Las Terrenas - Villa Ribera Mar
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The founding of Las Terrenas as such, has no date, because there is no historical or social event of relevance that can mark a specific date. In 1630, French privateers conformed it as a small village. In 1808, “La Terriene” appears as the 16th Party of the Samana Peninsula, but there is no evidence of people living in Las Terrenas, until 1903; the year in which the Aurora School was founded by Professor Vicente Martinez and Mr. Victor Neumann.
However, it is said that Las Terrenas was founded by groups of Dominican families of different surnames. The founder’s surnames are classified into 4 groups:
1. Those from Samana: Anderson, Aron, Castillo, Dorbin, Drullar, Durvin, Fermin, Forchue, Gambin, Gamon, Gervasio, Guen, Green, Henn, Johnson, Kely, Kery, King, Silvain and Vanderhorst;
2. Those from el Cibao, which were the ones arriving on their own: Hernandez Paulino and Guzman.
3. Those who came from Puerto Plata and Moca, brought by the Paiewonsky family to work, such as: Morobel, Suero, Vasquez, De La Cruz, Reyes, Crisostomo, Ademan.
4. And those who came from the south of the country to work in agriculture: Galvan, Abreu, Adames, Alcantara, De Leon and Viola.
The first person of this last mentioned group was Alejo Galván from Bohechío; who by his mediation, after the big earthquake of 1946, brought in another 10 families to the area.


The name Las Terrenas has evolved over time. Starts, when European adventurers and pirates called it ” La Terrienne “, which translated into Spanish means “The Landlord “; which was used from 1630 to 1693. Then, the name was changed from French into Spanish, “La Terrena”; used from 1693 to 2000. Subsequently, the historian Gregorio Elias Samanes Penzo Devers and natives of the place, in order to give prominence to the name, they added two “s”, saying instead “Las Terrenas” used since 2008 till today. However, following the pronunciation of some “capitaleños (city people)” who equate the name “La Romana” and say instead “Terrena”; it became very usual to call it like this, since 2007. However, the current name legally, remains “Las Terrenas”.

Most importantly, since its inception, the development of Las Terrenas has been marked by the French. The French were the first to strengthen Samana, it was said that this was ‘the French dream without a fight’. The french school in Las Terrenas, is named after Théodore Chassériau. The first priest and first doctors were of the Tessón family who came to make their life in Las Terrenas.

Another particular case occurred in the municipality with Portillo, as its original name was ” Petit Port “, but President Leonidas Trujillo changed it to what we know it today.

French incidence is denoted as a historical continuity only here in Las Terrenas, like in Sosúa, with the Germans. Arguably, the historical characteristic element of Las Terrenas, is the continued presence of the French, even till today. All the above determines that Las Terrenas is a town of immigrants and foreigners.