Tag Archives: money

Helps – Money Tipping

Helps – Money, Tipping and More

I give these suggestions only to make your vacation be hassle free. Many of these precautions are very obvious. They are precautions any wise human would use in any country throughout the world. The problem (or the non-problem) in the Dominican Republic is once you see the glorious sun, the white sand beaches and have a little bit of the refreshing beverages you forget your inhibitions and let your guard down. Relax and enjoy. Just be aware of your surroundings as with any place you travel the world over.

Banco de Reservas is a good place to exchange monies.
Banco de Reservas is a good place to exchange monies.

Money

*Note the difference between a BANK (exchange, deposit and do money transactions) and a BANCO (making bets or playing the lottery)

*The Dominican Republic uses the Dominican peso. It is always better to pay for things with the peso than with other currency. When you arrive in the country exchange the money you will need right away at the airport. When you get out of the airport you will usually find exchange rates to be better at banks or cambios (currency exchange offices). Check the posted rates for any given day. In general, hotels and restaurants will not give you as good a rate as banks or cambio places.

*BEWARE the money changers in the street. Some are good and reputable and work for an exchange business usually close by where they are standing. To be safe NEVER use this manner of exchanging your money unless you know these people well. No matter how smart you think you are these people are smarter. The ones that are thieves have perfected their art. Many will take advantage and be off and running before you even know what happened. Ask around to find a reputable cambio office. Always check rates.

*If you have a safe in your hotel use it. Don’t carry all your cash and documents on your person. Just in case. I suggest making a copy of your passport and carry that for identification purposes. You cannot use a copy if you are doing some sort of business or exchanging money in a bank, but for general identification purposes carrying a copy of this document is the safest. (I suggest making copies of all documents, credit cards and important items and email them to yourself. This way you have copies of everything if something bad happens.)

*When you do exchange money, especially in a Cambio business make sure to count it in front of the exchanger. Many have been known to do the short change trick (folded money, counting fast..etc.).

*It is best to use a Western Union office or bank to exchange your monies if you are not sure of a Cambio office. They are much more secure. Usually the rates are not too bad. I do have a few cambio/ exchange places that I know are reputable here in Colonial Zone listed in the business section. Remember to take original ID with you when you exchange money. Copies are not accepted.

*When you do exchange money make sure you put it away before going into the street. Carrying money in the open is like a hand written invitation to any potential ladrone/ robber in the area. Also, if any vendor sees you flashing money they are for sure going to charge you top price for anything you purchase from them.

*As with any large city you visit don’t be stupid. No matter what city you visit in the world there is always someone around looking to take what others have. So don’t make what you have obvious inviting potential problems.

*I also suggest putting your money in different places on your person (I always do this anytime I visit a place where there are people milling about). Put a little in your shoe. Spread it out in 2 different pockets. Ladies put some in your bra. This way if you are robbed they will not get it all and you will not be stranded someplace with no food money or cab fare.

*Using a bank machine also called a cajero in Dominican Republic. If you can find a swipe machine instead of one where you have to lose hold of your card it is better. This way, just in case, the machine eats your card, you don’t have to go through all the frustration of calling your home bank, canceling the card, or worrying that someone will get hold of it and use it. Remember – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS A VERY HIGH PERCENTAGE OF CREDIT CARD AND BANK FRAUD.

Cajero Bank Machine at BanReservas
Cajero Bank Machine at BanReservas

*It is always more secure to use a bank machine located inside a bank. This way if your money does not pop out (as sometimes is the case) you can go into the bank and deal with the problem there. A machine outside of a business is not owned by the business where the machine is located and they cannot help you if you lose money or your card.

*I suggest, if you need money from a credit card, why not go into a bank and ask for the money from there (just make sure you have your passport and ID or they will not do the transaction). Dominican Republic does have a very high rate of credit card fraud. If you decide you do want to use a credit card here make sure to check your statement and keep all receipts just to be on the safe side.

