History of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, in the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...


Successive waves of Arawak migrants, moving northward from the Orinoco
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3% of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia...

 delta in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, settled the islands of the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. Around AD 600, the Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, an Arawak culture, arrived on the island, displacing the previous inhabitants. They were organized into cacicazgos (chiefdoms), each led by a cacique (chief). The final Arawak migrants, the Caribs, began moving up the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

 in the 12th century, and were raiding Taíno villages on the island's eastern coast by the time the Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 arrived in 1492.

African enslavement

In 1501, the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand I
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 and Isabella, first granted permission to the colonists of the Caribbean to import African slaves, which began arriving to the island in 1503. These African importees have had the most dominant racial influence, and their rich and ancient culture has had an influence second only to that of Europe on the political and cultural character of the modern Dominican Republic. In 1510, the first sizable shipment, consisting of 250 Black Ladinos, arrived in Hispaniola from Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Eight years later African-born slaves arrived in the West Indies. Sugar cane was introduced to Hispaniola from the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, and the first sugar mill in the New World was established in 1516, on Hispaniola. The need for a labor force to meet the growing demands of sugar cane cultivation led to an exponential increase in the importation of slaves over the following two decades. The sugar mill owners soon formed a new colonial elite, and convinced the Spanish king to allow them to elect the members of the Real Audiencia from their ranks. Poorer colonists subsisted by hunting the herds of wild cattle that roamed throughout the island and selling their hides.

The first major slave revolt in the Americas occurred in Santo Domingo during 1522, when slaves led an uprising in the sugar plantation of admiral Don Diego Colón
Diego Colón
Diego Columbus was the 2nd Admiral of the Indies, 2nd Viceroy of the Indies and 3rd Governor of the Indies. He was the firstborn son of Christopher Columbus and wife Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, and was born in 1479/1480 in Porto Santo, Portugal or 1474 in Lisbon, Portugal. He died February...

, son of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

. Many of these insurgents managed to escape to the mountains where they formed independent maroon
Maroon (people)
Maroons were runaway slaves in the West Indies, Central America, South America, and North America, who formed independent settlements together...



While sugar cane dramatically increased Spain's earnings on the island, large numbers of the newly imported slaves fled into the nearly impassable mountain ranges in the island's interior, joining the growing communities of cimarrónes—literally, 'wild animals'. By the 1530s, cimarrón
Maroon (people)
Maroons were runaway slaves in the West Indies, Central America, South America, and North America, who formed independent settlements together...

 bands had become so numerous that in rural areas the Spaniards could only safely travel outside their plantations in large armed groups. By the 1540s, the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 had become overrun with English, French and Dutch pirates. In 1541 Spain authorized the construction of Santo Domingo's fortified wall, and decided to restrict sea travel to enormous, well-armed convoys. In another move, which would destroy Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

's sugar industry, in 1561 Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, more strategically located in relation to the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

, was selected as the designated stopping point for the merchant flotas, which had a royal monopoly on commerce with the Americas. In 1564, the island's main inland cities Santiago de los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros is a city in the Dominican Republic. Founded in 1495 during the first wave of European colonization of the New World, today Santiago is the second largest metropolis in the Dominican Republic, located in the north-central region of the Republic known as Cibao valley...

 and Concepción de la Vega
Concepción de La Vega
La Vega, or Concepción de La Vega is the largest city and municipality of the central Dominican Republic and the third of the whole country...

 were destroyed by an earthquake.

Colonial decline, French encroachment and the Haitian Revolution

With the conquest of the American mainland, Hispaniola quickly declined. Most Spanish colonists left for the silver-mines of Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, while new immigrants from Spain bypassed the island. Agriculture dwindled, new imports of slaves ceased, and white colonists, free blacks, and slaves alike lived in poverty, weakening the racial hierarchy and aiding intermixing, resulting in a population of predominantly mixed Spaniard, African, and Taíno descent. Except for the city of Santo Domingo, which managed to maintain some legal exports, Dominican ports were forced to rely on contraband trade, which, along with livestock, became the sole source of livelihood for the island dwellers. In 1586, Sir Francis Drake captured the city of Santo Domingo, collecting a ransom for its return to Spanish rule.

In 1605, Spain, unhappy that Santo Domingo was facilitating trade between its other colonies and other European powers, attacked vast parts of the colony's northern and western regions, forcibly resettling their inhabitants closer to the city of Santo Domingo. This action, known as the devastaciones, proved disastrous; more than half of the resettled colonists died of starvation or disease. French and English buccaneers took advantage of Spain's retreat into a corner of Hispaniola to settle the island of Tortuga, off the northwest coast of Hispaniola, in 1629. France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 established direct control in 1640, reorganizing it into an official colony and expanding to the north coast of Hispaniola itself, whose western end Spain ceded to France in 1697 under the Treaty of Ryswick. In 1655, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 dispatched a fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir William Penn, to conquer Santo Domingo. After meeting heavy resistance, the English retreated, taking the island of Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...


The House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 replaced the House of Habsburg in Spain in 1700 and introduced economic reforms that gradually began to revive trade in Santo Domingo. The crown progressively relaxed the rigid controls and restrictions on commerce between Spain and the colonies and among the colonies. The last flotas sailed in 1737; the monopoly port system was abolished shortly thereafter. By the middle of the century, the population was bolstered by emigration from the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, resettling the northern part of the colony and planting tobacco in the Cibao Valley, and importation of slaves was renewed. The population of Santo Domingo grew from about 6,000 in 1737 to approximately 125,000 in 1790. Of this number, about 40,000 were white landowners, about 25,000 were black or mulatto freedmen, and some 60,000 were slaves. However, it remained poor and neglected, particularly in contrast with its western, French neighbor Saint-Domingue
The labour for these plantations was provided by an estimated 790,000 African slaves . Between 1764 and 1771, the average annual importation of slaves varied between 10,000-15,000; by 1786 it was about 28,000, and from 1787 onward, the colony received more than 40,000 slaves a year...

, which became the wealthiest colony in the New World and had four and half times as many inhabitants. As restrictions on colonial trade were relaxed, the colonial elites of St. Domingue offered the principal market for Santo Domingo's exports of beef, hides, mahogany, and tobacco.

With the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution
Haitian Revolution
The Haitian Revolution was a period of conflict in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which culminated in the elimination of slavery there and the founding of the Haitian republic...

 in 1791, the rich urban families linked to the colonial bureaucracy fled the island, while most of the rural hateros (cattle ranchers) remained, even though they lost their principal market. Spain saw in the unrest an opportunity to seize all, or part, of the western third of the island in an alliance of convenience with the British and the rebellious slaves. But after the slaves and French reconciled, the Spanish were defeated by the forces of the black Jacobin
Jacobin (politics)
A Jacobin , in the context of the French Revolution, was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary far-left political movement. The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican convent where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques ,...

 General Toussaint Louverture, and in 1795, France gained control of the whole island under the Treaties of Basel
Peace of Basel
The Peace of Basel of 1795 consists of three peace treaties involving France .* The first of the three treaties of 1795, France made peace with Prussia on 5 April; , * The Second was with Spain on 22 July, ending the War of the Pyrenees; and*...

