San José de las Matas

San José de las Matas, 2020






Between the years 1605 and 1606, Governor Antonio de Osorio ordered the inhabitants of the western part of Spanish Hispaniola, including Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata, to move east near what is today Monte Plata. The reason for this forced movement was because smuggling became very prevalent on the island and especially in the north. Owners of cattle herds would come to this area to sell their cattle's hides for better prices. In addition the smuggling of Protestant bibles and Protestant baptisms became another concern for the Spanish crown which incited King Felipe III to give the order to Osorio. This event would later be known as the Devastaciones de Osorio.

Part of the migration of the Devastaciones de Osorio included groups that settled on the banks of the merging of the two rivers of Ámina and Inoa. They named the settlement San José de las Matas.

By the end of the 1700s, San José de las Matas would have around 500 people. In 1813, a census conducted by the local priest José María Colón Reyes counted 2,252 people who represented 510 vecinos in the community.

On August 29, 1810 the inhabitants of the town officially founded San José de las Matas and the document was signed by these men:

These surnames are representative of many families still native to San José de las Matas. Another document indicated that in 1814 Mariana San Pedro de Peralta, widow of Francisco Jáquez, donated land to build the town's church. Many of theses families came to expand outwards to neighboring areas in La Sierra such as in Santo Tomás de Jánico and La Presa de Tavera in La Vega.

Parish Priests

Alcaldes (1823-1916)