35. The Taino Rebellion

When Ponce de Leon was not off exploring, he spent most of his time on the island of Puerto Rico. Despite having conquered it himself with ease however, his life there was far from straightforward. His governorship was challenged by both the indigenous inhabitants who launched a protracted rebellion, and rival Spaniards who hoped to control the island themselves.

Juan Ponce de Leon – Image via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Juan_Ponce_de_Le%C3%B3n.jpg

33. Tierra Firme – Part 4


In today’s episode the story of Balboa and Tierra Firme comes to an end. The story has already had more than it’s fair share of twists and turns but it still has a few surprises in store.

Will Balboa establish his new colony? Will Santa Maria survive D’avila’s leadership? and will they put their differences aside for the common good? Spoiler alert – of course they won’t.

31. Tierra Firme – Part 2

In part one of this series Balboa managed to somehow usurp not one but two royally sanctioned expeditions to the mainland of the Americas. Not he must keep keep his colonists loyal while also proving to the Spanish king that he should be allowed to remain in charge of the colony. What better way to do this than by going exploring and discovering the Pacific Ocean?

A typical Panamanian beach – much like the coastline that Balboa would have been familiar with

29. The Conquest of the Caribbean

Since Columbus’ first discoveries, the Spanish empire had been confined to the island of Hispaniola. In just a few short years that would change with Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cuba all quickly and easily coming under their control. This episode tells the story of how they did it. We have met some of its characters before – like Pinzon and de las Casas, but it also includes some new ones.

A Cuban Landscape

28. The Andalucian Journeys

The years 1499 and 1500 saw three explorers set out to explore the South American coast. While European knowledge of the region would be be enhanced by these trips – laying the ground work for future conquest – all three of these expeditions would turn out to be expensive failures for the men who led them.

The desert landscape of Cabo de la Vela. What on earth made Ojeda think that this would be a good place to found a colony?
Wayuu in traditional dress

27. Nicolas de Ovando and Early Hispaniola – Part 2

In part one we looked at the institutions the Spanish were creating in their colony, and much of what they did was not pleasant for the island’s native inhabitants. Today we will continue our exploration of early Hispaniola by having a look at some of the push back against this.

We will talk about the slave revolts and that of the Taino under Enriquillo, and we will have a look at Bartolome de las Casas – a Spaniard who dedicated his life to changing how indigenous Latin Americans were treated.

We will also finish off the story of governor Ovando and have a look at the rule of Diego Columbus – son of the famous explorer.

Bartolome de las Casas. Image via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bartolomedelascasas.jpg

26. Nicolas de Ovando and Early Hispaniola

Being the first new world colony that the Spanish established, Hispaniola was a grand experiment. Today we take a look at how it was turning out under the rule of its third governor Nicolas de Ovando.

His rule was a time of rapid growth, despite the fact that he had to deal with both a hurricane and an earthquake. This was also a pivotal time for the indigenous Taino. Ovando would go on a campaign of pacification which involved numerous massacres and which saw the population drop by as much as 90%. The remaining Taino also became subject to the new encomienda system which governed their role in this new society they found themselves forced into.

The Forteleza Ozama – one of the first European buildings in the Americas. Image via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fortaleza_Ozama_SD_RD_06_2017_2420.jpg