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In 1861 Spain returned to the country, having struck a bargain with Dominican dictator Pedro Santana whereby the latter was granted several honorific titles and privileges, in exchange for annexing the young nation back to Spanish rule.
The Dominican Restoration War began in 1863 however, and in 1865 the country was free again after Spain withdrew.
The city is coterminous with the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional ("D.
N.", "National District"), itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province.
Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the native Taíno people populated the island which they called Quisqueya (mother of all lands) and Ayiti (land of high mountains), and which Columbus later named Hispaniola, including the territory of today's Republic of Haiti.
At the time, the island's territory consisted of five chiefdoms: Marién, Maguá, Maguana, Jaragua, and Higüey.
In 1512, Ferdinand established a Real Audiencia with Juan Ortiz de Matienzo, Marcelo de Villalobos, and Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon appointed as judges of appeal.
In 1514, Pedro Ibanez de Ibarra arrived with the Laws of Burgos.
On 27 February 1844 Santo Domingo was again the capital of a free nation, when it gained its independence from Haiti, led by Dominican nationalist Juan Pablo Duarte.
The city was a prize fought over by various political factions over the succeeding decades of instability.