Captured in color: the oldest European city in the New World

Drawing of Santo Domingo

16th century

Drawing of Santo Domingo

Drawing of Santo Domingo

— 16th century

  1. Santa Domingo was founded by Europeans in 1619, making it the oldest European city in the New World

  2. The map was commissioned by the governor of Santo Domingo and sent to the King of Spain

  3. The city, fortifications included, is shown amidst a lush woodland and situated directly on a great river

Drawing of Santo Domingo

Alternative Titles:
  • Mapa de Santo Domingo
  • Karte von Santo Domingo
Drawing of Santo Domingo – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
Drawing of Santo Domingo – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
Drawing of Santo Domingo – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

This gorgeous map of Santo Domingo from the year 1619 presents the oldest city erected by Europeans in the New World. Lying on the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, a late–15th century settlement was reestablished on the western bank of the Rio Ozama in 1502. The map, which was commissioned by the governor of Santo Domingo and sent to the King of Spain, shows the city in the middle of a lush woodland and situated directly on a great river, as well as depicting the surrounding fortifications that were erected for the protection of the settlement from enemy attacks. In this way, the impressive history of Santo Domingo, the capitol of the modern Dominican Republic, can be traced to its beginnings. The spirit of the Age of Discovery in the New World is brought back to life!

Drawing of Santo Domingo

This gorgeous map of Santo Domingo from the year 1619 presents the oldest city erected by Europeans in the New World. Lying on the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, a late–15th century settlement was reestablished on the western bank of the Rio Ozama in 1502. The map, which was commissioned by the governor of Santo Domingo and sent to the King of Spain, shows the city in the middle of a lush woodland and situated directly on a great river, as well as depicting the surrounding fortifications that were erected for the protection of the settlement from enemy attacks. In this way, the impressive history of Santo Domingo, the capitol of the modern Dominican Republic, can be traced to its beginnings. The spirit of the Age of Discovery in the New World is brought back to life!

Water, Forest, and a Settlement

The 81 x 41 cm paper map presents itself as a gorgeous execution of colored pen drawing. At the mouth of a river, lying in the middle of a green primeval forest, an extensive settlement is found. Only a few buildings are depicted, most likely only the most important buildings were deemed worthy of illustration. The city is encompassed to the west and east by a long wall, bordered to the south by the river, and open to the nature north of it. A narrow river stretches behind the primeval forest to the west, and behind this is a sandy region of numerous veins of water. Paths stretch out from the settlement through the woodland to the narrow river in the west of the island. A barren region extends across from the settlement to the east of the river. Numerous magnificent small ships people the water and harbors before the city and countless inscriptions explain the locations and buildings.

The Center of the New World

This settlement in question is Santo Domingo, the modern capitol of the Dominican Republic. It is still the country’s most important harbor. The city lies on the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus on the 5th of December, 1492 during his first voyage of discovery west across the Atlantic. Santo Domingo is the oldest European settlement in the New World and the oldest city to be erected by Europeans in the New World. The region has been settled since 1496, but was nevertheless officially founded in 1498, to wit by the brother of Christopher Columbus, Bartolomeo. The name of the city at that time was La Nueva Isabela.

A World Heritage Site

The settlement at the Rio Ozama was reestablished under its current name in 1502 on the western bank of the river, this time according to the standards of the ideal Renaissance city. The first university of the Americas was founded in 1538 and the first cathedral of the New World was consecrated there in 1540. Today, the old city of Santo Domingo is on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. The map was presumably made by the engineer Bernardo de Silva and was sent to the King of Spain along with a letter and an account for the war council at the behest of the governor of Santo Domingo, Diego Gómez de Sandoval. Today, this gem from 1619 is stored in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Mapa de Santo Domingo
Karte von Santo Domingo
Size / Format
1 city map / 81.0 x 41.0 cm
Date
16th century

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Drawing of Santo Domingo“

Mapa de Santo Domingo
Drawing of Santo Domingo – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
Drawing of Santo Domingo – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
Drawing of Santo Domingo – Archivo General de Indias (Seville, Spain)
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Mapa de Santo Domingo

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2009
Binding
Luxury leather folder embossed in gold. Contains one map
Commentary
1 volume by Jose Manuel Ruiz Asencio
Language: Spanish
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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