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Thread: LADIES ONLY O is for Ozama

  1. #1
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    Default LADIES ONLY O is for Ozama

    My A to Z of the Dominican Republic continues with O for Ozama. Please note this was written in 2012 and I think the river has been cleaned up a bit since then but don't know for sure.

    The word Ozama is a Taino Indian word which was originally written Hosama or Osama meaning to listen, or attention, although I have no idea why one would call a river that. It is 148 kilometres long, beginning in the Loma Siete Cabezas, literally the Seven Heads Hill, which at 856 metres is the highest point in the Sierra de Yamasa mountain range.

    The river then flows eastwards through Monte Plata province and eventually meets the Caribbean sea, dissecting the capital of the country, Santo Domingo. It has three main tributaries, the rivers Isabela, Sabita and Yabacao.

    It is the 4th largest river in the Dominican Republic, and due to fact that its source is in an area high in rainfall, the water from the river is not needed for irrigation purposes and thus all flows down into the ocean. In addition, because the mouth of the river and its basin are actually below sea level, when the tide is in the sea water flows back up into the river.

    When the Dominican Republic was a Spanish colony, flat bed boats used to travel up the river, however it is not deep enough for ships, although they dock at its mouth. It has often been cited in poems and for many Dominicans, especially those living overseas, the Ozama river is a symbol of their homeland.

    To be honest, although I have always wanted to travel into the interior of the country on one of the rivers, the Ozama would not be one I would choose. Most of the poor in that area of Santo Domingo live in the surroundings of the Ozama and Isabela rivers, in what can only be described as slums.

    I have often wondered why people would want to live there. As recently as the 1950's there were hardly any houses there at all, and the entire north zone of the city contained only an estimated 5000 families. The last 30 years however have seen amazing changes and tens of thousands of families were evicted from their homes in various parts of Santo Domingo to make way for roads, hospitals, public monuments such as the Columbus Lighthouse, and tourist and business developments. In the 1980s, 70% of the population of Santo Domingo lived in working class barrios and shanty towns. They were evicted and although some were rehoused, many had to just find somewhere to build a new home, hence the river banks became populated.

    The pollution of the river is legendary, and it is not only due to people who live there who use the river for all of their waste, it is also due to industry. In the 1960s and 1970s the Dominican Republic became open to foreign investment, and 71% of the new industrial factories to arrive, set up in Santo Domingo. Obviously environmental pollution was not even thought about in the DR at this time, and they simply discharged their untreated waste into the Ozama and Isabela Rivers.

    Those living in the area of the River Ozama live in appalling conditions. The houses often flood, there are mudslides, they are almost without potable water, no mains sewage, no rubbish collection and vulnerable to cholera, typhoid and other water borne diseases.

    It is a crying shame that the River Ozama cannot be the focal point of the city as are so many other great rivers around the world - the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris, the Danube. It could be used for a tourist attraction. parks along the side for the residents of the capital, boat trip into the interior, and fishing trips.

    Instead it is the focal point for rubbish, pollution and poverty.

    What is your O?

    Matilda


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  2. #2
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    For my "O" I chose Nicholas Ovando the successor to Columbus who brought order to the island in many ways. Not keen on his African slavery connections but otherwise his history does show some positive aspects to his rule. His residence is a hotel in the Colonial Zone , a stay there is a splurge but a lovely way to experience the grandeur of a colonial home.
    http://www.historiadelnuevomundo.com...ndo-1502-1509/

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  4. #3
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    I wrote a piece on Nicolas Ovando. Nasty piece of work lol.

    Fray Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was born in Spain in 1460 and was a Spanish soldier from a noble family and a Knight of the Order of Alcántara. He was a favourite of the Spanish Catholic Monarchs, particularly of the pious Queen Isabella I and when the second governor of Hispaniola, Francisco de Bobadilla was recalled to Spain, in September 1501, Ovando was appointed to be the third Governor and Captain-General of the Indies based in Santo Domingo.

    The following February he set sail with a fleet of thirty ships which was the largest fleet that had ever sailed to the New World and it carried 2,500 colonists who represented a cross section of Spanish society with the aim of expanding Spanish political, religious, and administrative influence in the region.

    When Ovando arrived in Hispaniola in 1502, he found the once-peaceful Taíno indians in revolt. Ovando ruthlessly suppressed this rebellion through a series of bloody campaigns and massacres and Ovando’s administration became notorious for its cruelty toward the Taínos. It is thought that there were around half a million Indians on Hispaniola when the Spanish arrived in 1492, but by 1507 there were only 60,000. Due to the declining numbers, Ovando ordered the first importation of African slaves who were put to work in the sugar cane fields or as house servants.

    One of the terrible acts of Ovando was to order the arrest of Anacaona, a Taíno queen and while his army was searching for her, many of the Taíno were massacred. Once found, Anacaona was executed by hanging.

    Despite his cruelty, Ovando is known for developing the industries of mining and sugar cane and the construction of what is now the Colonial City. Prior to his administration, the original Spanish settlement was on the east bank of the Ozama River, but Ovando moved it to the west bank following a hurricane in 1502 which destroyed much of the former settlement. Ovando built many of the places still in existence today, including the Convent of San Francisco, St. Nicholas Hospital, the Tower of Homage and many of the streets, including Calle de las Damas where he himself lived, in what is now the Nicolas de Ovando hotel.

    King Ferdinand V recalled the brutal Ovando to Spain in 1509 to answer for his treatment of the native people and Diego Columbus, eldest son of Christopher Columbus was appointed his successor as governor.

    Ovando died in Spain on 29 May 1511.


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    Mine is the ubiquitious oye that Dominicans seem to scream at each other all the time.

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