Juan Pablo Duarte


Feliz dia de la Independencia Dominicana. Que viva mi gente! I found these walking around la zona colonial in SDQ back in November. 

If you know any Dominican people please do wish them a happy independence day. They will love you for it.

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

Los blancos, morenos, cobrizos, cruzados,
marchando serenos, unidos y osados,
la Patria salvemos de viles tiranos,
y al mundo mostremos que somos hermanos.

The white, the brown, the copper, the mixed,
marching calm, united and brave
let’s save the motherland from vile tyrants
and show the world that we are brothers.

—  Juan Pablo Duarte,  One of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic

Afro-Dominican History

In 1503, with the conquest and colonization of the island, the Spanish began to import large numbers of African slaves to replace the native labor, greatly reduced by wars, brutal working conditions and epidemics. About 80 or 90% of the native population died in the first century of the conquest. Meanwhile between 1492 and 1870 some 30,000 Africans were imported to the current Dominican territory to be devoted to sugar.

In 1503, arrived the first African slaves to the Española Island, mostly to the present Dominican Republic, since Spain had largely neglected the west of the island. This first slaves were Black “Ladinos”, i.e. born in Spain and Christianized and arrived as servants for the home of the island´s Spanish elite.

However, the number of slaves imported to the island was already sufficient for developed rebellions and escapes to the mountains by themselves. The rebels Africans lived with the indigenous in shelters away from urban centers. Even so, in 1510, were imported to the island others 250 Ladino slaves and in 1511, arrived others 5.000 African slaves to the shores of the island. In addition, with the establishment of the world’s first sugar mill on the Española island in 1516, the importation of African slaves greatly increased.

The slaves brought to Santo Domingo came from various parts of Africa and therefore belonged to different cultures. Although in the early days the slaves were Ladino, as traffic and intensified trade and colonial authorities demanded more slave labor for plantations and other housekeeping, were allowed introduction of black “bozales”, i.e. slaves imported directly from Africa. In 1522 took place on the island, the first major slave rebellion, rebellion led by 20 Muslims of Wolof origin, originating from Senegal, in an ingenio (sugar factory) of east of Santo Domingo island Many of the insurgents fled to the mountains and established what would become the first autonomous community African Maroon in America.

However, after the success of this revolt, slave revolts continued to emerge. So, emerged some leaders of African slaves, although already baptized by the Spanish, as is the case of Juan Vaquero, Diego de Guzmán and Diego del Campo. His rebellion led many slaves to flee their oppressors and establish many communities in the South West, North and East of the island, causing the first arrival of slaves, but free, in the current Haiti (remember that although this part of the island was also Spanish until 1697, when it was sold to France, had no Spanish people living in it).

This caused some concern among slaveholders and contributed to the Spanish emigration to other places. Thus, although sugarcane increased profitability in the island, the number of imported slaves who fled into it, continued to rise, mixing with Taíno indigenous of these regions. So, in 1530, Maroon bands already were considered dangerous to the Spanish colonists, so they had to carry large armed groups to travel outside the plantations and leaving the large part of the center and north of the island, very mountainous regions, where the Maroons lived (it was so, until 1654 with the conquest of Jamaica by Corsairs of British Admiral William Penn and general Robert Venables).

However, due to the discovery of precious metals in South America, the Spanish abandoned their migration to the island of Santo Domingo to emigrate to South America and Mexico in order to get rich, for they did not find much wealth in Santo Domingo. Thus, also abandoned the slave trade, that is, they stopped exporting slaves to the island. This led to the collapse of the colony in poverty. Anyway, during those years, slaves were forced to build a cathedral that in time became the most oldest in America. They build their monastery, first hospital and the Alcázar de Colón. In the 1540s, the Spanish authorities ordered the African slaves building a wall to defend the city from attacks by pirates who ravaged the islands. They also built the Puerta de las Lamentaciones (in Spanish: Gate of Mercy).