*Try not to pay for services in advance. Hotels and tours on line are usually fine but I have heard stories about someone booking on line only to find that there is no such hotel and no phone number to contact anyone. If you pay a small business, taxi, or person in the street, there is a good chance they will conveniently forget about the deposit and you will be out of luck (and money). There are many reputable businesses that are safe. Try and get some referrals if possible. Just be cautious of the person in the street.

*If something does happen, which it can happen to the most street savvy person in the world (even a thief can be robbed by another thief), don’t let it ruin your vacation. If you are in a resort or hotel report any loss to them. If the loss or thievery happens in the street and you want to report it to the police and it will make you feel better, do so. Many times the police know the thieves in their area and will be able to recover an item. Especially in the tourist areas, they are usually willing to help.

*Be aware when playing in the Casinos. They are not regulated as closely as in some other countries. Watch and fight for what you feel is your correct payout and I suggest only playing games you know. Try not to use your credit card when playing this way you know your limit and they cannot take money without you knowing. Also, be aware of people watching you and how much money you are winning. The men or women are known to follow those with money and make certain offers for a price (wink wink). Remember, if you do go in debt to a casino they can stop you from leaving the country until your debt is paid.

*Travelers Checks are NOT the same as cash here in Dominican Republic. Maybe you will not have a problem cashing a travelers check in some of the larger hotels and resorts but, in general, most places DO NOT take them. Banks will exchange a travelers check (sometimes) but you may have to wait for hours for them to make sure the check is good. (Trust me on this one, my family was here and we waited 3 hours in the bank to exchange $100 in travelers checks in US Dollars and I even had an account in that bank). Many places, if they do cash the check, will charge you a small fee to do so. So, in the end, you pay for the travelers check, you pay more for the bank to make the exchange, and you wait a long time for all the transactions. Read my blog, The Dominican Gringa, about our Travelers Checks /Fat Chance story.

Making change with candy, halls (mentahal) and chicklets (chickle) in Dominican Republic.
Making change with candy, halls (mentahal) and chicklets (chickle) in Dominican Republic.

*Many times here businesses do not have small change. Paying with small bills or coin is best. When you exchange money ask for smaller bills. Businesses are known to either give you chicklets or halls as change when they have none or they will just keep the change. Remember, chicklets and small pieces of candy here are considered to be a form of money. Not for paying for an item but when receiving cash back candy is a form of currency.

*Business will round up the cash amount. Say you buy some groceries and the bill is $23.50 pesos. We do not use centavos here any longer even though many of the products still are priced this way. They will round the bill, either up or down (usually up), a peso.

*There is an 18% sales tax called ITBIS or Impuestos included on most bills you will receive. In 2013 at the beginning of the year the ITBIS rose from 16% to 18% and 10% will be imposed on many of the past tax-exempt items. Some show this amount on the bill others do not. This is a countrywide tax. It is the way the government charges taxes to all people equally. Also, many times, there is a 10% fee added for tips or service charge. Check your bills.

ALWAYS KEEP THE PHONE NUMBER / CONTACT OF YOUR EMBASSY HANDY IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES

Tipping and More

One of the many restaurants located in P¨laza España in the Colonial Zone.
One of the many restaurants located in P¨laza España in the Colonial Zone.

*One needs to expect that in most Dominican restaurants, cafes, bars and businesses in general, service can be slow and inattentive. It’s not important if the place is high class or if you are eating at a little place on the street. Don’t let it upset you. It will not help at all. It will just make you miserable and give people something to look and laugh at when you lose your temper. Remember, you are on vacation. You are not going to change the way things are and always have been here on the island. No matter how upset you get. (There is historical documentation that states that people of the tropical islands are slow, maybe due to the heat. Go to the historical document page, Édouard de Montulé, Voyage to North America, the West Indies, and the Mediterranean read some of these interesting documents for yourself.)

