Plan of Santo Domingo, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic)
All four plans of the cities raided by Sir Francis Drake during his 1585–86 expedition to the West Indies have keys to the letters marked in various spots; these narrate the military campaigns conducted by Carleill and explain the bird’s-eye views of the Spanish settlements with their fortifications.Full description »
All four plans of the cities raided by Sir Francis Drake during his 1585–86 expedition to the West Indies have keys to the letters marked in various spots; these narrate the military campaigns conducted by Carleill and explain the bird’s-eye views of the Spanish settlements with their fortifications.
In the case of Santo Domingo, there was only a paltry defence system for what was the principal city of the West Indies – described by Captain Walter Bigges (the author of much of the official record of the expedition) as ‘elegantly built by the Spanish’ – which had the first cathedral built in the Americas. When Drake’s fleet was sighted, the majority of citizens fled to their plantations in the interior, leaving only a small number to prepare a defence; this amounted to sinking ships in the harbour to block the channel (DD on the plan). Instead of a direct attack, Drake made for an inlet (B). Carleill’s troops disembarked and proceeded to march ten miles along a ‘woody way’ (C) and then ‘a beaten broad high way’ to the city. With the only opposition being ‘a greate drive of kine and oxen of huge bignesse’, the city was soon taken. Drake made the cathedral his headquarters, and, when in need of an interpreter to negotiate with the Lord President of Santo Domingo, he sent as messenger Carleill’s ‘page’ – one Baptista Boazio, the author of these maps.
On payment of a ransom, Drake prepared to leave, but could not bear to part with an escutcheon he had removed from the house of the governor. This said escutcheon – ‘painted with the armes of the king of Spaine’ – appears on the map as an invitation to nationalistic jeering at the words 'Non sufficit orbis' (‘the world is not enough’). The writer comments that some of the Spaniards were ‘greatly ashamed thereof’ on being told that if Queen Elizabeth made war on the king of Spain, ‘hee should be forced to lay aside that proud and unreasonable reaching vaine of his: for hee should finde more than inough to doe to keepe that which he had already, as by the present example of the lost towne.’