After 1700, with the arrival of new Spanish colonists, African slaves imported was renovated. In both plantations and isolated villages of runaways from east of the island, the population began to focus more on livestock and the importance of racial caste division was reduced, so that began to develop a mix between the Spanish colonists, African slaves and the natives of this part from Santo Domingo. This domain mixing together the social, cultural and economic European element will form the basis of national identity of Dominicans. It is estimated that the population of the colony in 1777 was 400,000, of which 100,000 were Europeans and Criollos, 60,000 African, 100.000 mestizo s, 60,000 Zambos and 100,000 mulatto.

At the end of the eighteenth century, arrived also to Spanish Santo Domingo, fugitive slaves from the French colony of the western part of the island, usually composed of black fugitives, escaped from the rigors of their masters, and that fed the Spanish colony since the time initial establishment of the French on the island. These slaves came directly from Africa, and in some cases they even form communities such as San Lorenzo de Los Mina, who is now district or sector of the city of Santo Domingo. Also, coming slaves from other parts of the West Indies, especially from the Lesser Antilles, dominated by French, English, Dutch, etc.

In 1801 Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture, who had occupied the east of Santo Domingo, abolished slavery in the place, as had happened in the west of the island, freeing about 40,000 slaves, and prompting most people who formed the elite of that part of the island flee to Cuba and Puerto Rico. However, when the Spanish recovered it, Spanish Santo Domingo re-established slavery in 1809.[8] During those years, the French governor Ferrand imported a second group of Haitian slaves, brought by in order to use them in founding the Puerto Napoleon (Samana), French colonial enclave. There was no running for the defeat of the French.

The abolition of the slavery was made in 1822, during the Haitian occupation of the Dominican territory, started in February, 1822. Between 1824, began to arrived African American freed people to Santo Domingo, benefiting from the favorable pro-African immigration policy of Haitian president Jean Pierre Boyer since 1822. This settlers were established in Puerto Plata Province and the Samaná Peninsula —then under Haitian administration. They were called Samaná Americans. Later, in 1844, two Afro Dominicans, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella, freed the country alongside with Juan Pablo Duarte, of Haitian domain.

More late, between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, was developed a traffic black workers from the British West Indies in the first third of this century to work in the sugar plantations of the east of the island, and whose descendants are known today with the name of Cocolos.

After, many Haitian people began to settle in the Dominican Republic, a migration that has continued until today.


The Atlantic slave trade involved nearly all of Africa’s west coast inhabitants to be forcibly taken to the new world. Most Dominican slaves tended to come from mostly the Kongo people of West-Central Africa (present-day Angola, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), along with the Igbo (originating from west from Nigeria), Yoruba, Akan and Mandinka tribes.

Others African ethnic groups arrived to Spanish Santo Domingo during the slavery´s period were: Wolof (imported from Senegal), Aja (also called Ararás in Santo Domingo and imported from Dahomey, current Benin), Ambundu (from the Kingdom of Ndongo, in north Angola), Bran (originating from Brong-Ahafo Region, west from Ghana), Fulbe, Kalabari (originating from slave port from Calabar, in Nigeria), Terranova (slaves bought probably in Porto-Novo, Benin), Zape (originating from Sierra Leone), Bambara and Biafada (this latter was originating from Guinea-Bissau) people.

The Wolof were imported to Spanish Santo Domingo from Senegal in the first half of the sixteenth century, until the import of this ethnic group was prohibited after his rebellion in 1522. Many of the slaves were also Ajas, usually taken in Whydah, Benin. The Ajas arrived in Santo Domingo, were well known for having made religious brotherhoods, integrated exclusively for them, as the call San Cosme and San Damian.

Unification of Hispaniola

Anonymous said:
What are your thoughts on the Haitian unification of both Haiti and Santo Domingo under Boyer? Why did it end in 1844?