*There is a 10% gratuity, tip (propina) or service charge added to the bill in many businesses (the country tax is the 18% ITBIS which is a different tax. Not all places add this gratuity into the bill. Make sure you look at the bill. This is usually (note I said USUALLY, sometimes they never receive this money) divided between ALL the restaurant workers in their bi-weekly paycheck. You should always add a little extra tip in cash (average pay for food servers is around $4000 pesos a month, sometimes less) if you are pleased with the service. I suggest adding another 5-10% or more tip (these daily cash tips are usually split between the workers of that day). When you want to give a little extra to your waiter/ waitress, give them the tip directly. *Be sure to check your bill very carefully. Sometimes other charges (friends drinks..etc.) could be placed on your bill that you may have not authorized.

*It is also nice to leave tips for people that help you. The person in your hotel. The maid that cleans your room every day (many people leave gifts for the maids). The shoeshine boys in the park. Just remember if you leave them a tip in monies other than pesos please do not give them coin change (example: US 25 cents). Only paper bills or pesos. There is no money exchange place that will exchange coin. So this means that coins (other than Dominican Pesos) are worth nothing to them.

*Remember, do not take large amounts of money out of your pocket or purse where people on the street can see. You set yourself up for being robbed. And sometimes, even worse, you will get an entourage of shoeshine boys, street people and even dogs (yes, they can sense generous tourists also) following you asking for handouts. At times some of these beggars can be quite aggressive and persistent.

*If you get any services from people on the street they most likely expect a tip. For example, someone offering to take you to a restaurant, introduce you to women or men, or show you around. These people work for the monies they receive from people that use their services. Even if they offer you any information, no matter how small, they usually want something for this. Many people do offer their info for free but many do not. Usually, in tourist areas, these people offer their expertise and knowledge for a price. Just be aware and ask in advance what they want so you are not hassled later.

Helpful Hints – Driving Public Transportation

Driving and Using Public Transportation

Some helpful hints and ideas when traveling that could make your time in The Dominican Republic more enjoyable. I highly advise that you do not drive until you know the ways of the road. Taking public transportation or a taxi is much easier than trying to drive yourself.

Morning rush hour traffic crossing the Puente Flotante / Floating Bridge coming into Santo Domingo.
Morning rush hour traffic crossing the Puente Flotante / Floating Bridge coming into Santo Domingo.

Driving is done on the right side of the road.

Right turn on red is permitted.

Most Dominicans do not drive at night, especially outside of the city. Most roads are not well lit so you cannot see the obstacles. Many roads are bad. Some are very good then they suddenly will have a giant rut or change in an instant to a dirt road. You must always be alert. Also, headlights do not function the best here. Many cars do not have lights, they do not use lights or they always have the high beams on. Many Motor Cycles do not have lights at all and are very difficult to see.

A dark highway without and street lights on the return to Santo Domingo.
A dark highway without and street lights on the return to Santo Domingo.

Fill up the gas tank of your car if you are driving and keep an eye on it, especially if leaving the city or going out at night. Gas stations are few and far between in rural areas. The stations are not self serve. Be alert and keep an eye on the attendants pumping your gas to be sure that no adds-ons are happening to your bill. Many of these attendants are good at deceiving. Some will charge for gas they did not put into your tank giving them a little extra money in their pockets.

An unwritten rule of the road. The bigger your vehicle the more rights you have. Little guys get out of the way for the big boys.

Traffic on the streets of Santo Domingo.
Traffic on the streets of Santo Domingo.

Speed limit signs are in KM’s, not miles, so be aware of this. Even if the speed is posted it is not USUALLY enforced. It all just depends on the mood of the officer that day or the officer might need a little extra cash in his pocket.

If you are driving keep some change handy in the car. This way you will not have to reach into your pocket to give money. The person that helped you park, the attendant, the passing beggar, the guy that just washed your windshield (even if you did not want it), all want a handout. Also, many of the toll roads are the type where you throw change into the bin. It is always easier to have change handy instead of having to make change at the booth.

