Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

City in the S part of the republic, on the Caribbean Sea. It is the capital, largest city, and chief port. The city was founded on August 4, 1476, by Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Christopher, and is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the Western Hemisphere. In 1511 Diego de Velazquez, Spanish conquistador, was dispatched from here to conquer Cuba. Before Mexico and Peru were conquered, Santo Domingo was the headquarters for Spanish administration of its New World colonies, and the first viceroyalty was established here in 1509. The English seaman, Sir Francis Drake, sacked the city in 1586, but in 1655 the city repelled another English attack.

Santo Domingo became the capital when the Dominican Republic won independence in 1844.

Almost totally destroyed by a hurricane in 1930, it was rebuilt and renamed Ciudad Trujillo for the then dictator, Rafael Trujillo Molina, but its former name was restored in 1961. The city was the scene of fighting in 1965 during a civil war in which U.S. troops were sent to restore the status quo before the leftist rebellion.

The first cathedral in the Western Hemisphere was completed here in 1521 and is reputed to contain the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The first university in the New World was established here in 1538.

Santo Domingo - the capital of the Dominican Republic and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the oldest permanent European settlement in the Americas and one of the most populous cities in the Caribbean. The city is a combination of old world charm and modern Latin American style. Here you will not only see medieval palaces and fortresses, but also be able to visit the nightlife and world-class shopping. You can find wild beaches and a hidden gem as salsa and merengue club, located inside a huge underground cave.