Source: Wikipedia

Hello, and sorry for the late response. What you’re asking here is two separate questions, the former pertaining somewhat to opinion and the latter a complex but more historically-grounded question. The second question has been answered differently depending on ideological or nationalist biases. In short, the questions asked are quite complex and difficult to answer succinctly in a blog. That said, here is an attempt to answer those questions.

On the subject of Haitian unification of the island, it is important to remember Haiti’s precarious status in terms of international relations with European powers. Remember, Haiti was the sole independent state in the Caribbean, and the only place where slavery was abolished. France did not recognize Haitian sovereignty until after 1825, so various Haitian heads of state from Dessalines to Boyer supported large standing armies and built fortifications. Fearing an impending French invasion from the East, Haitian governments sought security by establishing control over the East.

Really, one can trace this back to Toussaint Louverture’s position as governor-general of Saint Domingue. Taking the East in 1801 as part of the Treaty of Basel, in which Spain ceded Santo Domingo to France in 1797, Toussaint Louverture promoted his brother, Paul, as the general overseeing the East. During the Leclerc Expedition, if Toussaint’s letters had not been intercepted, Paul Louverture would not have given Santo Domingo the the French forces, and the East could have occupied a greater role in the final years of the Haitian Revolution. Instead, what happened led to French control of Santo Domingo from 1801-1809, a situation that undoubtedly threatened Haitian sovereignty. Restoring slavery, organizing raids on Haitian territory, and France’s own reluctance to officially recognize Haitian independence likely fueled the 1805 campaign against the East.

Failing to defeat the French forces, Dessalines’s generals fled westwards, back to Haiti. Pro-slavery voices whose lost their wealth in Saint Domingue maintained pressure on Paris to reconquer Haiti, receive reparations for financial losses during the Haitian Revolution, and prolonging France’s refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Haiti. One must recall that, because of France’s lack of recognition for Haitian independence, Haiti was, in the eyes of the Western powers, a wayward colony of France they could not formally establish relations with. Thus, one can understand why certain sectors of the Haitian government were eager to establish relations with France while also protecting their sovereignty from fears and rumors of French or other slaveholding powers.

After the failure of the 1805 campaign, Boyer’s forces entered what is now the Dominican Republic in 1822, invited by pro-Haiti groups. The ephemeral independence declared by José Núñez de Cáceres was limited to creoles in Santo Domingo, whereas support for unification with Haiti could be found among the enslaved population, people of color, and whites who favored the political stability and markets of Haiti. Upon arrival in Santo Domingo, Boyer, accompanied by 10,000 Haitian troops, received the keys to the city of Santo Domingo by Nunez de Caceres.

Boyer’s government abolished slavery, freeing the 10,000-20,000 slaves in the East (following the abolitionist decree of Toussaint Louverture in 1801 that had already emancipated slaves), integrated the East into Haiti’s militarized political system, and attempted to change the land tenure system of the east while also favoring the burgeoning tobacco economy in the Cibao. Boyer appointed Borgella and Carrié, Haitian generals, as officials in charge of the East, and representatives from various towns across the East represented their constituencies in the legislative bodies of Port-au-Prince. Land was confiscated from the Catholic Church (the Vatican did not officially recognize Haiti until the Geffrard administration) while subaltern groups actually gained land. Many white elites preferred to leave Santo Domingo than to remain under Haitian rule, yet a surprisingly high number of them remained.

What sparked resistance to Boyer’s regime after the initial support or acceptance was the attempt to change the poorly organized system of land tenure, the terrenos comuneros. Instead of a formally, organized system of land in the East, the campesino population often owned lands communally without legal title. Boyer’s administration sought, multiple times with legislation, to impose formal, legal titles to land, which was impossible to enforce. Favoring the Napoleonic Code and established, organized land tenure, Boyer’s regime also sought to restore the declining plantation system with estates, a supply of workers, and attempts to reimpose a coercive labor system.