. In 1801, L'Ouverture arrived in Santo Domingo, proclaiming the abolition of slavery on behalf of the French Republic. Shortly afterwards, Napoleon dispatched an army which subdued the whole island and ruled it for a few months. Mulattos and blacks again rose up against these French in October 1802 and finally defeated them in November 1803. On 1 January 1804 the victors declared Saint-Domingue to be the independent republic of Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. Even after their defeat by the Haitians, a small French garrison remained in Santo Domingo. Slavery was reestablished and many of the émigré Spanish colonists returned. In 1805, after crowning himself Emperor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1801 constitution. Initially regarded as Governor-General, Dessalines later named himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti...

 invaded, reaching Santo Domingo before retreating in the face of a French naval squadron. In their retreat through the Cibao
Cibao, usually referred as "El Cibao", is a region of the Dominican Republic located at the northern part of the country.The Taíno word Cibao, meaning "place where rocks abound", was originally applied to the central mountain range, and used during the Spanish conquest to refer to the rich and...

, the Haitians sacked the towns of Santiago and Moca
Moca, Dominican Republic
Moca is the capital of Espaillat province in the Dominican Republic.Moca is located 11 miles/18 kilometers away from the country’s second biggest city, Santiago De Los Caballeros. Moca is also known for its many great crops and friendly people....

, slaughtering most of their residents and helping to lay the foundation for two centuries of animosity between the two countries.

The French held on in the eastern part of the island, until defeated by the Spanish inhabitants at the Battle of Palo Hincado
Battle of Palo Hincado
The Battle of Palo Hincado was the first major battle of the Spanish Reconquista of the colony of Santo Domingo, now the Dominican Republic. It was fought in the colony, on November 7, 1808, at Palo Hincado savanna, near El Seibo...

 on November 7, 1808 and the final capitulation of the besieged Santo Domingo on July 9, 1809, with help from the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


The Spanish authorities showed little interest in their restored colony, and the following period is recalled as La España Boba
España Boba
España Boba or "The Era of Foolish Spain" was a period of time, from 1809 to 1821, in which the Spanish imperial government exercised only nominal power over its colony in Santo Domingo...

 – 'The Era of Foolish Spain'. The great ranching families such as the Santanas came to be the leaders in the south east, the law of the "machete" ruled for a time. The former lieutenant-governor José Núñez de Cáceres declared the colony's independence as the state of Spanish Haiti (Haiti Español) on November 30, 1821, requesting admission to the Republic of Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. This short-lived republic included the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. The...

; but Haitian forces led by Jean-Pierre Boyer occupied the country just nine weeks later.

Haitian occupation

The twenty-two-year Haitian occupation that followed is recalled by Dominicans as a period of brutal military rule, though the reality is more complex. It led to large-scale land expropriations and failed efforts to force production of export crops, impose military services, restrict the use of the Spanish language, and eliminate traditional customs such as cockfighting. It reinforced Dominicans' perceptions of themselves as different from Haitians in "language, race, religion and domestic customs." Yet, this was also a period that definitively ended slavery as an institution in the eastern part of the island.

Haiti's constitution forbade whites from owning land, and the major landowning families were forcibly deprived of their properties. Most emigrated to the Spanish colonies of Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, or to independent Gran Colombia, usually with the encouragement of Haitian officials, who acquired their lands. The Haitians, who associated the Catholic Church with the French slave-masters who had exploited them before independence, confiscated all church property, deported all foreign clergy, and severed the ties of the remaining clergy to the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. Santo Domingo’s university, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, lacking students, teachers, and resources, closed down. In order to receive diplomatic recognition from France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Haiti was forced to pay an indemnity of 150 million francs to the former French colonists, which was subsequently lowered to 60 million francs, and Haiti imposed heavy taxes on the eastern part of the island. Since Haiti was unable to adequately provision its army, the occupying forces largely survived by commandeering or confiscating food and supplies at gunpoint.

Attempts to redistribute land conflicted with the system of communal land tenure (terrenos comuneros), which had arisen with the ranching economy, and newly emancipated slaves resented being forced to grow cash crops under Boyer's Code Rural. In rural areas, the Haitian administration was usually too inefficient to enforce its own laws. It was in the city of Santo Domingo that the effects of the occupation were most acutely felt, and it was there that the movement for independence originated.


In 1838 Juan Pablo Duarte
Juan Pablo Duarte
Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez is one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. He was a visionary and liberal thinker who along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella is widely considered the architect of the Dominican Republic and its independence from Haitian rule in 1844...

, Ramón Matías Mella
Ramón Matías Mella
Matías Ramón Mella, born 25 February 1816, is regarded as a national hero in the Dominican Republic. The Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella is partially named in his honor....

, and Francisco del Rosario Sanchez
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez
Francisco Del Rosario Sánchez was a politician and founding father of the Dominican Republic. He is considered by Dominicans as the second leader of the 1844 Dominican War of Independence, after Juan Pablo Duarte and before Ramón Matías Mella. The Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella is...

 founded a secret society called La Trinitaria
La Trinitaria
La Trinitaria is a town and one of the 119 Municipalities of Chiapas, in southern Mexico.As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 59,686. It covers an area of 1840.7 km²....

to win independence from Haiti. In 1843 they allied with a Haitian movement in overthrowing Boyer. Due to their revealing themselves as revolutionaries working for Dominican independence, the new Haitian president, Charles Riviere-Hérard
Charles Riviere-Hérard
Charles Rivière-Hérard also known as Charles Hérard Aîné was an officer in the Haitian Army under Andre Petion during his struggles against Henri Christophe. He was declared President of Haiti on 4 April 1843. He was forced from office by revolutionaries on 3 May 1844.Charles Hérard Aîné was born...

, exiled or imprisoned the leading Trinitarios (Trinitarians). At the same time, Buenaventura Báez
Buenaventura Báez
Buenaventura Báez Méndez was the President of the Dominican Republic for five nonconsecutive terms. He is known for attempting to annex the Dominican Republic to other countries on multiple occasions.-Early years:...

, an Azua
Azua Province
Azua is a province of the Dominican Republic.-Municipalities and municipal districts:The province as of June 20 2006 is divided into the following municipalities and municipal districts within them:...

 mahogany exporter and deputy in the Haitian National Assembly
National Assembly of Haïti
The Parliament of Haiti is the legislature of the Republic of Haiti. It sits at the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The Parliament is bicameral, the upper house being the Senate of Haiti and the lower house being the Chamber of Deputies of Haiti....

, was negotiating with the French Consul-General for the establishment of a French protectorate. In an uprising timed to preempt Báez, on February 27, 1844, the Trinitarios declared independence from Haiti, backed by Pedro Santana
Pedro Santana
Pedro Santana y Familias was a wealthy cattle rancher, soldier, politician and dictator of the Dominican Republic. He was born in the community of Hinche, which was part of the Colony of Santo Domingo. Currently, Hinche is a border town part of Haiti...

, a wealthy cattle-rancher from El Seibo
El Seibo
El Seibo , alternatively spelt El Seybo, is a province of the Dominican Republic. Before 1992 it included what is now Hato Mayor province.-Municipalities and municipal districts:...

 who commanded a private army of peon
The words peon and peonage are derived from the Spanish peón . It has a range of meanings but its primary usage is to describe laborers with little control over their employment conditions.-English usage:...

s who worked on his estates.

