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Stone Forts and Small Doorways in Hispaniola

Hispaniola is a Caribbean Island that’s split between the Dominican Republic (DR) and Haiti. The border between the two is clear from a plane or on google earth since the DR is very green and Haiti less so, almost brown. This is because Haitians have cut down most of the canopy trees over time to burn for charcoal which they can sell. Haiti has endured a lot of tragedies both natural and man-made, things are very difficult there today.

Christopher Columbus built his first “New World” settlement in the DR and an early fort in Santo Domingo, DR’s Capitol. I remember visiting the stone fort and being amazed at how low the doorways were, maybe only 5 feet meaning Spanish adults in the early 1500s (over 500 years ago) were on average less than 5 feet tall. I suppose that was the same for most of our European forefathers.

I worked on designing a marina project in the DR called Ocean World, which is still there today, protected by a massive breakwater built from 10-ton stones mined in the surrounding hills. In addition to the marina there were eventually dolphin pens and other animal attractions. The original developer was difficult to deal with, but I enjoyed working in the country and experiencing the culture. People are friendly and usually speak some English, though the native language is Spanish.

You can get to Hispaniola by plane or by cruise ship but if you’re not familiar with the island be careful, it’s best to take a guide if you wander off the beaten path. Check out our beautiful nautical map of Hispaniola and order yours today!

Map of Hispaniola

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