Located off the northeast Caribbean coast of Venezuela is a state with the surprising name of “Nueva Esparta,” or “New Sparta.” The state comprises the lovely, verdant islands of Margarita, Coche, and Cubagua, according to greekreporter.com.
Margarita Island was originally densely populated with indigenous people; the tribe called the island “Paraguachoa,” which means “Fish in abundance” in the local tongue.
The tribe was hospitable and friendly, and they were skilled fishermen and able navigators. These indigenous people were very proud of their homelands and they defended them to the death when attacked by nearby enemy tribes.
What eventually became Nueva Esparta was first reached by Europeans on August 15, 1498, during Christopher Columbus‘s third journey to the Americas. On this journey, Colombus came across two small islands which today are called Cubagua and Coche, and a third, bigger island, Paraguachoa.
Columbus gave the name of Asunción to the island of Paraguachoa and later, in 1499, it was re-named by the sailor Cristóbal de la Guerra, who christened it “Margarita,” In Greek, this term signifies “pearl’; the coast of the island was at that time abundant in pearls, which represented almost a third of the New World’s riches given to the Spanish Crown.
The navigator Alonso de Ojeda landed on the island and established friendships with its indigenous inhabitants.
The tribe believed that these foreign people who had come to their shores were their brothers, and that their arrival meant the start of a new, prosperous future, so they received them with great kindness and hospitality.
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