In 1502, Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella appointed Nicolás de Ovando as the first royal governor of the West Indies. Shortly after he arrived in Santo Domingo with 2,500 colonists, he established Americas’ first hospital and dedicated it to Saint Nicholas. The Brotherhood of Our Lady of Conception was in charge of its expansion. When the final construction phase of Hospital San Nicolás de Bari was finished in 1552, it was the most magnificent medical facility in the Western Hemisphere. The Renaissance and Gothic structure survived centuries of attacks, storms and earthquakes until it collapsed in 1911 during a hurricane. The ruins were modified in 1976 for safety.