This small triangle-shaped park is dedicated to the great woman patriot Maria Trinidad Sanchez. She is the Aunt of one of the Fathers of the Nation, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez. She represents the best of female leadership at the time. In this tree filled park is a bust of this brave Dominican woman with benches surrounding.
Maria was a Dominican activist who actively participated in the independence of the Dominican Republic against the Annexation to Spain. She collaborated with Los Trinitarios, who shared the ideal of a free and independent republic. On February 27, 1844, at the peak of the battle she carried gunpowder to make the gun cartridges used that night underneath her skirt.
Maria Sanchéz was very involved in the conspiracy of 1845 against General Santana who later became president. Maria and the others involved were caught and imprisoned. She was put on trial for conspiracy. When she was questioned about the location of her nephew, Francisco Sanchez, she refused to tell where he and the other members of the Trinitarios were hiding.
This heroic deed, among others, led to her execution. She was lead out of her prison in Fortaleza Ozama to the Cemetery where she was to be shot. As she passed by the Puerta del Conde (Parque Independencia) she exclaimed: “Dios mío, cúmplase en mí tu voluntad y sálvese la República”/ “My God, your will it be done to me and save yourself the Republic.”
First Victim of Political Crimes
Maria was one of the first victims of political crimes in the history of the Republic. She was executed, along with her nephew Andrés Sánchez, because of her actions against the annexation of the country to Spain.
Maria Trinidad Sanchez was shot on February 27, 1845 on the first anniversary of the founding of the Republic. She was executed because of her dedication and love for the country and for her desire for the sovereignty of the Dominican Republic.
Maria Sanchez – Born June 16, 1794 – Died February 27, 1845
Corners of Luperon, Calle Mercedes and 19 de Marzo. From Calle el Conde turn up (north – away from the sea) on 19 de Marzo, 2 blocks on the left.
The Alcazar de Colón, the Puerta de San Diego and Plaza España are all part of the historical colonial city. The Columbus Palace was in ruins until it was painstakingly renovated and opened to the public in 1957.
Then (above) – The Alcazar de Colón, Puerta de San Diego and Plaza España in 1944 before the Alcazar was renovated. Plaza España had more green areas at this time. The city at this time in the past was called Ciudad Trujillo. – National Geographic Magazine March 1944.
Now (below) – A Panoramic view of the Alcazar de Colon, Puerta de San Diego and Plaza España in the present time – August 2014.
La Puerta de Charles III / The Gate of Charles III and El Portal de la Fortaleza/ The Gate of the Fortress – 1787
The original entrance to the Fortaleza Ozama dates from 1557-1564. The doors, The Gate of Charles III, that are still here now came almost 2 centuries later in 1787 and was named after King Charles III of Spain. Made from imported African ebony these were built during the reign of the king for which it is named. Built when there was much economic prosperity thus their elaborateness. They wanted it to be impressive as this was main entry to the fort, the first thing all visitors saw.
When entering this magnificent gate you can’t help but to be impressed. Just imagine how it might have felt to enter those gates into the grand arcade and garden. Beyond was the imposing tower and military buildings. Plus all the activity that might have been going on inside the fort during its hey day.
It is interesting to note holes in the doors. These holes are from bullets fired during the United States second invasion of Dominican Republic in 1965 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 42,000 marines and soldiers to protect their interests during the Revolución de Abril de 1965 when the country was in a state of civil war.
(2.) The Statue of Oviedo – 1977
The bronze Statue of Oviedo was created in 1977 by Spanish artist Joaquín Vaquero Turcios to honor Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. Oviedo was governor of the fortress and also warden of the prison from 1533 to 1557.
Under the administration of Oviedo Santo Domingo reached its most brilliant period in the settlements history. Because of Oveidos geographical and administrative knowledge, every captain, military person, chief, discoverer and conqueror visited his office for advice. The legend states that when he was killed he held the keys to the gate. These keys had to be pried from his dead hand. Oveido was the first chronicler of the Indies and had an official title and salary. He wrote “Historia General y Natural de las Indias” while holding his paid post under His Majesty Charles V.
(3.) La Torre del Homenaje – 1503.
Torre del Homenaje / The Tower of Homage, resembling a medieval castle, was build inside the fort by Nicolás de Ovando in 1503. Ships were hailed from the top of this monstrous looking building. It has very little ornamentation and looks very serious and sobering. This tower, with its 2-meter thick walls, was the tallest building (18m) in the entire colony in the 16th century. It was the only building of its type in the New World.
The main gate faces north where is the remains of the coat of arms of Charles V that the Haitians tried to remove during their occupancy, but somehow this was saved.
