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CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti
CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti
  • March 21, 2024
  • | 0

CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti

We are all familiar with the words of this song: "Caonabo fut mis en prison à Isabella et quelques mois plus tard embarqué pour l’Espagne, il disparut en mer avec le bateau qui le portait...". But do you know the story of CAONABO, the first to defend the island?

Summary

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On December 5, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed at Môle Saint-Nicolas after a long and perilous journey in search of new lands and in search of riches. Aboard three ships, La Santa Maria, La Pinta and La Niña, accompanied by a crew of 120 men, Columbus believed he had reached the Indies by sailing towards the West, basing this belief on the theory of the round earth. He claimed this new land in the name of Spain, erecting a cross on the shore and calling the inhabitants of the country "Indians".

During a brief exploration, Columbus collected numerous samples testifying to the surprising wealth of the island, even noticing similarities with Spain. This is how he decided to name the island under the name of Hispaniola (Little Spain).

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The inhabitants of the island welcomed the Spaniards with joy and respect. Columbus came into contact with the chief of Marien, Guacanagaric, who was the first to speak to him. When La Santa Maria sank a few days later, Columbus informed Guacanagaric of the tragedy. The latter invited him to stay with him and Columbus became so close to Guacanagaric that he granted him land in his territory.

Columbus built the Nativity Fort with the remains of La Santa Maria, placing a garrison of 39 men there under the command of Diego de Arena, Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigue Escoredo. He forbids them from mistreating the Indians or stealing their gold, ordering them not to leave the Marien.

After establishing this post, Columbus returned to Spain. He left La Nativité on January 4, 1493 and arrived on March 3. In the middle of a curious and enthusiastic crowd, impressed by magnificent samples of gold, rare plants and birds, he told the story of his astonishing discovery to Their Majesties Ferdinand and Isabella. As a reward, Christopher Columbus received on May 28, 1493 from the hands of Their Majesties letters patent naming him Admiral of the Ocean, VIceroy and Governor of all lands discovered and yet to be discovered.

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Despite Columbus’s recommendations, the Spanish stationed at La Nativity began to brutalize Guacanagaric’s peaceful subjects and rob them of their gold. They even organized expeditions to the Maguana region, where gold abounded, particularly in the Cibao region.

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CAONABO, learning of the ignoble conduct of the foreigners, swore to take revenge in an exemplary manner. He made an alliance with Guarionex at the head of a large army and attacked La Nativity one evening. The garrison, surprised, was massacred and the fortress completely destroyed. Guacanagaric, despite the mistreatment inflicted by the Spaniards on his subjects, came to their aid. Caonabo quickly defeated him, wounding him in the head and burning his village.

CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti

When Columbus returned to the coast of the island, he found only ruins at the site of The Nativity and Guacanagaric wounded in the head. On December 7, Columbus set out in search of a location to build a city to shelter the many adventurers who had followed him. He founded the city of Isabelle, the first in the New World, in the north of the island, in 1494.

Columbus forced the Indians to pay him tribute in kind, including food, cotton and gold dust. Faced with this oppression, Caonabo managed to organize a league of caciques against the Spaniards on both sides of the island and prepared to exterminate the foreigners. Caonabo besieged Fort St. Thomas, keeping it under siege for thirty days. La Magdalena was also attacked by a group of Indians, but they were repulsed, causing many casualties.

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Columbus set a trap for the cacique of Maguana, into which he fell without difficulty. He requested an audience with Caonabo, who agreed to meet him. Using trickery, Ojeda kidnapped him from among his subjects and brought him to Isabella. In March 1494, the prisoner sailed for Spain but perished in a shipwreck.

The story of Caonabo and his fight for the freedom of his people remains a little-known chapter in the history of Haiti. Although defeated, his courage and determination to defend his land remains an example of resistance in the face of colonial oppression. It embodies the fierce desire of indigenous peoples to preserve their culture and identity in the face of foreign invaders. Thus, remembering its history is paying tribute to all those who fought for the freedom and dignity of their nation.

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Appolon Guy Alain

Full Stack Developer, Créatif, expérimenté, passionné des nouvelles technologies et de l’art.

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History

History

First black nation to free itself from slavery and gain independence from France in 1804 and influenced other liberation movements around the world, inspiring struggles for freedom and equality.

Natural beauty

Natural beauty

Haïti is blessed with spectacular natural landscapes, including white sand beaches, mountains and rich biodiversity.

Heritage

Heritage

Haïti has a rich historical heritage, including sites like the Citadelle Laferrière and the Sans-Souci Palace, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Culture

Culture

Haïti has a rich and diverse culture, influenced by African, European and indigenous elements. Haitian music, dance, art and cuisine are celebrated around the world.