Friday, April 15, 2022
Our First Post-Covid Cruise
After setting sail from Fort Lauderdale…
…we spent a day at sea churning the Caribbean enroute to the island of Hispaniola. It was enjoyable just being onboard as we settled into our cabin; explored the ship; and discovered what the Celebrity Millennium had to offer. We found a unique and charming dining venue called La Petit Chef in the specialty restaurant, Qsine. We’ll tell you all about this entertaining dining experience in a future posting.
But for now, let’s explore Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic:
The island of Hispaniola is the most populous in the West Indies. Comprised of French-speaking Haiti and Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic, it is one of two islands in the Caribbean with divided sovereignty (the other is French Sint Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten, which we will later visit on this cruise.) In 1492, this was the third island to capture the attention of Christopher Columbus. The native Taino population welcomed the explorers as they hoped these Spaniards would provide protection from the constantly invading Caribs. Suspecting that gold could be found on the island, Columbus was willing to explore further. When his flagship, the Santa Maria ran aground and sank in the bay on December 24, 1492, he set up a small, fortified colony, La Navidad, on the north coast and left 21 crewmen behind to await his return. And return he did. In November 1493, Columbus brought 1300 men to Hispaniola intending to establish a permanent settlement. What he found was a devastated encampment where his men had been slaughtered. He set up a new settlement in La Isabela where he directed the search for gold and waged a war of revenge against the tribal chief, Caonabo, who had invaded La Navidad.
And so, the Colonial Era began…
Hispaniola flourished. Imperial rule with its class and caste lines, cruel and exploitative economy, brutal and authoritarian society, took hold. But the mines produced precious metals; the land supplied crops. The oldest cathedral, monastery, university, and hospital in the Americas were established on Hispaniola. The history of the New World is fascinating and worthy of deeper study.
But hey, this is a travel blog!!! For the sake of brevity, here is my take on the issue:
The history of all the islands follows a pattern. The native inhabitants battle with each other as well as other-island inhabitants; then the explorers come; trade ensues; economic prosperity brings more strife. The pirates come. The sugar, salt and spice plantations bring slavery; then the desire for freedom and equality prevails; treaties are signed; some succeed; some fail. And the modern-day tourist arrives.
Here we are!!!
Our next Port-of-Call is San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Join us next as we continue Our First Post-Covid Cruise!!!