The Tower has served many purposes in its long history. Don Diego Colon, Admiral Christopher Columbus’ son, and his wife, Doña Maria of Toledo (she was a relative of King Ferdinand the Catholic) stayed here while their new home, The Alcazar de Colon, was being built. The family lived on the second floor and the servants lived on the first.
Entering the towers main floor there is a small courtyard. On the far side is an opening where you can look down into a brick dungeon. This is where Juan Pablo Duarte was held during the Haitian occupation in 1836. It was also a prison where many political figures were jailed. Peña Gómez, Juan Bosch and Bienvenido Peynado all had the distinction of being incarcerated there. The north wing was the residence of the warden. The South wing held an arsenal and a cistern.
The window like openings in the tower are called ojos magicos/ magic eyes. Through these openings the person on the inside could watch the comings and goings on the outside without being seen. These openings provided a great advantage when it came to defending the area. It was easy to shoot out the small “eye” and very difficult trying to shoot into the thin line from the outside.
(4.) Armory Polvorín – 1787
Armory Polvorín de Santa Bárbara / The Arsenal is a rectangle shaped building and was constructed in 1787. The walls are 3 meters thick and there is only 1 door. Above the door is a small niche that holds the figure of Santa Bárbara, the patron saint of the gunners. The door is topped with a coat of arms picturing the Golden Fleece, the royal emblem of Charles 3. The Armory was surrounded with its own defenses of which one can see only its remains. Inside the armory is a large vault where gunpowder, weapons and ammunition were stored. The polvorín was intended to resemble a church to mislead the pirates.
(5.) Plataforma de Tiro Baja / The Low Shooting Platform – 1570 , built in 1570, has a series of embrasures for the cannons and other arms for battle. This platform was used to protect the port with low-level fire. The ramp let the cannons be moved to where they were needed most.
(6.) Plataforma de Tiro Alta / The High Shooting Platform – 1650 provided protection to the port from a high range of shooting. Note: All the cannons here now came from ships that were sunk during the colonial period.
(7.) La Primera Obra
The remains of la Primera Obra/ The First Fort Constructed, all that is left of the first or provisional fort can be seen. This was built in the beginning of the 16th century at the same time the tower was erected. All that can be seen now is the shape of 3 chambers (two small and 1 large) within the outline. The cannons laying inside the remains are not from the original fort. They were all removed over the years, probably sold for their iron.
(8.) The Old Army Barracks
When Spain sent a strong battalion around 1789 new and stronger quarters were built along Calle Las Damas. The old surrounding wall, dated around the 16th century, was integrated with the new parallel wall. The remains of the second wall can still be seen. These walls supported the roof of the barracks.
(9)El Fuerte de Santiago – 1567
Fuerte de Santiago / The Fort of Santiago was the first line of defense for the Fortress. It was built with stone and brick in 1567. All that remains are four arches and a small part of the original floor. Inside the fort you can block out the surroundings and really imagine what it might have been like in the late 1500’s.
The original sentry house/ Garita Ozama on the farthest point inside the fort is still there.
(10.) Casa de Bastidas
Casa de Bastidas/ House of Bastidas was built next to the Tower of Homage/ Torre del Homenaje in the early 16th (XVI) century around 1505. This 3 thousand square meter home has beautiful arches, a large patio and a long corridor along with Roman columns. Rodrigo de Bastidas, who was Honorary Mayor / Alcalde Ordinario of Santo Domingo in 1512 and the founder of many different South American cities. After his tragic death in Cuba his son Bishop Rodrigo de Bastidas and grandson lived in the house. It was occupied by the family heirs for more than a century.
The building was redone and updated in the eighteenth century (XVIII) when a small image of the virgin Santa Barbara was added. Now is is beautifully restored bringing back, for all to see, the marvelous times of colonial Santo Domingo. It is not the home of the Museo Infantil Trampolín.
More information about the Casa de Bastidas.
(11.) Muralla de Felix Benito
There are 2 different walls surrounding the Fort. The inside stone wall is the original. The coral wall bordered on the Rio Ozama and the Caribbean Sea (you can see the picture below dated 1910). The waters edge came very close to the old walls. This wall is not as thick as the interior walls. If there was an explosion the wall would fall outward to the river restricting any possible damage.
The higher, newer wall dates only to the time of Trujillo. This wall was constructed by the Puerto Rican Félix Benito. The purpose of the wall was to separate the fort from the newly constructed port facility. The road on the outside of this tall wall was made from river fill when they dredged the Rio Ozama to create the access road around the old city and to create new larger port facilities. Much of the old structures were lost in the creating of the port and the road Aveneda George Washington also known as the Malecon.
This is a picture of the Fortaleza Ozama as seen from Rio Ozama in 1910. This is before they made the road around the Colonial City, Avenida George Washington, and put up the stronger walls for safety for the road.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas
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