2 January 2007

Punta Cana Princess Resort, Punta Cana, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo is an ancient Caribbean seaport city of firsts, discovered by Christopher Columbus it became the first capital of the new territories, the first to have Spanish coinage, a fort, a monastery, a cathedral, a university, a hospital and a palace.

Santo Domingo is where Madrid's rulers in 1512 set up the highest level of its judicial system since the Middle Ages, the Spanish Colonies' first royal appellate court.

Columbus’ brother Bartolome, who moved the temporary capital from Hispaniola’s north-west coast, founded it in August 1496. Christopher Columbus set up its first settlement, Navidad after discovering the island in December 1492. Columbus later established a community he called Isabela in the north-west, which Bartolome later moved to present-day Santo Domingo.

Serving as the base of exploration for the New World discoverer for 17 months, the seaport soon became the centre of Spanish activity in the Greater Antilles. Later, Spanish conquistadores used Santo Domingo as the jumping-off point to conquer other lands and explore.

Hernan Cortes sailed to Puerto Rico From Santo Domingo's harbor, Ponce de Leon to launched his attack on Mexico, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa set out on his journey that discovered the Pacific Ocean and Diego de Velazquez went off to settle Cuba.

The United Nations Educational recognized Santo Domingo’s Spanish colonization period, and its many “firsts”, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Santo Domingo the cultural heritage of the New World.

The Quincentennial of the discovery of the West Indies, celebrated throughout the world in 1992, was marked in the Dominican capital with the official dedication and lighting of the massive monument to Christopher Columbus. The 800-foot-high stone and marble structure is in the shape of a crucifix, and a system of powerful light beams project the image of a cross in the darkened skies. In the heart of the monument is the Columbus tomb, containing the remains of the explorer. Chapels and museums housing historical treasures and a representative exhibition of all the countries of the Americas surround it.

Santo Domingo celebrated its 500th birthday in August 1998. 

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