Plaza Espana, Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic. December 2007

In the foreground is a Statue of Nicolas de Ovando, an experienced administrator appointed to the young colony in 1501 by King Fernando of Spain to restore order after several years of in fighting between Christopher Columbus, Spanish Colonists and the opportunistic bureaucrat Francisco Bobadilla. Ovando moved the settlement to the east bank of the Rio Haina and began the stone construction of Santo Domingo.

In the background can be seen The Alcazar de Colon, home of the Columbus family until 1577. It was built by Diego Columbus from 1511 to 1515. Diego - Christopher Columbus’ son - was appointed Ovando’s successor in 1509 after petitioning the Spanish King for his family’s rights to the New World. It is now a museum to 16th Century colonial life and generally regarded as the finest local example of the Isabelline Architectural Style.

Between them stands a Christmas tree, sponsored by the American company, Coca-Cola.

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