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AZUA de Compostela
Coordinates: 18°27'N 70°44'O
Elevation: 83 m a.s.l.
Distance: 97 km to Santo Domingo
The Dominican city of Azua de Compostela, or simply Azua, is the head municipality of the Azua province, on the south of the country, about 5 km north of the Caribbean coast. It is also called sometimes Compostela de Azua.
Azua is the Taíno name of the region where the old city was founded. In this place, Pedro Gallego (or Pedro Mariscal), a Spanish colonist, developed a farm and he gave it the name of Compostela after Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, nortwestern Spain.
The town was founded in 1504 by Diego Velázquez, who later went to conquest the island of Cuba; the Spanish governor of the Hispaniola island at that time was Nicolás de Ovando. The town was in the original region of Azua, where there was a Taíno town and Pedro Gallego had a farm. This place is called now Pueblo Viejo (in English, Old Town), at about 8 km to the soutwest of the modern city.
The first secretary of the town was Hernán Cortés. He lived in Azua from 1504 to 1511, when he left to Cuba and, later, to conquest México.
Several sugar factories were established around the town and pirates came here to get the sugar and other products.
In 1751 there was a strong earthquake that destroyed the old town and a new one was founded on the right (western) side of the River Vía, where the modern city is now.
Because Azua is on the road that goes from the western part of the island to Santo Domingo, the city was destroyed several times during the Dominican-Haitian War (1844-1856). Two important battles (the Azua Battles) were fought in the city; the first was on 19 March 1844 and the second on 1849.
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