This chapter describes the events that marked the end for La Isabela and the failure of the Columbian project. Discovering gold deposits in the south part of the island in 1496, a decision was made—in Columbus's absence—to build a new town on the south coast, near the San Cristobal gold deposits. This decision was made when Columbus returned to Spain to defend himself in court against his critics' accusations. It was the rebellion of Roldan and his sacking of La Isabela, however, that most dramatically defined the Columbian project's undoing. Roldan and his followers, the roldanistas, were predominantly common soldiers, farmers, and artisans who rejected demands of obedience from the leaders of the colony and lived as a separate polity in Indian communities with Indian allies.
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