The Names of Some Dominican Places in the XVIII Century


One of the joys of old maps is noticing the original or old names of many places. With the passage of time many names are changed due to deliberate political reasons or natural mutations of the language. The Dominican Republic is not excempt from this, for this reason there are many Dominican places that today have names that are very different from what they were in the past.

Offical Map of the Island of Santo Domingo (1784)

Our findings are based on the official map of the Island of Santo Domingo of 1784. This map was made by Juan López, the designated map maker for hte Kings of Spain. He also made other maps of different places within the Kingdom of Spain spanning Europe, Asia, and America.

Title of the Map. “Map of the Island of Santo Domingo, Also Called La Española. By Mr Juan López, pensioner of Your Majesty. Madrid in the year 1784.”

1784 Map of the Island of Santo Domingo. The Spanish territory is bordered by a red line along its coasts and land border. The French territory is bordered by a green line along its coasts and land border. The adyacent islands of each territory also has their coasts highlighted in the corresponding color.

The Spanish territory was larger than what currently corresponds to the Dominican Republic. The reason lies in the inclusion of the Guava Valley in the western end of the Spanish territory. The Dominican Republic lost this area to Haiti in the first decades of the 20th century.

Close Ups of Areas of Interest 

Isla Catalina (Catalina Island) was Isla de Santa Catalina. Río Chavón (Chavón River) was Río Quiabon.

Punta Cana was Pantanal. Punta Espada was Punta de Espada. Cabo Engaño was Cabo de Engaño. Also notice that Bávaro was written as Babaro. Higüey was also known as Altagracia.

Boca Chica was Puerto de la Magdalena. Boca Chica Beach was Playa de Andrés. The Higüamo River was also Río Macorís.

The Cordillera Central (Central Mountains) was Montañas de Cibao.

Pico Duarte (Duarte Peak) was Pico de Yaque.

Monte Plata was Monte de Plata.

Puerto Plata was Puerto de Plata. Sosúa was Puerto de Santiago. Maimón was also Los Muñecos. Playa Dorada was Padrepino.

The Línea Noroeste (Northwestern Line) was El Despoblado. Yaque del Norte River was Río Yaque de Santiago o de Montecristi.

Bahía de Luperón (Luperón Bay) was Puerto Caballo.

Río Yaque del Sur (Yaque del Sur River) was Neiva River. Also notice that Neiba was written as Neiva.

Laguna Rincón was Laguna de la Pesquería.