justices of the peace and two
residents in the cantons form the election board before which the
voters of the respective commune or canton are supposed to appear to
deposit their votes. It is evident that if anything more than a small
proportion of the qualified voters appeared, such election boards
would be swamped, yet no difficulty has ever been registered. The
election of the presidential candidate supported by the government was
generally so certain that all other aspirants realized the futility of
launching their candidacy, and their followers either voted for the
official candidate or refrained from voting. In this connection I am
reminded of the convincing political speeches attributed to one of
the foremost men of La Vega during the farcical campaigns preceding
the elections of Heureaux. He is quoted as saying: "My friends, this
Republic is founded on the free and unrestricted suffrage of its
citizens. It is the proud boast of the Dominican that under the
constitution he may vote as he pleases. You are therefore free to cast
your vote for whomsoever you prefer. I would not be your friend,
however, if I did not advise you that whoever does not vote for
Heureaux might as well leave the country." In elections for municipal
councilmen and members of Congress there was occasionally an exception
to the rule of having a cut and dried program and contests sometimes
arose for a seat.

The real campaigns and expressions of the people's will have therefore
been the revolutions, and politics and revolutions have thus come to
be regarded as going hand in hand. In a town of the Cibao an
expression of the garrulous landlady of the inn attracted my
attention. The old lady, after regaling me with the local gossip,

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