The Dominican Republic in the West Indies is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of the Dominican Republic’s World Heritage Sites: the Colonial City of Santo Domingo.
The Colonial City of Santo Domingo is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the western hemisphere:
“First permanent establishment of the ‘New World’ and capital of the West Indies, the Colonial City of Santo Domingo — the only one of the 15th century in the Americas — was the place of departure for the spread of European culture and the conquest of the continent. From its port conquerors such as Ponce de Leon, Juan de Esquivel, Herman Cortes, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Alonso de Ojeda and many others departed in search of new lands.
“Located at the mouth of the Ozama, on the south coast of Hispaniola Island, the Colonial City of Santo Domingo is the core from which Santo Domingo de Guzman, capital of the Dominican Republic, was founded. Originally established on the east side of the Ozama in 1496, it was founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1498, by order of the Catholic kings. In 1502, the Governor Nicolas de Ovando transferred its institutions to the west bank and decided to provide the city with a grid pattern from the Grand Place (Plaza Mayor). This checkerboard layout later became a reference for almost all the town planners of the New World.
“City of ‘firsts,’ Santo Domngo was the headquarters for the first institutions in the Americas: Saint Mary of the Incarnation Cathedral, Saint Francois Monastery, Saint Thomas Aquinas University, Nicholas de Bari Hospital, and the Casa de Contratación. It is also the first fortified city (fortress of Santo Domingo and its Torre del Homenaje) and the first headquarters of Spanish power in the New World.“ (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #526)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list online at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites (riverhouses.org/2020-wh-map), available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures will you be exploring in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books) for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 745–852; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇩🇴
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌎