|Puerto del Principe|
|Info:|| Conquerable Port
This port has a Natural Harbor
|Resources:|| Fertile Soil|
Fertile Soil (Sugar)
Puerto del Principe was the first harbor on the Island of Cuba visited by Columbus (on November 18, 1492) during his first voyage of discovery, and called by him Puerto del Príncipe. In November 1511, Diego de Velazquez was sent by Columbus, son of the great Admiral and Governor at the time of Santo Domingo, with an expedition of four ships and 300 men, to conquer and settle the island. Here in 1514, in the same harbor Columbus had named Puerto del Príncipe he planted a colony and gave to it the name of Santa María Puerto del Principe. But in the course of time, in consequence of the plague of insects—the mosquitoes and jejen (midge) of the period were too much and too many for the sensitive Spaniards—and the frequent invasions of the pirates—who commenced their depredations about 1538—the town was transferred to the Indian village of Caonao. But the inhabitants were not yet secure against the pirates for the celebrated Morgan afterwards in 1668 sacked the place committing horrible atrocities.
The frequent invasions of the pirates—of which Morgan’s attack over a century later was the most disastrous—had finally induced the colonists to remove still further into the island, until in 1516 they reached the Indian town of Camagüey, situated between two small rivers—which to this day retain their Taino names of Tínima and Hatibonico. And here they rested and built the town for which they retained the same name: Santa María de Puerto Príncipe, or to give it an English equivalent, St. Mary’s of Princeport. In the course of time it became known only by the latter and somewhat anomalous name of Puerto Príncipe. The Indian name of the district is, however, still retained as the Department of Camagüey. For many years Camagüeyano has been the distinctive term for those born within the district. It is to the Cacique (chieftain) of Camagüey that Columbus on his first voyage in 1492 sent an embassy, in the belief that he was the Kublei Khan, or the Emperor of Cathay (China). It is historical that Columbus died in the belief that he had discovered the Indies and never knew even that Cuba was an island. In fact this knowledge was not acquired until 1508 when Cuba was circumnavigated by Sebastian de Ocampo.
For nearly a century after Morgan’s attack, the settlement on the coast gave but little signs of life. In fact it was almost completely abandoned or given up to a few fishermen. Nuevitas, or San Fernando de Nuevitas was later established near to the original site serving as the port for the renamed Puerto del Príncipe, today's city of Camagüey, Cuba.