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Cumana Travel Guide

Cumana History

Cumana, is also known by the names of «primogénita del continente» (firstborn of the continent) and «ciudad donde nace el sol» (city where the sun is born), its origins date back to 1515, the city was born as the result of an utopia thought by a group of Franciscan friars who dreamed to make an pure evangelization without the intervention of soldiers or traders.

This idea never was materialized because of the greed of the Spaniards who didn't agree with this idea because it didn't permit them to have slaves and workers for the extraction of treasures. In Cubagua, where the Spaniards were extracting riches, there was no water, and the pearl seekers used to go to the Cumana River in order to get some water, they named this river with the name "Manzanares" and for this reason they needed free access to the river.

On October 3 of 1520, a group of Indians, led by cacique Maragüey, revealed violently destroying the Franciscan convent and killing the friars who were inside. When the news arrived to Santo Domingo, the Royal Court sent Gonzalo de Ocampo with a group of soldiers with the mission of pacify this area.

Once Gonzalo Ocampo arrived to this city, he executed diverse attacks against indigenous people, arrested and punished for a great number of them and began to build a fortress and populate the city which he named "Nueva Toledo".

Next to this fortress, the Franciscans made their convent in which the father "De las Casas" lived, he is known because he denounced the abuses committed against indigenous people. The establishment of Cumana was delayed because of new uprising by the Indians as well as the strong earthquake in 1530. In 1562, Montesinos constructed over the ruins of the "Nueva Toledo de Ocampo" another city which named "Nueva Cordova".

This new city had a short period of life time because in 1569, the conqueror "Diego de Zerpa" established the definite urban settlement which was named "Cumana", whose name has remained until these days.


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