Well before being transformed into a museum, these two imposing palaces were the headquarters of the main royal institutions. They had the general harbour (the first World Court of the New world having authority over all the American courts) as well as the Royal Treasury and the Royal Hearing, established in 1513 before being transferred to Cuba on December 12, 1799, following the signing of the Treaty of Basel which ceded the western part of the island to France. The construction of the whole ended in 1520. On the south façade, overlooking the rue Mercedes, was the only known coat of art of Queen Jeanne de Castille, mother of Charles-Quint, known as Jeanne la Folle, for losing reason for the death of her husband, Philippe le Beau. The coat is now exposed to the museum. It was restored in 1967. The entrance takes place through the main facade of the building. It is decorated with the coats of arms of Emperor Charles I of Spain, those of the island of Hispaniola and that of the city of Santo Domingo, granted by royal privilege on December 7, 1508.
The museum exhibits treasures found in the Dominican waters and traces the history of the beginning of the Conquest until 1821, the date of the first independence. The entire Spanish period of the island away in the form of objects, maps, weapons, etc. Interesting curiosity, a magnificent apothecary cabinet, where ceramic pots for different medicinal herbs are exposed in a rigorous alignment. Temporary exhibitions are held there regularly. The building, as well as the treasures that it jealously guarded, is well worth repeating.
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