First Republic

The Dominican Republic's first constitution
Constitution of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has gone through 38 constitutions, more than any other country, since its independence in 1844. This statistic is a somewhat deceiving indicator of political stability, however, because of the Dominican practice of promulgating a new constitution whenever an amendment was...

 was adopted on November 6, 1844. It featured a presidential form of government with many liberal tendencies, but it was marred by Article 210, imposed by Pedro Santana
Pedro Santana
Pedro Santana y Familias was a wealthy cattle rancher, soldier, politician and dictator of the Dominican Republic. He was born in the community of Hinche, which was part of the Colony of Santo Domingo. Currently, Hinche is a border town part of Haiti...

 on the constitutional assembly by force, giving him the privileges of a dictatorship until the war of independence was over. These privileges not only served him to win the war, but also allowed him to persecute, execute and drive into exile his political opponents, among which Duarte was the most important. During the first decade of independence, Haïti mounted five invasions to reconquer the eastern part of the island: in 1844, 1845, 1849, 1853 and 1855-56. Although each was repulsed, Santana used the ever-present threat of Haitian invasion as a justification for consolidating dictatorial powers. For the Dominican elite—mostly landowners, merchants and priests—the threat of re-conquest by more populous Haïti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 was sufficient to seek annexation by an outside power. Offering the deepwater harbor of Samaná
Santa Bárbara de Samaná
Samaná, in full Santa Bárbara de Samaná, is a city and municipality in northeastern Dominican Republic and is the capital of Samaná Province. It is located on the northern coast of Samaná Bay...

 bay as bait, over the next two decades, negotiations were made with Britain, France, the United States and Spain to declare a protectorate over the country.

Without adequate roads, the regions of the Dominican Republic developed in isolation from one another. In the south, the economy was dominated by cattle-ranching (particularly in the southeastern savannah) and cutting mahogany and other hard woods for export. This region retained a semi-feudal character-with little commercial agriculture, the hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

as the dominant social unit and the majority of the population living at a subsistence level. In the Cibao Valley, the nation's richest farmland, peasants supplemented their subsistence crops by growing tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 for export, mainly to Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Tobacco required less land than cattle ranching and was mainly grown by smallholders, who relied on itinerant traders to transport their crops to Puerto Plata
San Felipe de Puerto Plata
San Felipe de Puerto Plata, often referred to as simply Puerto Plata, is the capital of the Dominican province Puerto Plata.The city is famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located east of San Felipe de Puerto Plata. There are a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city.The only...

 and Monte Cristi
San Fernando de Monte Cristi
San Fernando de Monte Cristi is the capital of Monte Cristi Province, Dominican Republic.It is located in the northwest of the country in the coastal lowlands, close to the border with Haiti.- History :...


Santana antagonized the Cibao
Cibao, usually referred as "El Cibao", is a region of the Dominican Republic located at the northern part of the country.The Taíno word Cibao, meaning "place where rocks abound", was originally applied to the central mountain range, and used during the Spanish conquest to refer to the rich and...

 farmers, enriching himself and his supporters at their expense by resorting to multiple peso printings that allowed him to buy their crops for a fraction of their value. In 1848, he was forced to resign, and was succeeded by his vice-president, Manuel Jimenes. After returning to lead Dominican forces against a new Haitian invasion in 1849, Santana marched on Santo Domingo, deposing Jimenes. At his behest, Congress elected Buenaventura Báez
Buenaventura Báez
Buenaventura Báez Méndez was the President of the Dominican Republic for five nonconsecutive terms. He is known for attempting to annex the Dominican Republic to other countries on multiple occasions.-Early years:...

 as President, but Báez was unwilling to serve as Santana's puppet, challenging his role as the country's acknowledged military leader. In 1853 Santana was elected president for his second term, forcing Báez into exile. Three years later, after repulsing the last Haitian invasion, he negotiated a treaty leasing a portion of Samaná Peninsula to a U.S. company; popular opposition forced him to abdicate, enabling Báez to return and seize power. With the treasury depleted, Báez printed eighteen million uninsured pesos, purchasing the 1857 tobacco crop with this currency and exporting it for hard cash at immense profit to himself and his followers. The Cibaoan tobacco planters, who were ruined when inflation ensued, revolted, recalling Santana from exile to lead their rebellion. After a year of civil war, Santana seized Santo Domingo and installed himself as President.

Annexation by Spain and the War of Restoration

Pedro Santana inherited a bankrupt government on the brink of collapse. Having failed in his initial bids to secure annexation by the U.S. or France, Santana initiated negotiations with Queen Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

 and the Captain-General of Cuba to have the island reconverted into a Spanish colony. The American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 rendered the United States incapable of enforcing the Monroe Doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention...

. In Spain, Prime Minister Don
Don (honorific)
Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

 Leopoldo O'Donnell advocated renewed colonial expansion, waging a campaign in northern Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 that conquered the city of Tetuan. In March 1861, Santana officially restored the Dominican Republic to Spain.

This move was widely rejected and on August 16, 1863, a national war of restoration
Dominican Restoration War
The Dominican Restoration War was a guerrilla war between 1863 and 1865 in the Dominican Republic between nationalists and Spain, who had recolonized the country 17 years after its independence...

 began in Santiago, where the rebels established a provisional government. Spanish troops reoccupied the town, but the rebels fled to the mountains along the ill-defined Haitian border. Haitian President Fabre Geffrard
Fabre Geffrard
Fabre-Nicholas Geffrard was a general in the Haitian army and President of Haiti from 1859 until his deposition in 1867. After collaborating in a coup to remove Faustin Soulouque from power in order to return Haiti back to social and political control of the colored elite, Geffrard was made...

 provided the Dominican rebels with sanctuary and arms, sending a detachment of his presidential guards (the Tirailleur
Tirailleur literally means a shooting skirmisher in French from tir—shot. The term dates back to the Napoleonic period where it was used to designate light infantry trained to skirmish ahead of the main columns...

) to fight alongside them. Santana initially was named Capitan-General of the new Spanish province, but it soon became obvious that Spanish authorities planned to deprive him of his power, leading him to resign in 1862. Condemned to death by the provisional government, Santana died under mysterious circumstances in 1864, and is widely believed to have committed suicide. Restrictions on trade, discrimination against the mulatto majority, rumors that Spain intended to reimpose slavery, and an unpopular campaign by the new Spanish Archbishop against extramarital unions, which were widespread after decades of abandonment by the Catholic Church, all fed resentment of Spanish rule. Confined to the major towns, the Spanish army was unable to defeat the guerillas or contain the insurrection, and suffered heavy losses due to Yellow Fever
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

. Spanish colonial authorities encouraged Queen Isabella II to abandon the island, seeing the occupation as a nonsensical waste of troops and money.

However, the rebels were in a state of political disarray, and proved unable to present a cohesive set of demands. The first president of the provisional government, Pepillo Salcedo
José Antonio Salcedo
General José Antonio Salcedo y Ramírez, "Pepillo" led a civil war which aimed at the restoration of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Restoration War began on August 16, 1863, and by September 14, 1863 a Provisional Government was established, over which the general presided...

 (allied with Báez) was deposed by General Gaspar Polanco in September 1864, who, in turn, was deposed by General Antonio Pimentel three months later. The rebels formalized their provisional rule by holding a national convention in February 1865, which enacted a new constitution, but the new government exerted little authority over the various regional guerilla caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

, who were largely independent of one another. Unable to extract concessions from the disorganized rebels, when the American Civil War ended, in March 1865, Queen Isabella annulled the annexation and independence was restored, with the last Spanish troops departing by July.

