| Dominican Republic|
Higuey , or in full Salvaleon de Higuey, is the capital city of the eastern La Altagracia Province, in the Dominican Republic. The Yuma River flows through the urban areas of Higuey.
Higuey is also the name of a former native chiefdom in Hispaniolas easternmost end when Christopher Columbus arrived. It is now one of the countrys economically fastest-developing cities, sometimes nicknamed the Capital of Dominican Tourism or the Capital of Stockbreeding. As of 2006, over 150,000 people lived in Higuey. The city thrives chiefly on tourism, with many of its inhabitants employed in the hotel complexes of Punta Cana a few kilometers away, or selling tourist products.
The most important monuments in the city are the Basilica of La Altagracia and the Church of San Dionisio (Saint Denis), from the 16th century.
The economy of Higuey is based on tropical agriculture (reed, coffee, tobacco, cacao, rice, and maize), cattle (cows and pigs), fishing and tourism on the coast.
The main historical attraction in Higuey is the Cathedral, which displays the "Virgen de la Altagracia", a painting brought by Spanish missionaries in the 15th century. The painting was previously kept in the similarly 500-year-old church of San Dionisio, which remains in religious use. Every year on Virgin of La Altagracia Day (January 21),a national holiday, tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the Cathedral.
When European settlers invaded Hispanola, this eastern section belonged to the Caicimu-Higuey kingdom of Taino Indians. Leaders included Caciques Cotubanama and Cayacoa, the female Caciqua Higuanama and other leaders, male and female. This area became the last to be conquered by the Spanish. Juan de Esquivel led the conquest in 1503, a year after the brutal Nicolas de Ovando was appointed the new colonys governor. He assigned Esquivel to subjugate the area, justifying the assignment as payback for a Taino attack (led by Cotubanama) on 8 Spanish sailors, which was in turn revenge for Spaniards who slaughtered the Cacique of nearby Saona for sport, setting a battle Mastiff to attack him as he was loading traded cassava bread on a barge.
Bartolome de las Casas participated in and later described the Higuey massacre in which the Spanish slaughtered natives who surrendered after a short but heroic resistance. Men, women and children were disemboweled alive; many were tortured by having hands and feet cut off as the Spaniards taunted. The Spaniards hanged or rounded up and knifed to death yet more. By 1519 the Taino of the Higuey region were enslaved, and their numbers had declined to only 1,189 individuals. The Spanish then brought in African slaves.
On December 7, 1508, Spanish trade authorities at Seville authorized Higuey to display a Coat of Arms by Royal Privilege, which granted it limited self-government. During the Spanish colonial period, Higuey remained a Parish of El Seibo county.
Then in 1801, a decade after the Haitian Revolution began, and after Napoleon deposed the Spanish king, Toussaint Louverture briefly captured the Spanish portion of Hispaniola. Spain had ceded Hispaniola to France under the Treaty of Basel in 1795, and did not regain control until 1809. During this and French rule, Higuey was a district of the Ozama department. After Spanish forces regained control in the Espana Boba period, Higuey again became part of the El Seibo region. In 1821, during the brief Spanish Republic of Haiti, the area tried to protect itself from its much larger neighbors by allying with Gran Colombia. However, wars both with Haiti and for independence continued. In 1822, Haitian forces under the command of Jean-Pierre Boyer recaptured Higuey in the Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo. The local economy sputtered under military rule and land expropriations, although slavery did end under both Haitian control and British naval enforcement throughout the Caribbean of antislavery policies advocated by William Wilberforce.
When the Dominican Republic was proclaimed in 1844 through the efforts of La Trinitaria, the new Governmental Central Meeting placed Higuey under administration of the Province of El Seibo. Pedro Santana, although President sporadically during the next decades, actually acted as the countrys first dictator. While he ranched near the Haitian border, this eastern province was one of his strongholds. Santana sought to return to Spanish rule, and he got his wish for the four years before his death (although Spanish rule did little to develop the province). After the War of Restoration, the second Republic, either because of or in spite of the Monroe Doctrine lasted until 1916, although the countryside remained extremely poor and actually governed by various aristocratic cliques. Guerillas from El Seibo province fought the United States occupation of Santo Domingo from 1916 to 1924. The area experienced a few years of relative prosperity before agricultural prices again crashed and further de facto dictatorships began under Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. The United States again occupied Santo Domingo from 1965 to 1966.