Friday, May 22, 2009
SECOND REQUEST, REVISED (US Mail, Return Receipt Requested)
Executive Secretary Foreign Names
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Geographer
Office of Targeting and Transnational Issues (PR)
4600 Sangamore Road
Bethesda, MD 20816-5003
RE: THE ISLAND OF “SANTO DOMINGO” (Letter No. Hcep00001)
August 22, 2008 (ORIGINAL DATE)
Dear Mr. Flynn:
Following your agency policy regarding the right that “any person or organization, public or private, may make inquiries or request the Board to render formal decisions on proposed new names, proposed name changes, or names that are in conflict", we would like to propose a change of a foreign name base on “names that are in conflict”. The name in question is “HISPANIOLA”, used to name the Island of Santo Domingo, as it is legally stated in the Constitution of the Dominican Republic and in every international treaty regarding that island. When Christopher Columbus baptized the island with the name of “La Española” and submitted this and other names (i.e. “Juana” for Cuba) to the Spanish Crown, it was rejected due to the fact that naming an island “La Española” would give her natives the adjective of “Spaniards”. Spain named the island “Santo Domingo” in 1506 and through the first Royal Identification Card for the newborn of Spanish descendants in the island; the adjective of “Dominican” was created in 1621¹. For this reason, the “Dominican” patriots used “Dominican Republic”, for she was part of the island of Santo Domingo, as opposed to “Haitian Republic”, for the reason that the Haitian government calls the island “Haiti” in its Constitution (to this day). This, I believe is the "conflicting factor" that gave you the rihgth to chose the name of Hispaniola for the island. Nonetheless, when Haiti signs treaties with the “Dominican Republic”, it accepts that the name of the island is Santo Domingo. The name “La Española” and its Latin translation, “Hispanola”, have been used unofficially by many historians and writers, but for all legal international and bilateral treaties involving the island, the named accepted is “Island of Santo Domingo”. We understand that only the owner of a property has the right to name it. The Great Admiral Columbus didn’t have that right, nor any other person or institution, to register a name for the island, except for its owner or owners, regardless how they acquired ownership. The island had no owner before the discovery, because the natives didn’t care about ownership of the island. They only protected the territories they occupied within the island. When Columbus set foot it, he got confused with so many names gathered when he ordered to explore which name the natives used to identify the island.
The Old World countries (Kingdoms) took possession by force of the new discovered territories (America) and began to give them names. This is the history of names given to the island of Santo Domingo, as it belonged to different owners:
1. “HAITI” When explorer pointed to the mountains and ask natives how they call "this", they looked at the mountains and said "Haiti", since it was the word used to name a "mountain".
2. "QUISQUEYA" The Mayans used that term to identify the island where they came for produce and other goods. It was not a Taino term, reason why there were conflicting theories about the origin of this word.
2. “LA ESPAÑOLA”, the name used to “baptize” it, not the legal name, because Columbus was not the owner, as he was an “agent” for the Castilian Crown; which rejected that name.
3. “HISPANIOLA”, which was a translation into the Latin language by Peter Martyr (Hispaniola) and which was the name Spain was known around that time in Latin. This name was and is currently used to identify the island, but it has never been officially named so, by the current owners of the island (Haiti and The Dominican Republic);
4. “SANTO DOMINGO”, since 1506 and in every international treaty;
5. “ǏLE SAINT DOMINGUE”, acquired by France from Spain in two different treaties³, one in 1697 (Ryswick) and the other, the Basilea Treaty, ceding the Eastern part of the island in 1795, which later was given back to Spain in 1809 (part of the exchange was the territory of Louisiana, now a USA State); France never took complete possession of the Eastern part of the island for reasons not relevant to this petition, but France kept the name of Santo Domingo for the island.
6. “HAITI”, was illegally placed in the Haitian Constitution with the intention to invade and take ownership of the Eastern part of the island by the Hatian Government. When there are two owners to a property, there must be a consensus as to how to name it and it is not valid or legal if unilaterally done so.