Second Republic

By the time the Spanish departed, most of the main towns lay in ruins and the island was divided among several dozen caudillos. José María Cabral controlled most of Barahona and the southwest with the support of Báez's mahogany-exporting partners, while cattle rancher Cesáreo Guillermo
Cesareo Guillermo
Cesáreo Guillermo y Bastardo; was President of the Dominican Republic in 1878 and in 1879. His parents were Pedro Guillermo and Rosalía Bastardo. He entered the military at age 16....

 assembled a coalition of former Santanista generals in the southeast, and Gregorio Luperón
Gregorio Luperón
Gregorio Luperón , is best known for being a Dominican military and state leader who was the main leader in the restoration of the Dominican Republic after the Spanish annexation in 1863....

 controlled the north coast. From the Spanish withdrawal to 1879, there were twenty-one changes of government and at least fifty military uprisings.

In the course of these conflicts, two parties emerged. The Partido Rojo (Literally "Red Party") represented the southern cattle ranching latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

 and mahogany-exporting interests, as well as the artisans and laborers of Santo Domingo, and was dominated by Báez, who continued to seek annexation by a foreign power. The Partido Azul (literally "Blue Party"), led by Luperón, represented the tobacco farmers and merchants of the Cibao and Puerto Plata and was nationalist and liberal in orientation. During these wars, the small and corrupt national army was far outnumbered by militias organized and maintained by local caudillos who set themselves up as provincial governors. These militias were filled out by poor farmers or landless plantation workers impressed into service who usually took up banditry when not fighting in revolution.

Within a month of the nationalist victory, Cabral, whose troops were the first to enter Santo Domingo, ousted Pimentel, but a few weeks later General Guillermo led a rebellion in support of Báez, forcing Cabral to resign and allowing Báez to retake the presidency in October. Báez was overthrown by the Cibao farmers under Luperón, leader of the Partido Azul, the following spring, but Luperón's allies turned on each other and Cabral reinstalled himself as President in a coup in 1867. After bringing several Azules ("Blues") into his cabinet the Rojos ("Reds") revolted, returning Báez to power. In 1869, Báez negotiated a treaty of annexation with the United States
The Annexation of Santo Domingo
The Annexation of Santo Domingo was an attempt to annex “Santo Domingo” by an expansionist movement in 1870 during the Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, for the United States of America to acquire the Dominican Republic as a U.S. territory and given eventual statehood. This movement was preceded by...

. Supported by U.S. Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 William Seward, who hoped to establish a Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 base at Samaná, in 1871 the treaty was defeated in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 through the efforts of abolitionist
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 Senator Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner was an American politician and senator from Massachusetts. An academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction,...


In 1874, the Rojo governor of Puerto Plata, Ignacio Maria González Santín
Ignacio María González (politician)
Ignacio María González was a politician from the Dominican Republic. He served as provisional president of the Dominican Republic at various times throughout his career.-Reference:...

, staged a coup in support of an Azul rebellion, but was deposed by the Azules two years later. In February 1876, Ulises Espaillat, backed by Luperón, was named President, but ten months later troops loyal to Báez returned him to power. One year a new rebellion allowed González to seize power, only to be deposed by Cesáreo Guillermo in September 1878, who was in turn deposed by Luperón in December 1879. Ruling the country from his hometown of Puerto Plata, enjoying an economic boom due to increased tobacco exports to Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Luperón enacted a new constitution setting a two-year presidential term limit and providing for direct elections, suspended the semi-formal system of bribes and initiated construction on the nation's first railroad, linking the town of La Vega
Concepción de La Vega
La Vega, or Concepción de La Vega is the largest city and municipality of the central Dominican Republic and the third of the whole country...

 with the port of Sánchez
Sánchez, Dominican Republic
Sánchez, Dominican Republic is a Dominican municipality in the Samaná province, on the south coast of the peninsula of Samaná.-Population:The municipality has a total population of 26,505: 13,436 men and 13,069 women...

 on Samaná Bay.

The Ten Years' War
Ten Years' War
The Ten Years' War , also known as the Great War and the War of '68, began on October 10, 1868 when sugar mill owner Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and his followers proclaimed Cuba's independence from Spain...

 in Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 brought Cuban sugar planters to the country in search of new lands and security from the insurrection that freed their slaves and destroyed their property. Most settled in the southeastern coastal plain, and, with assistance from Luperón’s government, built the nation's first mechanized sugar mills. They were later joined by Italians, Germans, Puerto Ricans and Americans in forming the nucleus of the Dominican sugar bourgeoisie, marrying into prominent families to solidify their social position. Disruptions in global production caused by the Ten Years' War, the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 allowed the Dominican Republic to become a major sugar exporter. Over the following two decades, sugar surpassed tobacco as the leading export, with the former fishing hamlets of San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the Dominican Republic.-Demographics:...

 and La Romana transformed into thriving ports. To meet their need for better transportation, over 300 miles of private rail-lines were built by and serving the sugar plantations by 1897. An 1884 slump in prices led to a wage freeze, and a subsequent labor shortage was filled by migrant workers from the Leeward Islands
Leeward Islands
The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the West Indies. They are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean...

—the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla
Anguilla is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin...

, and Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...

 (referred to by Dominicans as cocolo
Cocolo is a slang term common in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean used sometimes to refer to non-Hispanic African descendants...

s). These English-speaking blacks were often victims of racism, but many remained in the country, finding work as stevedore
Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country....

s and in railroad construction and sugar refineries.

Ulises Heureaux and U.S. protectorate

Allying with the emerging sugar interests, the dictatorship of General Ulises Heureaux
Ulises Heureaux
Ulises Heureaux Lebert was president of the Dominican Republic from 1 September 1882 to 1 September 1883, from 6 January to 27 February 1887 and again from 30 April 1889 until his assassination, maintaining power between his terms.-Early life:Heureaux, affectionately known as Lilís, was born in...

, who was popularly known as Lilís, brought unprecedented stability to the island through iron-fisted rule that lasted almost two decades. The son of a Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

an father and a mother from St. Thomas, Lilís was distinguished by his blackness from most Dominican political leaders, with the exception of Luperón. He served as President 1882–1883, 1887, and 1889–1899, wielding power through a series of puppet presidents when not occupying the office. Incorporating both Rojos and Azules
Los Bolos
Los Bolos or , was an old Dominican political party from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. Ulises Heureaux and Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra were the main leaders of this party, and were oppossed to Los Coludos or Red Party, led by Horacio VásquezThe name of the party came from the...

into his government, he developed an extensive network of spies and informants to crush potential opposition. His government undertook a number of major infrastructure projects, including the electrification of Santo Domingo, the beginning of telephone and telegraph service, the construction of a bridge over the Ozama River
Ozama River
The Ozama River in the Dominican Republic can trace its source to the Loma Siete Cabezas in the Sierra de Yamasá close to Villa Altagracia....

, and the completion of a single-track railroad linking Santiago and Puerto Plata, financed by the Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

-based Westendorp Co.

Lilís's dictatorship was dependent upon heavy borrowing from European and American banks to enrich himself, stabilize the existing debt, strengthen the bribe system, pay for the army, finance infrastructural development and help set up sugar mills. However, sugar prices underwent a steep decline in the last two decades of the 19th century. When the Westendorp Co. went bankrupt in 1893, he was forced to mortgage the nation's customs fees, the main source of government revenues, to a New York financial firm called the San Domingo Improvement Co. (SDIC), which took over its railroad contracts and the claims of its European bondholders in exchange for two loans, one of $1.2 million and the other of £2 million. As the growing public debt made it impossible to maintain his political machine, Heureaux relied on secret loans from the SDIC, sugar planters and local merchants. In 1897, with his government virtually bankrupt, Lilís printed five million uninsured pesos, known as papeletas de Lilís, ruining most Dominican merchants and inspiring a conspiracy that ended in his death. In 1899, when Lilís was assassinated by the Cibao tobacco merchants whom he had been begging for a loan, the national debt was over $35 million, fifteen times the annual budget.

