Bajos de Haina
Bajos de Haina, also known simply as Haina (usually with the H voiced as /h/, instead of being silent
Silent letter
In an alphabetic writing system, a silent letter is a letter that, in a particular word, does not correspond to any sound in the word's pronunciation...

, as is the norm in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

) , is a town and municipality in the San Cristóbal (province)
San Cristóbal (province)
San Cristóbal is a province in the southern Dominican Republic, west of the capital Santo Domingo. It was originally named Trujillo after its founder, dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, taking its present name after his assassination in 1961. It included what is now Monte Plata Province until 1992...

, of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

. In 1993 the population was estimated at 68,261, but recent estimates in 2005 claimed the population was as high as 140,175. It is about 10 miles/16 km west of Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

; 18°25'N 70°02'W. Port and industrial center.


According to some versions, Miguel Díaz, who had migrated from La Isabela, arrived in Haina after having injured a man who was intimately related to the Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 authorities. Once he settled there, he married a native woman named Catalina who told him of a gold deposit in the western bank of the Haina River
Haina River
-References:* The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000.**...

. After confirming the existence of the precious metal, he returned to La Isabela where he told Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 and his brother Bartholomew of his discovery. The Admiral sent his brother to confirm the existence of the deposit, since he had to leave for Europe.

Bartholomew realized that there indeed was gold and decided to build a fort that he named San Cristóbal, which served as lodging for the soldiers that participated in this activity.

A very large gold nugget was found in 1502, at the western bank of the Haina River, eight kilometers from Villa Altagracia
Villa Altagracia
Villa Altagracia is a municipality of the San Cristóbal province in the Dominican Republic. Within the municipality there are three municipal districts : La Cuchilla, Medina and San José del Puerto....

, in a place known as Madrigal. The nugget was sent to Spain, but the ship that carried it sank along with Governor Francisco de Bobadilla
Francisco de Bobadilla
Francisco de Bobadilla was a Spanish colonial administrator. Member of the Order of Calatrava, in 1499, de Bobadilla was appointed to succeed Christopher Columbus as the second governor of the Indies, Spain's new territories in America, by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella...

, cacique Guarionex
Guarionex was a Taíno cacique from the cacicazgo of Maguá in the island of Hispaniola. The later Spanish colonization of the island pushed thousands of indians to other neighboring islands such as Borikén to where he fled....

 and dozens of Spaniards.


Bajos de Haina, has been referred to as the 'Dominican Chernobyl'. According to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the population of Haina is considered to have the highest level of lead contamination in the world, and its entire population carries indications of lead poisoning
Lead poisoning
Lead poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems...

. The contamination is believed to have been caused by the past industrial operations of the nearby Baterías Meteoro, an automobile battery
Car battery
An automotive battery is a type of rechargeable battery that supplies electric energy to an automobile. Usually this refers to an SLI battery to power the starter motor, the lights, and the ignition system of a vehicle’s engine...

 recycling smelter. Although the company has moved to a new site, the contamination still remains.

Bajos de Haina was named as one of the ten most polluted places on earth by the US based environmental group the Blacksmith Institute
Blacksmith Institute
Founded in 1999, Blacksmith Institute is an international non-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating life-threatening pollution in the developing world. Blacksmith identifies and cleans up the world's worst polluted places, focusing on communities where children are most at risk. Based in...

in 2006, and is still listed as one of the 30 worst polluted cities in the world.

External links

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