Santa Prisca is a fictional Latin American island country, located in the northeastern Caribbean. Renowned in the Batman mythos for rampant political corruption and an equally infamous prison, Peña Duro, it has also been remembered as the birthplace of Bane.
Santa Prisca was originally introduced by Denny O'Neil in The Question, and made sporadic appearances throughout O'Neil's tenure as Group Editor for Batman titles at DC Comics.
Santa Prisca is a small island located in the northern Caribbean and shows strong influences from the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and its prominent role in the illegal drug trade. The island's climate is generally that of a "tropical paradise" although like many Caribbean islands it also sees hurricanes. Thomas Wayne visited the island to aid in hurricane relief while his wife remained in America, pregnant with Bruce Wayne.
Santa Prisca was originally named for a Christian emperor of the late Roman Empire. It was first colonized by Spanish explorers, who brought with them deadly European diseases that killed off much of Santa Prisca's original native population. Upon gaining its independence from Spain in a violent revolution, Santa Prisca became one of the deadliest warzones in the New World, setting a trend that would continue for the many long years to come.
Santa Prisca slowly sank into the ground, ravaged by countless turf wars between local drug lords and ruthless military men. The long and bitter civil wars dragged on, leaving the island heavily impoverished. Many powerful crooks seized the opportunity to turn Santa Prisca into a haven for illegal activities. Inspired by the uprising of Fidel Castro in Cuba, Juan Paolo Sebastion, an power-grabbing revolutionary, toppled the corrupted Santa Priscan government easily in a three day war. However, dissent over the new regime began to topple Sebastion's new government. Shortly after he had named himself El Jefe del Pais or 'Head of the Country', he was driven from power and forced from the island.
The fall of Sebastion reduced Santa Prisca to brutal civil war again, with a new military government seizing power, and attempting to crush an almost immediate revolution staged against it. A British mercenary named Edmund Dorrance, or 'King Snake' also took part in the revolution, only to watch as it began to fall apart. The military put a price on the heads of all suspected of helping the revolution, including Thomas Wayne, and eventually defeated the rebels after a bloody set of battles. Edmund Dorrance fled the island to avoid capture, but his lover, an unnamed woman, was seized instead.
The woman was forced to serve a sentence for the 'war crimes' of her boyfriend, and gave birth while in prison to a son, who would later grow up to be Bane, one of Batman's most dangerous enemies.
Sensing weakness in the current military regime after the revolution, Juan Paolo Sebastion returned to Santa Prisca with an army of foreign mercenaries, backed by an unidentified Swiss interest, whose one condition was that all Jesuits be driven from the island. After crushing feeble resistance by the Santa Priscan forces, he declared himself ruler of the island again, while his Swiss benefactor was murdered by Jean-Paul Valley in retaliation for his actions against the Jesuits.
In terms of how its atmosphere is usually depicted, the island is split into sections of opulence for vacationers and notable members of the drug trade, with the rest of the island living in poverty, and brutal oppression by various factions seeking to rule the island. Generally drug lords are seen as the true rulers of the island, and Santa Prisca has long been considered one of the key developers in Gotham's drug trade, and is the "birthplace" of the strength enhancing drug "Venom". The island has undergone many revolutions, and the villainous King Snake was blinded while working as a mercenary in the employ of anti-Communist rebels.
The island is also known for its infamous prison, Pena Duro.
Curiously, Santa Prisca is also the source of one of the key secret ingredients to "Zesti Soda", the most popular soda in the DC Universe, a fact that eventually led to a revolution on the island with the Zesti corporation largely having power over the island at the revolution's end.
More recently Bane returned to his homeland with the intent of removing the drug lords from power. He discovered that in his absence a new form of Venom had been developed and was being sold on the island. Enraged, he forgot his intricate plans to remove the drug lords and attacked them directly, only to be subdued and forced into their service.
- In Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, a thug named Ramon Domingo referred to Santa Prisca as an island named for an imaginary saint which was only famous for two things: The world's most crooked politicians, and it's infamous prison, where the worst of the worst were sent by many other countries to fight it out for the spot of top dog. He proceeded to mention Bane had been named top dog at Pena Duro.
- In Batman: Arkham City, an advertisement for Santa Prisca is on a poster inside the Subway System, and scanning solves a riddle based on the villain Bane.