Dominican Republic History
Republic History Facts.
remains of Christopher Columbus.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HISTORY.
The island of
Hispaniola, of which the Dominican Republic forms the eastern
two-thirds and Haiti the remainder, was originally occupied by
Taínos, an Arawak-speaking people who called the island
Quisqueya (or Kiskeya).
welcomed Christopher Columbus when he first arrived on
December 5, 1492 and on his second voyage in 1493 when he founded
the first Spanish colony in the New World. Repression and disease
reduced the Taíno population from about 1 million to about
500 in 50 years.
To ensure adequate
labor for plantations, the Spanish brought African slaves to the
island beginning in 1503.
First Cathedral of the
In the next century,
French settlers occupied the western end of the island, which
Spain ceded to France in 1697, and which, in 1804, became the
Republic of Haiti. The French held on in the eastern part of the
island, until defeated by the Spanish inhabitants at the battle
of Palo Hincado on November 7, 1808 and the final capitulation of
the besieged Santo Domingo on July 9, 1809, with help from the
authorities showed little interest in their restored colony, and
the following period is recalled as La España Boba
–'The Era of Foolish Spain'.
In 1821 the
Spanish settlers declared an independent state, but Haitian
forces occupied the whole island just 9 weeks later and held it
for 22 years.
history First Constitution
Once more Dominican
Republic history was made; on February 27, 1844, independence was
declared from the Haitians.
This was the
culmination of a movement led by Juan Pablo Duarte, then
in exile, the hero of Dominican independence, and one of
The military forces
that drove the occupiers out were led by Pedro
Republic's first constitution was adopted on November 6,
It adopted a
presidential form of government with many liberal tendencies, but
it was marred by Article 210, imposed by Pedro Santana on
the constitutional assembly by force, which gave him the
privileges of a dictatorship until the war of independence was
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.
In 1861, during one of
his presidencies, Santana restored the Dominican Republic to
Spain. This move was widely rejected
and on August 16,
1863, a national war of "restoration" began. In 1865,
independence from Spain was restored after four years of colonial
the threat of European intervention, and ongoing internal
disorders led to a U.S. occupation in 1916 and the establishment
of a military government in the Dominican Republic.
The occupation ended
in 1924, with a democratically elected Dominican government under
president Horacio Vasquez (1924 - 1930).
Trujillo, a prominent army commander, ousted president
Horacio Vasquez and established absolute political
economic development from which mainly he and his supporters
benefitted and the result was severe repression of domestic human
rights. Mismanagement and corruption resulted in major economic
During the European
holocaust in the Second World War, the Dominican Republic
took in many Jews fleeing Hitler who had been refused
entry by other countries.
Dominican Republic history
In August 1960, the
Organization of American States (OAS)imposed diplomatic sanctions
against the Dominican Republic as a result of Trujillo's
complicity in an attempt to assassinate
Rómulo Betancourt of Venezuela.
These sanctions remained in force
after Trujillo's assassination in May 1961. In November 1961,
the Trujillo family was forced into exile, fleeing to
In January 1962, a
council of state with legislative and executive powers was
formed; it included moderate members of the
OAS sanctions were
lifted January 4, and, after the resignation ofPresident
Joaquín Balaguer on January 16, the council under
President Rafael Bonnelly headed the Dominican
In 1963, Juan
Bosch of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (Dominican
Revolutionary Party, or PRD) was inaugurated President, only to
be overthrown by a right-wing military coup in September
overthrow a supposedly civilian triumvirate established a de
facto dictatorship until April 24 1965, when another military
coup led to violence between military elements favoring the
return to government by Bosch and those who proposed a military
junta committed to early general elections.
On April 28, after
being requested by the anti-Bosch army elements, U.S. military
forces landed, officially to protect U.S. citizens and to
evacuate U.S. and other foreign nationals.
Additional U.S. forces
subsequently imposed political stability on the
President Balaguer /
Dominican Republic history
In June 1966,President
Balaguer, leader of the Reformist Party (now called the
Social Christian Reformist Party--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.
Balaguer led the Domincan Republic
through a thorough
economic restructuring, based on opening the country to foreign
invsetment while protecting state-owned
industries and certain
private interests. This distorted, dependent development model
produced uneven results. For most of
years in office the country experianced high growth rates (e.g.,
an average GDP growth rate of 9.4 percent
between 1970 - 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 and sugar (then the country's
main export product) also enjoyed good prices
in the international
market. However, this excellent macroeconomic performance was not
accompanied by an equitable
wealth. While a group of new millionaires flourished during
Balaguer's administrations, the poor simply became
Morever, the poor were
commonly the target of state repression, and their socioeconomic
claims were labeled "communist" and dealt with
appropriately by the state security apparatus.
Dominican history was
made in the May 1978 election, Balaguer was defeated in his bid
for a fourth successive term by Antonio Guzmán
Fernández of the PRD.
inauguration on August 16 marked the country's first peaceful
transfer of power from one freely elected president to
Continue Dominican Republic history.
of the capital today.
presidential candidate, Salvador Jorge Blanco, won the
1982 elections, and the PRD gained a majority in both houses of
In an attempt to cure
the ailing economy, the Jorge Blanco administration began to
implement economic adjustment and recovery policies, including an
austerity program in cooperation with the International Monetary
In April 1984, rising
prices of basic foodstuffs and uncertainty about austerity
measures led to riots in which an estimated one hundred people
were killed by the government's troops.
remains of the founding fathers.
Balaguer was returned
to the presidency with electoral victories in 1986 and 1990. Upon
taking office in 1986, Balaguer tried to reactivate the economy
through a public works construction program.
Nonetheless, by 1988,
the country slid into a 2-year economic depression, characterized
by high inflation (59.5 percent in 1989) and currency
devaluation. Economic difficulties, coupled with problems in the
delivery of basic services--including electricity, water, and
transportation--generated popular discontent that resulted in
frequent protests, occasionally violent, including a paralyzing
nationwide strike in June 1989.
In 1990, Balaguer
instituted a second set of economic reforms. After concluding an
IMF agreement, balancing the budget,and curtailing
inflation, the Dominican Republic was experiencing a period of
economic growth marked by moderate inflation, a balance in
external accounts, and a steadily increasing
The voting process in
1986 and 1990 was generally seen as fair, but allegations of
electoral board fraud tainted both victories.
The elections of 1994
were again marred by charges of fraud, this time amid documented
charges from the Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana
(Dominican Liberation Party, or PLD) that as many as
200,000 of its sympathizers had been disenfranchised and
prevented from voting.
Following a compromise
calling for constitutional and electoral reform, President
Balaguer assumed office for an abbreviated term.
prevented from running, the June 1996 presidential election was
won by Leonel Fernández Reyna of the PLD.
In May 2000 the
PRD's Hipólito Mejía was elected to a 4-year
term as president. In May 2004, Leonel Fernández
Reyna was again elected to a 4-year term as president and
inaugurated on August 16, 2004.
The Dominican Republic
was involved in the US led coalition in Iraq, but in 2004, the
nation pulled its troops out of Iraq.
We will continue to
add relevant information to the Dominican Republic history
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