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Columbus's Outpost among the TainosSpain and America at La Isabela, 1493-1498$
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Kathleen Deagan and Jose Maria Cruxent

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780300090406

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300090406.001.0001

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The Hand of Vandals and the Tooth of Time: La Isabela, 1500–1987

The Hand of Vandals and the Tooth of Time: La Isabela, 1500–1987

(p.71) Chapter 5 The Hand of Vandals and the Tooth of Time: La Isabela, 1500–1987
Columbus's Outpost among the Tainos

Kathleen Deagan

José María Cruxent

Yale University Press

This chapter describes La Isabela, and how it was known and used intermittently by smugglers, woodcutters, fishermen, pig hunters, sailors, Columbus researchers, and treasure hunters for nearly five hundred years. Abandoned after 1948, it is the site where the village of El Castillo was established in the mid-twentieth century. Through those centuries the site itself suffered countless natural and human depredations that severely compromised its physical and archaeological integrity. The neglect of La Isabela during its first three centuries of abandonment and amnesia had a relatively benign impact on the site. It was ironically the recognition of La Isabela as a symbol of American history—and particularly the rediscovery of Columbus in the nineteenth century—that led to the most serious impacts on the site, and its near destruction.

Keywords:   human depredations, La Isabela, El Castillo, archaeological integrity, American history

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