The Haitian Monarchy invaded the Eastern part in February of. 1822 and put in practice its plan to unite the island under one nation as was the dream of its founders, except that the people occupying the Eastern part of the island refused to become hatian and kept their Dominican-Spaniard status, claiming that the name of the island was still Santo Domingo.
7. “SANTO DOMINGO”: Due to the above (6) conflict, the patriots seeking to overthrow the Haitian Regime and establish an independent and sovereign country, made a pledge to denominate their country “The Dominican Republic” forcing the Haitian government to sign a Treaty recognizing that the name of the island was Santo Domingo and not, Haiti; Internal problems due to the barriers in language and culture disrupted the unity of “Dominicans” and “Haitians”, resulting in a split use of the island by two independent countries (The Republic of Haiti, still claiming in its constitucion that the name of the island was Haiti and the other nation without a name, but denominated Dominican Republic, to let Haiti know that the name of the island is Santo Domingo);
Haiti accepts the name of Santo Domingo for the island, at least in treaties with the Dominican Republic (1929), while illegally and malitiously maintaining the name of Haiti for the island in her constitution.
8. “HISPANIOLA”: Again, this name came to surface due to the confusing situation during the consolidating period of Quisqueya (The Dominican Republic), between the years of 1844 and 1865. In 1929 the United States of America agency for geographic name adopted “Hispaniola” in the mean time for its documents and spread this name all over the world in maps and international literature.
Please note that by naming the island “Hispaniola”, the denomination of “Dominican Republic” is out of place, since it was such called, because of the name of the island. Otherwise, the denomination would be that of “Hispanic Republic”. Remember also, Haiti is not a Hispanic Republic. Apparently, there are no agencies for geographic and historial name standarization either in The Dominican Republic or Haiti, except for a Constitutional Assembly and Constitutional Reform Team in the Dominican Republic dealing with constitutional issues, which may or may not deal with names in their agenda. We began a campaign to give a proper name to the country only known by its denomination of state, “Dominican Republic”. That name is “QUISQUEYA”, which at this time has nothing to do with my request to this agency to change the name of the island of “HISPANIOLA” for that of “SANTO DOMINGO”, although they are part of an overhauling process altogether. This way, the other confusion about the name of the country on the Eastern part of the island, the name of its capital and the name of the island would also be cleared up. Let Haiti be the republic (or kingdom, monarchy, etc.) that she wants to be within her geographical demarcation, with all her rights, while Quisqueya shares with Haiti the island of Santo Domingo occupying the Eastern part, as mutually agreed upon in the geographical demarcation in the last treaty between them regarding their frontier borders. Once this case is taken into consideration by your agency, we will use your response to have both the Dominican (Quisqueyan, if our campaign is successful) and Haitian governments to make the necessary arrangements to request for the elimination of the name of Hispaniola for this purpose.
Please take this as a formal request to the Board to discontinue using the name “Hispaniola” as the name for the Island of Santo Domingo.
If a different format is required to process this request, please provide same as soon as possible.
The request is made by me personally, a US Citizen.
In the meantime, please let me know if you need additional data and/or any personal assistance from me in this case. I am at your complete and unconditional disposition to help clarify this mistake.
Cosme Ezequiel Perez
160 12th Ave NE
Naples, FL 34120
Promoter of the campaign "Quisqueya the true name of the Dominican Republic"
- Lou Yost, Executive Secretary
U.S. Board on Geographic Names
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 523
Reston, Virginia 20192-0523
¹ On September 20, 1697 a deal under the Treaty of Ryswick (or Rijwijk) was signed, where Spain ceded the Western Part of the island of Santo Domingo to France. The French had occupied this part since 1625 and brought thousands of slaves from Africa.
(This letter is being revised in 2015, to be resent to the agency)