According to the National Humanities Center, the first Spanish settlement in North America was La Isabela (Isabella), named for the Spanish queen. It was located on the northern coast of Hispaniola, now known as the Dominican Republic.
Christopher Columbus founded this settlement during his second voyage to America in 1494, after having secured the permission of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela. Gold was the motivation of the Spanish colonization, but the settlement proved to be a disaster. Little gold was found, and turbulent weather, crop failures and conflict with the indigenous people proved to be too much for the settlement. Columbus returned to Spain in 1496, and the settlement was abandoned in 1498.