The First Abbey in the New World – an Expression of Power and Ideology

Author(s): Robyn P Woodward

Year: 2015


Every empire needs an ideology, and the Spanish Crown and the Catholic Church found their sense of justifying mission in the obligations to uphold and extend their faith and by extension a civilized way of life.


Lacking lucrative mineral resources, Jamaica was destined to become the first primarily agricultural colony established by the Spanish during the contact period. Founded in 1509 as the capital of the island, Sevilla la Nueva prospered briefly as a supply base for other Spanish colonizing ventures in the region. Over the past 40 years archaeologists have discovered the remains of a fort, sugar mill, numerous workshops and an abbey. This paper will present the results of the excavation and preliminary analysis of the remains of the first Catholic Abbey in the New World, the construction of which commenced in 1524. 

Cite this Record

The First Abbey in the New World – an Expression of Power and Ideology. Robyn P Woodward. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433934)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spanish Colonial

Geographic Keywords
Canada North America

Temporal Keywords
15 minutes

Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.003; min lat: 41.684 ; max long: -52.617; max lat: 83.113 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 76