History of Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is rich in culture, history and beauty. The walls and the cobble-stoned streets of its emblematic Colonial City bear witness to the richness of its past as the first city founded in the Americas. It was more than 500 years ago that the Dominican Republic began to write its history. The island was first inhabited by the Taino Indians, one of the most peaceful peoples of the continent, who lived through hunting, fishing and agriculture. Then on December 5, 1492, Admiral Christopher Columbus arrived on the island and named it Hispaniola, an act which determined the meeting of two cultures and which later made Santo Domingo the first city in the Americas. Towards the end of the XVII century, the French colonized the western part of the island. In 1795, Spain ceded the eastern part to France, leaving the island under French power. After having suffered dominion by the French, the colony returned to Spanish hands, until a group of men led by José Núñez de Cáceres proclaimed Ephemeral Independence in December 1821. But in January 1822, taking advantage of the military and economic weakness of the eastern part of the island, the Haitians invaded this territory and imposed their rule for 22 years. Then on February 27, 1844, the fight for independence was led by Juan Pablo Duarte and the new Dominican Republic was born.

Despite the cry for independence, on March 18, 1861 the republic was once again annexed by Spain until after the Restoration War, which was led by Gregorio Luperón in 1863. The resulting political unrest resulted in economic chaos. The arrangement of multiple loans from the United States and Europe allowed the Dominican government to deliver the administration and control of its customs to the United States in 1907, and in 1916 the first North American invasion of the country took place. Following the invasion, various unstable governments followed until the iron dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was established in 1930. He remained in power for 30 years until he was executed in 1961. Then a provisional government organized the first free elections, which in 1962 took the eminent politician and writer Juan Bosch to the presidency. He was overthrown seven months later, resulting in a civil war led by Francisco Alberto Caamaño and which would then culminate in the second North American invasion in 1965. In 1966, Joaquín Balaguer was elected and began 12 years of government that were characterized by political repression. In 1978, the country returned to the polls and Balaguer lost overwhelmingly, leaving the Dominican Revolutionary Party (the PRD) to assume power under Antonio Guzmán, which is how Dominican democracy began its path to power. In 1982, the PRD won again under the lead of Salvador Jorge Blanco. But in 1986, Balaguer once again gained the Presidency of the Government with a majority vote, remaining in power until 1996.

The 1996 election was won by Doctor Leonel Fernández of the Party for Dominican Liberation (PLD). Then in 2000, the PRD candidate Hipólito Mejía became president. In 2004, the people returned to the polls to give the PLD and Leonel Fernández victory, who once again began a new presidential term in 2008.

Main patriotic symbols of the Dominican Republic:

1. The Flag, conceived by Juan Pablo Duarte and made by Concepción Bona and María Trinidad Sánchez during the era of independence. It is the symbol that identifies us as a free and sovereign country. It was raised for the first time on February 27, 1844. The Dominican Constitution establishes that the national flag should include the colors ultramarine blue and vermillion red in cornered and alternated quarters in such a way that the blue is at the top of the flagpole, separated by a white cross, with a width that is the same as half the height of each quarter, and in the center featuring the coat of arms of the republic. The colors of our national flag have a particular meaning. The red represents the blood spilled by our liberators; the blue expresses our ideals on progress and liberty, and that God should protect the Dominican nation; and the cross is the symbol of the fight by our liberators to bequeath us a free homeland.

2. The Shield was created during the era of the proclamation of national independence and is the only one with the Sacred Bible in the center. From the beginning, the shield has undergone various changes as Dominican history can show more than 14 shields. In 1913, Casimiro Nemesio de Moya designed the current official country shield in force. In Article 96 of the Dominican Constitution, it is established that the shield will have the same colors as the national flag and be set out in the same way, in the center including the book of Gospels and opened at Saint John 8:32 which says “And the truth will set you free”, with a cross over the top, both emerging from a trophy made up of two spears and four national flags without shields, placed on either side; it would have a laurel branch on the left hand side and a palm leaf to the right; and it will be crowned by an ultramarine blue band which carries the motto: God, Country and Liberty. On the base there would be another band in vermillion red with the words “Dominican Republic”

3. The Anthem, which is an important symbol in Dominican history, was composed by Emilio Prud’Homme and the music is by José Reyes. It was sung for the first time in 1897, and officially since 1934. These are the words of our national anthem:


Brave men of Quisqueya
Let us sing with strong feeling,
And let us show the world
Our invincible, glorious banner.
Hail! the people who, strong and intrepid,
Launched into war to their death,
Under a warlike menace of death,
You broke your chains of slavery.
No country deserves to be free
If it is an indolent and servile slave;
If the call does not grow within,
Tempered by a virile heroism.
But the brave and indomitable Quisqueya
Will always hold its head up high;
For if it were a thousand times enslaved
It would a thousand times regain freedom.


If it were to be exposed to ruse and deceit
To the contempt of a true imposer,
The fields of Carreras, Beller are
where traces of glory are found.
Where on the summit of the heroic bastion,
The word of the free became flesh,
Where the genius of Sánchez and Duarte
Taught to be free or to die.
And if an unattended leader
the splendor, of these glorious events could ignore, of the war that was seen in Capotillo,
Wave the flag of fire.
And the fire that lets the proud lion
Of Castilla become stupefied,
Removes him from the glorious beaches
Where the crossed banner waves.


Compatriots, let us proudly
Show our face, from today prouder than ever;
That Quisqueya may be destroyed
but a slave again, never.
It is a sanctuary of love that every heart
In the fatherland feels alive;
And it is its invincible shield, the right;
And it is its motto: be free or die.
Freedom that still arises serenely
Victory in her triumphal chariot.
And the clarion of war still echoes
Proclaiming its immortal glory.
Freedom! That the echoes should shake
Whilst filled with noble anxiety
Our fields of glory repeat
Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

– Emilio Prud’Homme

4. The Fathers of the Fatherland, considered thus as they were the first to organize the fight for the independence of the country in 1844. These are Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Ramón Matías Mella.

5. The Constitution is also an important symbol of Dominican patriotism. Within it are registered the laws of the country. It was officially recognized on November 6, 1844, even though over the passage of the years it has undergone various changes.

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