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Frey Nicolás de Ovando

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Estatua de Frey Nicolás de Ovando en Santo Domingo

Nacimiento: Cáceres (Spain) 1460.

Death: 29 May 1511 in Seville.

Burial: St. Benedict of Alcantara Church (Cáceres – Spain)

Charges:

– Prince John’s preceptor until his death in 1497.

– Major Commander of the Orden of Alcantara in 1494.

– Governor of the Hispaniola Government from 1502 to 1509.

Most relevant facts:

– He founded the city of Santo Domingo in 1502 after being destroyed by a hurricane.

– Reorganized the Spanish administration for a more efficient management of taxes.

– Pacified the Hispaniola Island defeated the rebel chieftains. For these military actions he has been accused of excessive severity, especially for the execution of Anacaona and several taínos caciques.

– He developed agriculture with the introduction of sugar cane and livestock farming with the importation from Spain of pigs, cattle, horses and mules.

– He founded numerous villas all over Spain: Compostela de Azua, Santa Marí­a de la Vera Paz, Bayajá, Salvatierra de la Sabana, Salvaleón de Higüey, Cotuí­, Puerto Plata, Santa Cruz de Hicay.

– He promoted and organized the expeditions of Ponce de León to Puerto Rico and Sebastian de Ocampo to Cuba.

– It boosted the arrival of African slaves to be used as labour, since the use of Indians as slaves was expressly forbidden by the crown.

Other data of interest:

– As a summary of his performance on the Hispaniola island, it is easy to say that in 1502 he arrived at a place in complete social, political and military chaos and when he returned to Spain in 1509 he left it peaceful, with a new and efficient administration based on the Castilian model and a prosperous economy.

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