The Code Rural, usually seen as only applying to Haiti, was part of Boyer’s government’s attempts to increase revenues by focusing on plantations in order to pay France for the horrendous 1825 Treaty, in which Haiti offered France an indemnity and a favorable trade deal in exchange for full diplomatic relations. Boyer’s government tried to raise taxes, control the rural population’s labor, and emphasize sugar and coffee plantations in order to meet the rising debts. Boyer’s government also used French as the official language, the closing of the University of Santo Domingo transpired under Haitian rule, and the loss of power of the Catholic Church offended local sensibilities.

Boyer’s regime also promoted members of the old Spanish political elite to positions of leadership over Creole groups previously excluded from the Spanish colonial state. Borgella, Carrie, and other Haitian officials or military leaders therefore faced growing opposition from Creole whites and mulattos pursuing more power or autonomy. One must keep in mind that Boyer’s regime, to quote Charles Mackenzie, was a militarized dictatorship in republican form, thus residents of the East who opposed Boyer joined in political conspiracies in Haiti that sought an overthrow to Boyer.

The growing liberal opposition within Haiti that opposed Boyer, his despotic ways of challenging the press and legislators, joined with the conspirators like Juan Pablo Duarte and the Trinitarios. Before long, after the 1843 bloodless (well, mostly bloodless) overthrow of Boyer, the coalition fell apart. Hérard became more authoritarian despite the liberal pretenses of the Haitian opposition. The pro-independence voices in the East became stronger, and by 1844 a series of battles were waged, leading to secession from Haiti.

As Silvio Torres-Saillant reminds us, it is interesting that a revolt was staged in 1845, the year of Dominican independence, by a black general. The Trinitarios and pro-independence voices were forced to take anti-slavery and anti-racist stances by the Afro-Dominican population, a legacy of the Haitian unification project. In addition, like Haiti, the Dominicans extended offers of citizenship and ‘free soil’ principles, attracting runaway slaves from Puerto Rico. Moreover, the legal codes of the Dominican Republic likewise adopted the Napoleonic Code. Frank Moya Pons summarizes the legacy of the Haitian unification as being, in large, a moment of social advances for people of African descent as well as the growth of the peasantry.

In summation, Haitian unification proceeded from a series of questions on national security and territorial integrity, from the days of the Haitian Revolution and fears of French invasion post-1804. The underpopulated East was perceived as an easy avenue through which France or other powers could threaten Haitian sovereignty. In the East, some local elites and people of African descent saw union with Haiti as offering tangible social and economic benefits, one they did not see as forthcoming from the short-lived independence proclaimed in 1821. Enslaved people were granted liberty, gained access to land, or found success in the large Haitian military as a path to wealth or power.

That it failed, after 22 years, is more a result of the generally shared oppression imposed by Boyer on both sides of the island. Boyer’s regime endeavored to limit the proliferation of peasant farming for a period, excluded the majority of the population on both sides of the island from formal political power or representation, entered into a horribly unpopular treaty with France, and abused his power. Over 20 years of this  naturally led to opposition from both sides of the island, culminating in a change in regimes in Port-au-Prince and pro-independence groups winning favor to form a new state in 1844.

The importance of Dominican stability and independence continued to linger in Haitian political thought. Soulouque and successive Haitian governments tried to form a federation with Dominicans, and Haitians aided Dominican nationalists against Spain and the annexationists. So, Haitian “imperialism” in relation to the DR is actually quite complex and often rooted in defending Haiti from potential imperialist powers who may use the East as a foothold.

It is also important to remember that national identities are fluid. Some 'Haitians’ who settled in the East chose to remain there after 1844, becoming Dominican. Similarly, 'Dominicans’ sometimes became Haitians through marriage, migration, or political loyalty. The case of Jose Campos de Tavarez, for example, is enlightening. A mulatto and former slave from the Cibao, he chose to side with Haiti and served various Haitian governments. National identities are necessarily complex, shifting states of being, a point that is often neglected when discussing Haitian-Dominican relations.