The six years after Lilís's death witnessed four revolutions and five different presidents. The Cibao politicians who had conspired against Heureaux—Juan Isidro Jimenes
Juan Isidro Jimenes
Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra was a Dominican political figure. He served as the president of the Dominican Republic between 15 November 1899 and 2 May 1902, and again between 5 December 1914 and 7 May 1916....

, the nation's wealthiest tobacco planter, and General Horacio Vásquez
Horacio Vásquez
Felipe Horacio Vásquez Lajara was a Dominican general and political figure. He served as the acting president of the Dominican Republic in 1899, and again between 1902 and 1903. Supporters of Vásquez were known as Horacistas, as opposed to Jimenistas, supporters of Vásquez's main rival, Juan...

—after being named President and Vice-President, quickly fell out over the division of spoils among their supporters, the Jimenistas and Horacistas. Troops loyal to Vásquez overthrew Jimenes in 1903, but Vásquez was deposed by Jimenista General Alejandro Woss y Gil
Alejandro Woss y Gil
Alejandro Woss y Gil was a Dominican politician and military figure. He was born in El Seibo on May 5, 1856. His parents were Carlos Woss and María Linares. At young age he was sent Santiago de los Caballeros to live with his uncle Gen...

, who seized power for himself. The Jimenistas toppled his government, but their leader, Carlos Morales
Carlos Morales
Carlos Adrián Morales Higuera is a Mexican soccer player. He currently plays for Santos Laguna in the Mexican First Division...

, refused to return power to Jimenes, allying with the Horacistas, and he soon faced a new revolt by his betrayed Jimenista allies.

With the nation on the brink of defaulting, France, Germany, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 sent warships to Santo Domingo to press the claims of their nationals. In order to preempt military intervention, United States president Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 introduced the Roosevelt Corollary
Roosevelt Corollary
-Background:In late 1902, Britain, Germany, and Italy implemented a naval blockade of several months against Venezuela because of President Cipriano Castro's refusal to pay foreign debts and damages suffered by European citizens in a recent Venezuelan civil war. The incident was called the...

 to the Monroe Doctrine, declaring that the United States would assume responsibility for ensuring that the nations of Latin America met their financial obligations. In January 1905, under this corollary, the United States assumed administration of the Dominican Republic's customs. Under the terms of this agreement, a Receiver-General, appointed by the U.S. President, kept 55% of total revenues to pay off foreign claimants, while remitting 45% to the Dominican government. After two years, the nation's external debt was reduced from $40 million to $17 million. In 1907, this agreement was converted into a treaty, transferring control over customs receivership to the U.S. Bureau of Insular Affairs
Bureau of Insular Affairs
The Bureau of Insular Affairs was a division of the United States War Department that oversaw United States administration of certain territories from 1902 until 1939....

 and providing a loan of $20 million from a New York bank as payment for outstanding claims, making the United States the Dominican Republic's only foreign creditor.

In 1906, Morales resigned, and Horacista vice-president Ramon Cáceres
Ramón Cáceres
Ramón Arturo Cáceres Vasquez was the 31st president of the Dominican Republic . Serving as vice president under Carlos Felipe Morales, Cáceres assumed the office in 1906...

 became President. After suppressing a rebellion in the northwest by Jimenista General Desiderio Arias, his government brought political stability and renewed economic growth, aided by new American investment in sugar industry. However, his assassination in 1911, for which Morales and Arias were at least indirectly responsible, once again plunged the republic into chaos. For two months, executive power was held by a civilian junta dominated by the chief of the army, General Alfredo Victoria. The surplus of more than 4 million pesos left by Cáceres was quickly spent to suppress a series of insurrections. He forced Congress to elect his uncle, Eladio Victoria
Eladio Victoria
Eladio Victoria y Victoria was a Dominican politician. He served as the provisional president of the Dominican Republic from December 5, 1911 until November 30, 1912.-Reference:...

, as President, but the latter was soon replaced by the neutral Archbishop Adolfo Nouel. After four months, Nouel resigned, and was succeeded by Horacista Congressman José Bordas Valdez, who aligned with Arias and the Jimenistas to maintain power. In 1913, Vásquez returned from exile in Puerto Rico to lead a new rebellion. In June 1914 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 issued an ultimatum for the two sides to end hostilities and agree on a new president, or have the United States impose one. After the provisional presidency of Ramón Báez Machado, Jimenes was elected in October, and soon faced new demands, including the appointment of an American director of public works and financial advisor and the creation of a new military force commanded by U.S. officers. The Dominican Congress rejected these demands and began impeachment proceedings against Jimenes. The United States occupied Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 in July 1915, with the implicit threat that the Dominican Republic might be next. Jimenes's Minister of War Desiderio Arias staged a coup d'état in April 1916, providing a pretext for the United States to occupy the Dominican Republic.

United States occupation

United States Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 landed in Santo Domingo on May 15, 1916. Prior to their landing, Jimenes resigned, refusing to exercise an office 'regained with foreign bullets'. On June 1, Marines occupied Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata, and, after a brief campaign, took Arias's stronghold Santiago by the beginning of July. The Dominican Congress elected Dr. Francisco Henríquez y Carvajal
Francisco Henríquez y Carvajal
Francisco Hilario Henríquez y Carvajal was a doctor, lawyer, writer, educator and politician from the Dominican Republic. He served as President in 1916. He married Salomé Ureña. He had 4 children, Pedro, Francisco, Max, and Camila....

 as President, but in November, after he refused to meet the U.S. demands, Wilson announced the imposition of a U.S. military government, with Rear Admiral
Rear admiral (United States)
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. The uniformed services of the United States are unique in having two grades of rear admirals.- Rear admiral :...

 Harry Shepard Knapp
Harry Shepard Knapp
Harry Shepard Knapp was a Vice Admiral of the United States Navy, Military Governor of Santo Domingo, and Military Representative of the United States in Haiti.-Biography:...

 as Military Governor. The American military government implemented many of the institutional reforms carried out in the United States during the Progressive Era
Progressive Era
The Progressive Era in the United States was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political...

, including reorganization of the tax system, accounting and administration, expansion of primary education, the creation of a nation-wide police force to unify the country, and the construction of a national system of roads, including a highway linking Santiago to Santo Domingo.

Despite the reforms, virtually all Dominicans resented the loss of their sovereignty to foreigners, few of whom spoke Spanish or displayed much real concern for the nation's welfare, and the military government, unable to win the backing of any prominent Dominican political leaders, imposed strict censorship laws and imprisoned critics of the occupation. In 1920, U.S. authorities enacted a Land Registration Act, which broke up the terrenos comuneros and dispossessed thousands of peasants who lacked formal titles to the lands they occupied, while legalizing false titles held by the sugar companies. In the southeast, dispossessed peasants formed armed bands, called gavilleros, waging a guerilla war that lasted the duration of the occupation, with most of the fighting in Hato Mayor
Hato Mayor
Hato Mayor is a province of the Dominican Republic. The province was split from El Seibo in 1984.-Municipalities and municipal districts:The province as of June 20, 2006 is divided into the following municipalities and municipal districts within them:*El Valle*Hato Mayor del Rey**Guayabo Dulce...

 and El Seibo
El Seibo
El Seibo , alternatively spelt El Seybo, is a province of the Dominican Republic. Before 1992 it included what is now Hato Mayor province.-Municipalities and municipal districts:...

