Name and history
Yaque or Yaqui is a Taíno word given to two rivers. One of those rivers, the longest, goes to the north of the island, to the Atlantic Ocean, and is called the Yaque del Norte ("Northern Yaque"); and the second goes to the south, to the Caribbean Sea, and is called Yaque del Sur ("Southern Yaque").
During his first visit to America in 1492, Christopher Columbus saw for the first time this river, at its mouth, and he called it Río de Oro ("Gold River") because he found many small pieces of gold. But later, during his second visit, he saw the river in other place and called it Río de las Cañas ("River of Canes") because many tall grasses (as sugar cane) were growing on the borders of the river. But none of those names were ever used; it has always been called Yaque, or Yaque del Norte.
Columbus built three forts near the river: Esperanza, Magdalena and Santiago; the first two were abandoned and Santiago was moved to another place with the name of Santiago de los Caballeros. Later Santiago de los Caballeros was moved again near the river but not in the original place.