A toll booth in Santo Domingo.
A toll booth in Santo Domingo.

Someone most likely will approach you when you park your car. They will offer to watch your car for a price. Give them a small amount and tell them you’ll give them more when you return. This way they MIGHT pay more attention to your vehicle to make sure it is safe in the street.

Pare / Stop and other directional road signs on the road to La Romana.
Pare / Stop and other directional road signs on the road to La Romana.

Traffic laws are similar to those in the United States. In Dominican Republic drivers, in general, do not pay attention to the driving laws. Turns are made from opposite sides of the roads and turn signals are just pretty lights. Cars are known to stop without any warning and in the center of the road. So when driving always watch closely to what is going on around you. People drive aggressively. They do not yield or give right-of-way. Stop signs (Pare) are a rare sight and even if you do see them not many pay attention to them. *Note: They are starting to watch more for traffic violations. If you have a large violation or crash you could have your car taken or go to jail, even if you are a tourist.

Try and practice the word no or better yet the “I don’t see you or hear you” look. If you are not good at either of these make sure your window is wound up when you are at a stoplight. There are many vendors trying to sell items to people at stop lights or any place where cars are stopped on the streets. If you purchase anything be sure to get the item in your hand before you give the cash. There are also beggars at street stops asking for a handout. If you wish to give a little change that’s ok, if not don’t make eye contact or acknowledge their presence.

Traffic can be very chaotic on the city streets.
Traffic can be very chaotic on the city streets.

Seat belts are the law here. Many laws are not enforced but this law is one of the few that they are very strict about. Using a cell phone while driving..DON’T! This is another thing that WILL get you in trouble if the police see you. Going through a stop sign you might and might not get a ticket. Talking on a cell phone when driving WILL get you a ticket. Use a hands free device.

Pedestrians tend to step out into traffic and do not pay attention to cross walks, corners, or traffic signals even though they DO NOT have the right-of-way. People cross everywhere. Even on the busy highways and interstate roads. Be cautious, you do not want to hit someone or even bump into them.

Traffic jam in Santa Barbara with pedestrians trying to direct the traffic.
Traffic jam in Santa Barbara with pedestrians trying to direct the traffic.

Motorcycles and motor scooters outnumber the cars in the Dominican Republic. The drivers are supposed to wear helmets. Sometimes this law is enforced and other times it is ignored. Motor drivers will work their way through traffic while everyone is stopped at an intersection to get to the front of the line. They drive on the sides of the road and even on sidewalks. Many do not have lights. They drive the wrong way on the roads. This is not true for all motorcycle drivers just most. You need to remember that a motorbike could be anywhere at any time and at any place.

Do not leave your purse or belongings on the seat near you if your windows are down. Keep them on the floor between your feet with the strap held or wrapped around your leg. Grab and runs are very common.

When talking on your cell phone use caution if the window is down. I know many people that have had their phones torn from their hands while talking from someone in the street or a motorbike passing by.

A dirt road in the campo. Little girls are rolling tired down the street.
A dirt road in the campo. Little girls are rolling tired down the street.

Watch when you open your car door. There may be a motorcycle driver coming up the side of the road.

Watch out for Horse carts. They move slow and are found in many of the streets. They also cross in front of cars with no regard for their surroundings.

Goats taking a stroll down the street near Lago Enriquillo.
Goats taking a stroll down the street near Lago Enriquillo.

There are no large wild animals in Dominican Republic. No deer or skunks to watch out for in the street. There are goats, horses, pigs and cows that do like to hang out in the streets. Even in the cities. Be aware!

A vehicle crash on the street going to Barahona. People usually gather around to see what is happening.
A vehicle crash on the street going to Barahona. People usually gather around to see what is happening.

If you do have a wreck try and resolve the incident without police help if possible. Give the other driver some cash and get out of there unless it is a serious crash with injuries. Remember, if you have a wreck you may not be able to leave the island if there are any problems. You could end up in jail until it is resolved.