. At any given time, the Marines faced eight to twelve gavilleros, each composed of several hundred followers. The guerrillas benefited from a superior knowledge of the terrain and the support of the local population, forcing the Marines to rely on increasingly brutal counterinsurgency methods. However, rivalries between various gavilleros often led them to fight against one another, and even cooperate with occupation authorities. In addition, cultural schisms between the campesinos (i.e. rural people, or peasants) and city dwellers prevented the guerillas from cooperating with the urban middle-class nationalist movement. In the San Juan valley, near the border with Haïti, followers of a Vodu faith healer named Liborio resisted the occupation and aided the Haitian cacos in their war against the Americans, until his death in 1922. The principal legacy of the occupation was the creation of a National Police Force, used by the Marines to help fight against the various guerillas, and later the main vehicle for the rise of Rafael Trujillo.

In what was referred to as la danza de los millones, with the destruction of European sugar-beet farms during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 sugar prices rose to their highest level in history, from $5.50 in 1914 to $22.50 per pound in 1920. Dominican sugar exports increased from 122,642 tons in 1916 to 158,803 tons in 1920, earning a record $45.3 million. However, European beet sugar production quickly recovered, which, coupled with the growth of global sugar cane production, glutted the world market, causing prices to plummet to only $2.00 by the end of 1921. This crisis drove many of the local sugar planters into bankruptcy, allowing large U.S. conglomerates to dominate the sugar industry. By 1926, only twenty-one major estates remained, occupying an estimated 520000 acres (2,104.4 km²). Of these, twelve U.S.-owned companies owned more than 81% of this total area. While the foreign planters who had built the sugar industry integrated into Dominican society, these corporations expatriated their profits to the United States. As prices declined, sugar estates increasingly relied on Haitian laborers. This was facilitated by the military government's introduction of regulated contract labor, the growth of sugar production in the southwest, near the Haitian border, and a series of strikes by cocolo cane cutters organized by the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

In the 1920 United States presidential election Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 candidate Warren Harding criticized the occupation and promised eventual U.S. withdrawal. While Jimenes and Vásquez sought concessions from the United States, the collapse of sugar prices discredited the military government and gave rise to a new nationalist political organization, the Dominican National Union, led by Dr. Henríquez from exile in Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

, Cuba, which demanded unconditional withdrawal. They formed alliances with frustrated nationalists in Puerto Rico and Cuba, as well as critics of the occupation in the United States itself, most notably The Nation
The Nation
The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...

and the Haiti-San Domingo Independence Society. In May 1922, a Dominican lawyer, Francisco Peynado, went to Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 and negotiated what became known as the Hughes-Peynado Plan. It stipulated immediate establishment of a provisional government pending elections, approval of all laws enacted by the U.S. military government, and the continuation of the 1907 treaty until all the Dominican Republic's foreign debts had been settled. On October 1, Juan Bautista Vicini, the son of a wealthy Italian immigrant sugar planter, was named provisional president, and the process of U.S. withdrawal began.


The occupation ended in 1924, with a democratically elected government under president Vásquez. The Vásquez administration brought great social and economic prosperity to the country and respected political and civil rights. Rising export commodity prices and government borrowing allowed the funding of public works projects and the expansion and modernization of Santo Domingo.

Though considered to be a relatively principled man, Vásquez had risen amid many years of political infighting. In a move directed against his chief opponent Federico Velasquez, in 1927 Vásquez agreed to have his term extended from four to six years. The change was approved by the Dominican Congress, but was of debatable legality; "its enactment effectively invalidated the constitution of 1924 that Vásquez had previously sworn to uphold." Vásquez also removed the prohibition against presidential reelection, and postulated himself for another term in elections to be held in May 1930. However, his actions had by then led to doubts that the contest could be fair. Furthermore, these elections took place amid economic problems, as the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 had dropped sugar prices to less than one dollar per pound.

In February, a revolution was proclaimed in Santiago by a lawyer named Rafael Estrella Ureña
Rafael Estrella Ureña
Rafael Estrella Ureña Rafael Estrella Ureña Rafael Estrella Ureña (born Santiago de los Caballeros, (November 10, 1889 - May 25, 1935) was a Dominican politician. He served as the president of the Dominican Republic from February 23, 1930 until August 16, 1930.-Reference:...

. When the commander of the Guardia Nacional Dominicana (the new designation of the armed force created under the Occupation), Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, ordered his troops to remain in their barracks, the sick and aging Vásquez was forced into exile and Estrella proclaimed provisional president. In May, Trujillo was elected with 95% of the vote, having used the army to harass and intimidate electoral personnel and potential opponents. After his inauguration in August, at his request, the Dominican Congress proclaimed the beginning of the 'Era of Trujillo'.

The Era of Trujillo

Trujillo established absolute political control, while promoting economic development—from which mainly he and his supporters benefitted—and severe repression of domestic human rights. Trujillo treated his political party, El Partido Dominicano (The Dominican Party), as a rubber-stamp for his decisions. The true source of his power was the Guardia Nacional—larger, better armed, and more centrally controlled than any military force in the nation's history. By disbanding the regional militias, the Marines eliminated the main source of potential opposition, giving the Guard "a virtual monopoly on power". Trujillo's regime oversaw the expansion of the Guard into one of the largest military forces in Latin America; by 1940, Dominican military spending was 21% of the national budget. At the same time, he developed an elaborate system of espionage agencies. By the late 1950s, there were at least seven categories of intelligence agencies, spying on each other as well as the public. All citizens were required to carry identification cards and good-conduct passes from the secret police. Obsessed with adulation, Trujillo promoted an extravagant cult of personality. When a hurricane struck Santo Domingo in 1930, killing over 3,000 people, he rebuilt the city and renamed it Ciudad Trujillo: "Trujillo City"; he also renamed the country's and the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte is the highest peak in all the Caribbean islands. It lies in the Cordillera Central range, the greatest of the Dominican Republic's mountain chains. The Cordillera Central extends from the plains between San Cristóbal and Baní to the northwestern peninsula of Haiti, where it is known as...

 (Duarte Peak), Pico Trujillo. Over 1,800 statues of Trujillo were built, and all public works projects were required to have a plaque with the inscription 'Era of Trujillo, Benefactor of the Fatherland'.

As sugar estates turned to Haiti for seasonal migrant labor, increasing numbers settled in the Dominican Republic permanently. The census of 1920, conducted by the U.S. occupation government, gave a total of 28,258 Haitians living in the country; by 1935 there were 52,657.

In 1937, Trujillo ordered the massacre of 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians, the alleged justification being Haiti's support for Dominican exiles plotting to overthrow his regime. This event later became known as the Parsley Massacre
Parsley Massacre
In October 1937, Dominican President Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of the Haitian population living in the borderlands with Haiti. The violence resulted in the killing of 20,000On October 2, 1937, Trujillo had ordered 20,000 Haitian cane workers executed because they could not roll the "R"...

. The massacre was met with international criticism.
The killing was the result of a new policy which Trujillo called the 'Dominicanisation of the frontier'. Place names along the border were changed from Creole and French to Spanish, the practice of Voodoo was outlawed, quotas were imposed on the percentage of foreign workers that companies could hire, and a law was passed preventing Haitian workers from remaining after the sugar harvest.