Further Reading

Johnson, Sara E. The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas.

Matibag, Eugenio. Haitian-Dominican Counterpoint Nation, State, and Race on Hispaniola. New York: Palgrave, 2003.

Miguel, Pedro Luis. The Imagined Island History, Identity, & Utopia in Hispaniola. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

Pons, Frank. The Dominican Republic: A National History. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Hispaniola Books, 1995.

Roorda, Eric, Lauren Derby, and Raymundo Gonzalez (eds). The Dominican Republic Reader: History, Culture, Politics.

Torres-Saillant, Silvio. “Introduction to Dominican Blackness,” Dominican Studies Working Papers Series, No.1. New York: CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, 1999.

Turits, Richard Lee. Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003.

“En nombre de la Santísima, Augustísima e Indivisible Trinidad juro y prometo por mi honor y mi conciencia, en manos de nuestro presidente Juan Pablo Duarte, cooperar con mi persona, vida y bienes a la separación definitiva del gobierno haitiano y a implantar una república libre, soberana e independiente de toda dominación extranjera, que se denominará República Dominicana, la cual tendrá su pabellón tricolor, en cuartos encarnados y azules, atravesados por una cruz blanca . Mientras tanto, seremos reconocidos los Los Trinitarios con las palabras sacramentales: "Dios”, “Patria” y “Libertad”. Así lo prometo ante Dios y el mundo: si tal hago, Dios me proteja, y de no, me lo tome en cuenta, y mis consocios me castiguen el perjurio y la traición, si los vendo.“

Juramento de los Trinitarios


Man im so proud to be Dominican, Que viva mi pais

Feliz Dia De Independencia Dominicana

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“Vivir sin Patria, es lo mismo que vivir sin Honor.”- Juan Pablo Duarte. There’s something to note about those people who are citizens of a place (The U.S.) who will always be seen as foreign. It is important to remember where you come from, the struggles and accomplishments, for it is in a sense who you are and what other people will see you as. With that i say FELIZ DIA DE INDEPENDENCIA DOMINICANA!…Y los platanos? 

Como Conmemoramos El Natalicio de Juan Pablo Duarte

¿Por qué necesitamos el 4% para la educación?

En primer lugar no se decirles a quien nos hace mas falta si a la entidades gubernamentales o a nosotros los ciudadanos comunes hoy día 26 de Enero día del NATALICIO del Padre de la Patria Juan Pablo Duarte, los dominicanos nos despertamos y pudimos ver un hermoso comunicado firmado por el ilustre presidente de la cámara del senado, digo firmado porque quiero otorgarle el beneficio de la duda de que el solo “leyó” el contenido de la comunicación, a continuación les dejo una foto del  gran comunicado.

Pero la vergüenza mayor que siento es la barbaridad o valvaridá ya no se como se debe escribir o si debe ser en español o francés el punto es el siguiente, permítanme explicarles un poco mejor mi indignación. La ciudad donde yo nací se llama San Francisco de Macorís una ciudad de la República Dominicana que a su vez es conocida como la capital de la provincia Duarte. Por este motivo el presidente de la República se dirige a esta ciudad el día del natalicio o fallecimiento todavía no sé que es del Padre de la Patria, para realizar la película de siempre un discurso y blah blah blah, por esta razón las entidades gubernamentales que son  “capacitadas y que poseen un vasto conocimiento” decoran la ciudad con banderas, fotos y frases de Duarte.

A continuación les muestro la primicia de la nueva colonia francesa situada en la República Dominicana. Por favor corríjanme cualquier error que tenga…

Ya para despedirme, a conciencia de ustedes fervientes lectores les dejo estas interrogantes ¿Qué porciento en verdad creen que sea necesario para este país y a quien debería ir dirigido?