Driving while drinking is not permitted. The country has been cracking down on drinking and driving so be aware. If you are in a wreck or do a traffic no-no drunk you’ll be in big trouble. Even though they say no drinking and driving, many people do and the police really do not pay much attention unless you look like you are doing something wrong or make a mistake.

Public Transportation

The larger tour busses are quite comfortable and clean. They have air conditioning that can get VERY COLD. Remember to take a jacket or wrap with you. Most likely you will need it.

When riding a bus some can get very noisy. Dominicans do like to listen to their music loud and they think everyone likes it that way also.

Loading up the guagua from San Jose de Ocoa to Rancho Arriba.
Loading up the guagua from San Jose de Ocoa to Rancho Arriba.

When riding a local bus or Guagua they can get loud and are many times dirty and crowded. Many of the smaller guaguas or busses do not have air conditioning so you have to open the windows. They can make many stops along the route. You could even be riding with a box of chickens in the back! So relax and try and enjoy the experience. Nothing much else you can do except getting upset (which does not help) or you can get off the bus. Remember, when stops are made watch for a might-be thief putting his hand into the window to take what you have when you are not paying attention and cannot make chase. It happens often so be aware.

Motor transport can come in many forms. Be careful.
Motor transport can come in many forms. Be careful.

I strongly suggest, especially if you are not familiar with the country, get a taxi or use public transportation. Do Not rent a car to travel around the country. Driving is not easy here. If you get in any type of accident you may not be able to leave the country until it is resolved. Remember, the police do not get paid much money (in general, basic pay can be less than $200 US Dollars a month). This is not enough to raise a family so many of the police do look for tips (regalas). Some spot a tourist and will pull them over and ask for money or they will give you a ticket or take you to jail. It is up to you, but I suggest try not to give money or give a small amount just to get out of the problem. Do not let them see how much money you have. Do not get too aggressive in your argument with them (a little arguing is expected). Many say to make a copy of your drivers license and give this to them instead of the original. Again I suggest, just to be safe, use a taxi. *note- I do not know about the police asking for a tip first hand. This is only what I have been told by other Expats and Dominicans alike. I have never had a problem with this in my years in the country. I do always use a taxi or public transportation.

When taking a taxi always ask before hand what the fare will be. This way you can decide then whether to take that car or not. Once you have taken the ride you have no choice but to pay what he asks. I used to make them write down the price so they could not change it later.

Driving through the tunnel in Santo Domingo.
Driving through the tunnel in Santo Domingo.

When using public transportation be aware of your surroundings. Watch who is close to you, bumping into you or making loud noises can be to distract you into not paying attention to the hand reaching into your pocket or worse.

The Public cars are convenient and inexpensive. I strongly suggest that you do not use Public cars at night. Best to take a taxi. Official registered public cars will have an ID badge in the car with the drivers picture and their identity number.

Have the money to pay the driver or bus attendant in your hand or in a convenient place away from your other monies. This way you will not be showing how much money you have to all the passengers.

The highway to Miches. Sometimes the road just is not there any longer.
The highway to Miches. Sometimes the road just is not there any longer.

Always try and smile and be nice to the driver. Tell them thank you. If possible, in a public car, say the drivers name when speaking to him. This way they know you know who they are.

Look in the car first. If you don’t like the look of the driver or passengers (most likely you won’t like the look of the car, but this is normal. Can’t be too choosy with this point) don’t get it. Wait for the next car to pass. The Dominicans do this so you can also. It is better to be safe than sorry. Follow your feelings and instincts.

Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake

aka Pirate Drake, Privater Drake (1540-1596)

1.History | 2.Slave Trade | 3.The Commission | 4.Santo Domingo Invasion | 5.Voyage Maps | 6.Drake Settles Down | 7.Interesting Facts

History

Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon, England in either 1541 or 1542. He was the son of Edmund Drake, a farmer later turned preacher.