Although Trujillo sought to emulate Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

, he welcomed Spanish Republican refugees following the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. During the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 in the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Dominican Republic took in many Jews fleeing Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 who had been refused entry by other countries. These decisions arose from a policy of blanquismo, closely connected with anti-Haitian xenophobia, which sought to add more whites to the Dominican population by promoting immigration from Europe. As part of the Good Neighbor Policy
Good Neighbor policy
The Good Neighbor policy was the foreign policy of the administration of United States President Franklin Roosevelt toward the countries of Latin America. Its main principle was that of non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Latin America...

, in 1940, the U.S. State Department signed a treaty with Trujillo relinquishing control over the nation's customs. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 Trujillo followed the United States in declaring war on the Axis powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

, even though he had openly professed admiration for Hitler and Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

. During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, he maintained close ties to the United States, declaring himself the world's 'Number One Anticommunist' and becoming the first Latin American President to sign a Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States.

Trujillo and his family established a near-monopoly over the national economy. By the time of his death, he had accumulated a fortune of around $800 million; he and his family owned 50–60 percent of the arable land, some 700000 acres (2,832.8 km²), and Trujillo-owned businesses accounted for 80% of the commercial activity in the capital. He exploited nationalist sentiment to purchase most of the nation's sugar plantations and refineries from U.S. corporations; operated monopolies on salt, rice, milk, cement, tobacco, coffee, and insurance; owned two large banks, several hotels, port facilities, an airline and shipping line; deducted 10% of all public employees' salaries (ostensibly for his party); and received a portion of prostitution revenues. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 brought increased demand for Dominican exports, and the 1940s and early 1950s witnessed economic growth and considerable expansion of the national infrastructure. During this period, the capital city was transformed from merely an administrative center to the national center of shipping and industry, although 'it was hardly coincidental that new roads often led to Trujillo's plantations and factories, and new harbors benefited Trujillo's shipping and export enterprises.'

Mismanagement and corruption resulted in major economic problems. By the end of the 1950s, the economy was deteriorating because of a combination of overspending on a festival to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the regime, overspending to purchase privately owned sugar mills and electricity plants, and a decision to make a major investment in state sugar production that proved economically unsuccessful. In 1956, Trujillo's agents in New York murdered Jesús María de Galíndez, a Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

 exile who had worked for Trujillo but who later denounced the Trujillo regime and caused public opinion in the United States to turn against Trujillo. In August 1960, the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 (OAS) imposed diplomatic sanctions against the Dominican Republic as a result of Trujillo's complicity in an attempt to assassinate President Rómulo Betancourt
Rómulo Betancourt
Rómulo Ernesto Betancourt Bello , known as "The Father of Venezuelan Democracy", was President of Venezuela from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1959 to 1964, as well as leader of Accion Democratica, Venezuela's dominant political party in the 20th century...

 of Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...


A group of Dominican dissidents assassinated Trujillo in a car chase on the way to his country villa near San Cristóbal
San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic
San Cristóbal is a municipality and the capital of the San Cristóbal province in the Dominican Republic. Within the municipality there is one municipal district : Hato Damas.-Sectors:*5 de abril*Canastica*El Pomier...

 on May 30, 1961.

The sanctions remained in force after Trujillo's assassination. His son Ramfis
Ramfis Trujillo
Lieutenant General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Martínez , better known as Ramfis Trujillo, was the son of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina and María Martínez...

 assumed de facto control, but was deposed by his two uncles after a dispute over potential liberalization of the regime. In November 1961, the Trujillo family was forced into exile, fleeing to France, and the heretofore puppet-president Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Antonio Balaguer Ricardo was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1960 to 1962, from 1966 to 1978, and again from 1986 to 1996.-Early life and introduction to politics:...

 assumed effective power.

The Post-Trujillo era

At the insistence of the United States, Balaguer was forced to share power with a seven-member Council of State, established on January 1, 1962, and including moderate members of the opposition. OAS sanctions were lifted January 4, and, after an attempted coup, Balaguer resigned and went into exile on January 16. The reorganized Council of State, under President Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly
Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly
Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly Fondeur was a lawyer, scholar, diplomat, and, from 1962 until 1963, thePresident of the Dominican Republic.-Early life:...

 headed the Dominican government until elections could be held. These elections, in December 1962, were won by Juan Bosch
Juan Bosch
Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño was a politician, historian, short story writer, essayist, educator, and the first cleanly elected president of the Dominican Republic for a brief time in 1963. Previously, he had been the leader of the Dominican opposition in exile to the dictatorial regime of Rafael...

, a scholar and poet who had founded the opposition Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (Dominican Revolutionary Party
Dominican Revolutionary Party
The Dominican Revolutionary Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic. It has a moderate centrist position, social democratic in name. The party's distinctive color is white....

, or PRD) in exile, during the Trujillo years. His leftist policies, including land redistribution, nationalization of certain foreign holdings, and attempts to bring the military under civilian control, antagonized the military officer corps, the Catholic hierarchy, and the upper-class, who feared 'another Cuba'. In September 1963 Bosch was overthrown by a right-wing military coup led by Colonel Elías Wessin and was replaced by a three-man military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

. Bosch went into exile to Puerto Rico.

Afterwards a supposedly civilian triumvirate established a de facto dictatorship until April 16, 1965, when growing dissatisfaction generated another military rebellion on April 24, 1965 that demanded Bosch's restoration. The insurgents, reformist officers and civilian combatants loyal to Bosch commanded by Colonel Francisco Caamaño
Francisco Caamaño
Col. Francisco Alberto Caamaño Deñó [Cah-MAH-nyoh Deh-NYOH] was a Dominican soldier and politician....

, and who called themselves the Constitutionalists, staged a coup, seizing the national palace. Immediately, conservative military forces, led by Wessin and calling themselves Loyalists, struck back with tank assaults and aerial bombings against Santo Domingo.

On April 28, these anti-Bosch army elements requested U.S. military intervention and U.S. forces landed, ostensibly to protect U.S. citizens and to evacuate U.S. and other foreign nationals. In what was initially known as Operation Power Pack
Operation Power Pack
The second United States occupation of the Dominican Republic began when the United States Marines Corps entered Santo Domingo on April 28, 1965. They were later joined by most of the United States Army's 82nd Airborne Division and its parent XVIIIth Airborne Corps...

 ultimately 23,000 U.S. troops were ordered to the Dominican Republic.

In June 1966, Balaguer, leader of the Reformist Party (which later became the Social Christian Reformist Party
Social Christian Reformist Party
The Social Christian Reformist Party is a conservative, christian democratic, economic liberal and a populist party in the Dominican Republic formed by the union of the Partido Reformista and the Partido Revolucionario Social Cristiano...

 (PRSC)), was elected and then re-elected to office in May 1970 and May 1974, both times after the major opposition parties withdrew late in the campaign because of the high degree of violence by pro-government groups. On November 28, 1966 a constitution was created, signed, and put into use. The constitution stated that a president was elected to a four-year term. If there was a close election there would be a second round of voting to decide the winner. The voting age was eighteen, but married people under eighteen could also vote. Balaguer led the Dominican Republic through a thorough economic restructuring, based on opening the country to foreign investment while protecting state-owned industries and certain private interests. This distorted, dependent development model produced uneven results. For most of Balaguer's first nine years in office the country experienced high growth rates (e.g., an average GDP growth rate of 9.4 percent between 1970 and 1975), to the extent that people talked about the "Dominican miracle". Foreign, mostly U.S. investment, as well as foreign aid, flowed into the country; sugar, then the country's main export product, enjoyed good prices in the international market; and tourism grew tremendously.

