Tourism July 21, 2015 | 11:10 am

Dominican Republic National Park honors first of Taino rebels

Santo Domingo.- The National Park National Park of the East will now bear the name of Cotubanamá, one of the first Taino Indian chiefs to wage war against the Spanish colonizers on Hispaniola in the late 1400s and early 1500s.

The Dominican Congress recently approved Bill 519-14 signed into Law by president Danilo Medina on 8 October last year, which recognizes Cotubanamá’s leadership among the caciques (Taino chieftains) as the first to rebel against Spanish rule and fiercely defend his people.

Born and raised in the Taino chieftainship of Higuey (Xiguey) which includes the now protected area, Cotubanamá signed a peace treaty with Capt. General Juan de Esquivel after years of protracted battles, but conflicts with the Spaniards soon reemerged, prompting him to burn three times the fort commanded by Juan Ponce de León, between San Rafael de Yuma and Boca de Yuma, forcing the Spanish explorer to rebuild them with stone.

Cotubanamá’s successes against the invaders who hunted Indians with trained dogs among other abuses, forced the Spanish crown to deploy a task force to capture or kill him, and was eventually caught and hanged in a public plaza of Santo Domingo.

Prior to his capture however Cotubanamá did manage however to recruit the wise shamans and find a secure area to protect the elderly, women and children while on excursions with his braves.

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