The Drake family fled to Kent during the Roman Catholic uprising of 1549. When Francis, the second son in a large family, was 13 he went to sea on a cargo barge. By the time he was 20 he became master of the ship.

When the captain of the ship died Drake assumed command making his first sail to the new world when he was 23. He was involved in some of the first English slave trade expeditions. Loved by Queen Elizabeth 1, Drake went on to become one of the most famous men in Elizabethan times. As a sailor, adventurer, navigator, politician, engineer and landowner, he was a legend in his own lifetime.

Slave Trade

Sir John Hawkins, a cousin of Drake, was given permission from Queen Elizabeth to make his first voyage in 1562. Drake accompanied him on this voyage. Hawkins was to bring Africans to the Americas under their own free will. He agreed to this condition but did not do as he said. He captured the Africans, promising them free land and riches in the new world. Then he sold most of the slaves in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. Then Hawkins returned home with a large profit and ships laden with ivory, hides, and sugar. Thus began the British slave trade.

When the ship Hawkins manned returned to England Queen Elizabeth was horrified. She said that what he did was detestable and it would call down vengeance from heaven upon all who took part. But, after she saw the money that could be made, she joined in a partnership with Hawkins and even gave him his a new ship called Jesus of Lubeck, also known as The Good Ship Jesus.

It is very ironic that Drakes’ cousin and Drake himself were considered to be very religious men. Hawkins required his crew to serve God and to love one another. Drake held services on board his ship twice a day.

I cannot understand this, it was OK for him to lie, cheat and steal. Taking the African people by their lies and false promises. Stealing the belongings of others. And they still considered themselves to be religious.

The Commission

In 1577 Queen Elizabeth I commissioned three men to sail around the world. On November 15, 1577. The Queen’s Corsair consisting of the captains Sir Francis Drake (whom she called lovingly, “my dear pirate”), John Winter, and Thomas Doughty set sail on their voyages.

In time Drake became the leader of the group. He was to attack all Spanish settlements. Drake sailed to America with 40 ships and more than 2,000 soldiers. He attacked the Spanish ports throughout the Caribbean.

Drake sailed his ship “The Golden Hind” on December 13, 1577. Francis Drake became the second man to sail around the world and the first Englishman to accomplish this feat on September 26, 1580.

Upon Drakes return to England he presented the queen a very large bounty. Now she really loved her “dear pirate”.

On April 4, 1581 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth on the deck of the Golden Hind. This act gave Francis Drake a title. He became Sir Francis Drake, mayor of Plymouth and a Parliament member. The Queen also presented him with a special sword. Because of all the attention she paid to Drake others followed in his footsteps and became privateers also.

Francis Drake hated the Spaniards and their Catholic religion, probably having to do with his families flight from their home when he was young. He devoted his life to fighting against the Spanish and all they controlled. They called him a pirate but England called him a sailor and privateer.

Drake at age of 43

Drake at age of 43, with the coat of arms conferred on him on April 4, 1581, after he was knighted at Deptford, on the deck of the Golden Hind, the first English ship to go around the world. To see a larger view of this picture and to read “Sir Francis Drake : A Pictorial Biography with an Historical Introduction by Lt. Commander David W. Waters & Richard Boulind and a Detailed Catalogue of the Author’s Collection” in the rare book section of the US Library of Congress.

Invasion

January 1586 Sir Francis Drake landed at the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo bringing the entire city to its knees. His invasion and demolition weakened the Spanish dominion over the island.

For more than 50 years everything in the colony was abandoned and left to the mercy of the pirates. Drake drove the Spanish garrison out of Santo Domingo. He burned the city methodically, piece by piece until he received a ransom of 30,000 crowns. The amount he wanted was much more but he settled on this ransom. It is also told that the people of Santo Domingo gave him all their treasures. After much persuasion by the towns people, and when there was nothing else to take, Drake left the ruined city.

