Continue walking north along Calle Las Damas. Ladies Street was constructed during the first decade of the 16th century, making it the oldest street in the Colonial City and the Americas. It was flanked by some of the finest residences of the period. Many of them were commissioned by Nicolás de Ovando while he was Governor of the West Indies (1502 until 1509). He then appropriated the mansions to prominent Spaniards. This is the first one built in 1502. It would later become Casa de Hernán Cortés. Cortés was a notary for the town council after arriving in Santo Domingo from Spain in 1504. He began his illustrious (some say notorious) career as a conquistador in 1511 by overthrowing Cuba. Within a decade, Hernán Cortés had conquered the Aztec empire and claimed Mexico as New Spain. This residence is where he mapped out his assault. Casa de Hernán Cortés has been the French Embassy since 1999.