Ovando, the governor of Hispaniola (Haiti), who had exhausted the labour of that island, turned his thoughts to the Bahamas, and in 1509 Ferdinand authorized him to procure labourers from these islands.
European plants and animals were introduced into Hispaniola and Cuba, and sugar plantations were set up. But the main object of the Spaniards, who could not labour in the tropics even if they had wished to do so, was always gold, to be won by slave labour.
The first Spanish settlement in Hispaniola spread to the mainland by the adventure of Alonso de Ojeda and Diego de Nicuesa in Darien in 1509.
The term tobacco appears not to have been a commonly used original name for the plant, and it has come to us from a peculiar instrument used for inhaling its smoke by the inhabitants of Hispaniola (San Domingo).
Shortly after the news of the discovery of the New World had reached Spain he was in Seville, and thence found his way across the Atlantic. There he is heard of in 1510 as having taken part in an expedition from Hispaniola to Uraba under Alonzo de Ojeda, by whom he was entrusted with the charge of the unfortunate settlement at San Sebastian.
After another reverse on the east side of the Gulf of Darien Ojeda returned to Hispaniola and died there.