However, this excellent macroeconomic performance was not accompanied by an equitable distribution of wealth. While a group of new millionaires flourished during Balaguer's administrations, the poor simply became poorer. Morever, the poor were commonly the target of state repression, and their socioeconomic claims were labeled 'communist' and dealt with accordingly by the state security apparatus. In the May 1978 election, Balaguer was defeated in his bid for a fourth successive term by Antonio Guzmán Fernández
Antonio Guzmán Fernández
Silvestre Antonio Guzmán Fernández was a Dominican businessman and a politician. He was the 46th President of the Dominican Republic, from 1978 to 1982.- Early life :Antonio Guzmán was born in the town of La Vega...

 of the PRD. Subsequently, he ordered troops to storm the election centre and destroy ballot boxes, declaring himself the victor. U.S. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 refused to recognize Balaguer's claim, and, faced with the loss of foreign aid, Balaguer stood down. Guzmán's inauguration on August 16 marked the country's first peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to another. By the late 1970s, economic expansion slowed considerably as sugar prices declined and oil prices rose. Rising inflation and unemployment diminished support for the government and helped trigger a wave of mass emigration from the Dominican Republic to New York, coming on the heels of the similar migration of Puerto Ricans
Puerto Rican people
A Puerto Rican is a person who was born in Puerto Rico.Puerto Ricans born and raised in the continental United States are also sometimes referred to as Puerto Ricans, although they were not born in Puerto Rico...

 in the preceding decades.

Elections were again held in 1982. Salvador Jorge Blanco
Salvador Jorge Blanco
José Salvador Omar Jorge Blanco was a politician, lawyer and a writer. He was the 48th President of the Dominican Republic, from 1982 –1986. He was a Senator running for the PRD party...

 of the Dominican Revolutionary Party defeated Bosch and a resurgent Balaguer. Balaguer completed his return to power in 1986 when he won the Presidency again and remained in office for the next ten years. Elections in 1990 were marked by violence and suspected electoral fraud. The 1994 election too saw widespread pre-election violence, often aimed at intimidating members of the opposition. Balaguer won in 1994 but most observers felt the election had been stolen. Under pressure from the United States, Balaguer agreed to hold new elections in 1996. He himself would not run.


In 1996, U.S.-raised Leonel Fernández Reyna of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana
Dominican Liberation Party
The Dominican Liberation Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic, and has a centrist position.The party has been elected into office thrice now with Leonel Fernández as President of the Dominican Republic in the 1996, 2004 and 2008 elections, though losing in 2000...

(Dominican Liberaiton Party) of Bosch's secured more than 51% of the vote, through an alliance with Balaguer. The first item on the president's agenda was the partial sale of some state-owned enterprises. Fernández was praised for ending decades of isolationism and improving ties with other Caribbean countries, but he was criticized for not fighting corruption or alleviating the poverty that affects 60% of the population.

In May 2000 the center-left Hipólito Mejía
Hipólito Mejía
Rafael Hipólito Mejía Domínguez is a Dominican politician and former President of the Dominican Republic...

 of the PRD was elected president amid popular discontent over power outages in the recently privatized electric industry. His presidency saw major inflation and instability of the peso. During his time as president, the relatively stable unit of currency fell from ~ 16 Dominican Peso
Dominican peso
The Dominican peso, also called peso oro is the currency of the Dominican Republic. Its symbol is "$", with "RD$" used when distinction from other pesos is required; its ISO 4217 code is "DOP". Each peso is divided into 100 centavos , for which the ¢ symbol is used...

s to 1 United States Dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 to ~ 60 DOP to 1 USD, and was in the 50s to a dollar when he left office. In the May 2004 presidential elections he was defeated by former president Leonel Fernández
Leonel Fernández
Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna is a Dominican lawyer, academic, and the current President of the Dominican Republic since 2004. He held the same office from 1996 to 2000...

. Fernández instituted austerity measures to deflate the peso and rescue the country from its economic crisis, and in the first half of 2006, the economy grew 11.7%. The peso is currently at the exchange rate of ~36 DOP to 1 USD.

Over the last three decades, remittances
A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country. Note that in 19th century usage a remittance man was someone exiled overseas and sent an allowance on condition that he not return home....

 (remesas) from Dominicans living abroad, mainly in the United States, have become increasingly important to the economy. From 1990 to 2000, the Dominican population of the U.S. doubled in size, from 520,121 in 1990 to 1,041,910, two-thirds of whom were born in the Dominican Republic
itself. More than half of all Dominican Americans live in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, with the largest concentration in the neighborhood of Washington Heights
Washington Heights, Manhattan
Washington Heights is a New York City neighborhood in the northern reaches of the borough of Manhattan. It is named for Fort Washington, a fortification constructed at the highest point on Manhattan island by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, to defend the area from the...

 in northern Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

. Over the past decade, the Dominican Republic has become the largest source of immigration to New York City, and today the metropolitan area of New York
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...

 has a larger Dominican population than any city except Santo Domingo. Dominican communities have also developed in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 (particularly Paterson
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...

), Miami, Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

, and Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States on the Merrimack River. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 76,377. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. It and Salem are...

. In addition, tens of thousands of Dominicans and their descendants live in Puerto Rico. Many Dominicans arrive in Puerto Rico illegally by sea across the Mona Passage
Mona Passage
The Mona Passage is a strait that separates the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The Mona Passage connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and is an important shipping route between the Atlantic and the Panama Canal....

, some staying and some moving on to the mainland U.S. (See Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico
Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico
There's been movement of people from the territory of the Dominican Republic to its eastern neighbor Puerto Rico, and vice versa, since colonial times, but Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico has risen sharply in recent decades, with tens of thousands of arrivals since 1961...

.) Dominicans living abroad sent an estimated $3 billion in remittances to relatives at home, in 2006. In 1997, a new law took effect, allowing Dominicans living abroad to retain their citizenship and vote in Presidential elections. President Fernández, who grew up in New York, was the principal beneficiary of this law.

The Dominican Republic was involved in the US-led coalition in Iraq, as part of the Spain-led Latin-American Plus Ultra Brigade
Plus Ultra Brigade
The Plus Ultra Brigade, or Brigada Hispanoamericana, was a military contingent of mixed personnel from Spain , the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua , which was commissioned to support coalition troops in the Iraq War. The deployment started in July 2003...

. But in 2004, the nation pulled its 300 or so troops out of Iraq.

See also

  • History of the Americas
    History of the Americas
    The history of the Americas is the collective history of the American landmass, which includes North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. It begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an Ice Age...

  • History of the Caribbean
    History of the Caribbean
    The history of the Caribbean reveals the significant role the region played in the colonial struggles of the European powers since the 15th century. In the 20th century the Caribbean was again important during World War II, in decolonization wave in the post-war period, and in the tension between...

  • History of Haiti
    History of Haiti
    The recorded history of Haiti began on December 5, 1492 when the European navigator Christopher Columbus happened upon a large island in the region of the western Atlantic Ocean that later came to be known as the Caribbean. It was inhabited by the Taíno, an Arawakan people, who variously called...

  • History of Latin America
    History of Latin America
    Latin America refers to countries in the Americas where Romance languages are spoken. This definition, however, is not meant to include Canada, in spite of its large French-speaking population....

  • History of North America
    History of North America
    The history of North America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's northern hemisphere and western hemisphere....

  • List of Presidents of the Dominican Republic
  • Politics of the Dominican Republic
    Politics of the Dominican Republic
    Government of the Dominican Republic takes place in a framework of a representative democracy, whereby the President of the Dominican Republic is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in...

  • Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

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