Political map of North America & the Caribbean 04 August 1496 (Colony of Santo Domingo): Having secured a base at La Isabela, Columbus (Christopher Columbus) began searching Hispaniola for gold, extorting and enslaving the Taíno in an attempt to make his colony profitable. After defeating organized Taíno resistance (Battle of Vega Real) in 1495, the Spanish gained effective control over the island and in 1496 established the new settlement of Santo Domingo (Colony of Santo Domingo) in the south. Better-placed than the disease-ridden and overcrowded La Isabela, Santo Domingo immediately became the center of Spanish operations in the New World.