The church Santa María, the first church in the new world, was ransacked and burnt. Treasures were stolen and records burnt. The graveyard behind the chapel and its records were destroyed also. This left no records of the people who were interred there. The San Francisco Monastery was also significantly damaged in Drakes 1568 invasion on the city.

After Drakes invasion on Santo Domingo, he moved on to Cartagena (now known as Columbia) and St. Augustine (in Florida, USA). The war between England and Spain started because of these terrible acts of piracy.

Voyage Maps

Drake sailed directly west from Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa. The first port Drake reached in the West Indies was Santo Domingo in Hispaniola, present-day Haiti and Dominican Republic. This image shows the English fleet in the bay, and the infantry battalions attacking the town. This map represents the first printed view of this locality. To see this map and more about the Caribbean Raid

Many interesting PDF maps of Sir Francis Drakes early voyages.

Drakes Settles Down

Sir Francis Drake returned to England, got married and lived on a large estate outside of London. On January 28, 1596, he died aboard his ship the Defiance. He was struck by a tropical disease that he probably picked up during his last trip to the Americas. He died and was buried at sea. It was said that he got out of his deathbed early the morning of his death and tried to put on his suit of armor. He wanted to die as a soldier. Sir Francis Drake died of dysentery when he was about 55. He was buried at sea in a lead coffin off Puerto Bello to the sound of trumpets and cannons.

Sir Francis Drake by Jodocus Hondius

Interesting Facts

*There were many different types and classes of what we clump together as pirates now.
– Pirate is a robber and destroyer of ships at sea.
– Buccaneer was originally an inhabitant of Hispaniola. The name coming from a Taino word boucan or barbecue. Because these people were said to prepare their meat in this manner they were originally called boucaniers.
– Privateer was a privately owned ship and crew hired by a national government during wartime to plunder the ships of an enemy nation.
– Corsair was a Mediterranean pirate of the 16th century.

A Map titled S Dominico M.D.LXXXV (privilege dated December 20, 1584)

*The Golden Age of Piracy came about soon after the discovery of the New World and continued for about 250 years.

*When the Pope divided the New World between Spain and Portugal in 1494 the other European nations were not very happy. They wanted some of the stolen Aztec gold also. War was a given.

*The New World coast from South America through the Caribbean to Northern Florida was known as “The Spanish Main”.

*In 1630 a treaty was signed with Spain enabling the English and French to colonize some of the lands along the Spanish Main.

*One of the main sources of food the settlers consumed on the island of Hispaniola was the wild pigs originally introduced by the Spanish. The pigs were barbecued on open fires called buccans or boucan. This is how the settlers got the title buccaneers.

*The Spanish were getting a little nervous because of all the buccaneers on Hispaniola. They sent hunters to kill all the pigs which in turn made the buccaneers turn to piracy because their food source was gone. Later Spain realized they made a dire mistake.

*Many of the buccaneers (they called themselves Brethren of the Coast) moved on to a new island named Tortuga/ Turtle. It is located off the coast on the Haitian side of the island. This island became a sanctuary for the Buccaneers because of its perfect habitat and location.

*Not all pirates were fierce outlaws. Many were just sailors trying to make a living the only way they were able.

*Many things about how the ship would be run was agreed upon by all before the ship left port. They decided where to sail, how the bounty would be divided (usually the most going to the captain, then the skilled labor on the ship and the least amounts going to the laborers), and who would be captain.

*Sir Francis Drake introduced pipe smoking to Elizabethan age of England.

*Drake named Virginia in United States after Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen

Other famous pirates I found that visited the Santo Domingo colony included
*Blackbeard – (Edward Thatch or Teach) Samana Bay in Hispaniola (Dominican Republic) in 1718?
*William Kidd is also known as The Unlucky Pirate
*Sir Henry Morgan is known as The Pirate King (1654 in Hispanola)

For more information on Sir Francis Drake check out these web sites –
Golden Hind | The Un Museum.org | Library of Congress – Exhibitions