The second largest Caribbean island, known to the Spanish as Hispaniola or Española and to the French as Saint Domingue, was first explored by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and became the center of Spanish rule in the 16th century. While the Spanish settlements were concentrated on the eastern two thirds of the island, buccaneers occupied the western third during the 17th century. Consequently in 1697, Spain ceded the western third to France.
Although the French name is applied to the entire island on this 1725 map by the noted French geographer Guillaume De L'Isle, the Spanish presence on the eastern part of the island is acknowledged with the designation, "Quartiers des Espagnols," while the French area is labeled "Quartiers du Nord " and "Quartiers du Sud." De L'Isle's rendition of the island is based on a 1722 map prepared by the French engineer Amédée Frézier.
Relief shown pictorially