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Haitian invasion of the Dominican Republic: Wikis

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The Haiti Invasion of Dominican Republic was the military invasion and ensuing 22 years occupation of the newly founded Dominican Republic on the eastern side of Hispaniola by Haiti, from February 9, 1822 until February 27, 1844.

Contents

Background

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Former European colonies

By the late 18th century, the Island of Hispaniola was divided in two European colonies: Saint-Domingue, governed by France; and Santo Domingo governed by Spain.

In 1804, following black slave uprisings since 1791, the French colony declared its independence. The name of the new nation, Haiti, had been used by native Indians prior to the arrival of European explorers in the New World. Independence did not come easily, given that Haiti had been France's most profitable colony as a result of the sugar plantations worked by slaves; sugar had become an expensive commodity in Europe.

Meanwhile, on the east side, composed mainly of Spanish descendants, mulattoes, and some black slaves, the economy was stagnant, the land (nearly 2/3rds of the island) largely unexploited and the population much smaller than Haiti. Accounts by the essayist and politician José Núñez de Cáceres cite the Spanish colony's population as around 80,000; Haiti, on the other hand, was nearing a million former slaves[1]. The Dominican Republic, around 1821, was in a period that was called "España boba." Spain was more focused on mining for gold in Mexico. Dominican leaders sought independence from Spain with the intention of joining Simon Bolivar's nascent Gran Colombia nation.

Justification of the invasion

General Boyer, commander-in-chief of Haiti, wouldn't allow a separate nation on Hispaniola, alleging that the land is "one and indivisible".

Boyer was already in negotiations with France to prevent an attack by fourteen French warships stationed near Port-au-Prince. They soon agreed that France would sell the territory to the Haitian rebels for 150 million Francs (more than twice what France just charged the United States for the much larger Louisiana Purchase.)

Invasion

The just newly formed Dominican Republic was at serious disadvantage if it were to prevent the Haitian invasion. Mainly, it currently had no local military forces whatsoever, its population count was 8-10 times less than Haiti, and the economy was stalled.

Haiti, on the other hand, had formidable armed forces, both in skill and sheer size (for such a small land), that had been hardened for nearly 10 years of repelling French soldiers, local colonialists and military insurgents (lesser armed factions). The racial massacres perpetrated in the later days of the French-Haitian conflict only added to the determination of Haitians to never lose a battle.

By February 9, 1822, Boyer and his troops had entered Santo Domingo and received the keys to the city by now destituted president, José Núñez de Cáceres.

Occupation

Curtailed liberties in Santo Domingo

Although the invasion effectively eliminated colonial slavery and instated a Constitution modeled after the United States constitution through the island; in practice, several resolutions and written dispositions where expressly aimed at converting Dominicans into second-rate citizens: Restrictions of movement, prohibition to run public office, night curfews, inability to travel in groups, banning of civilian organizations, and, lastly, the indefinite closure of the state university (on the alleged grounds of it being a subversive organization) all led to the creation of independentist secret organization called “La Trinitaria” (The Trinity).

War of Independence

It would take 22 years for the War of Independence (La Guerra de Independencia) to start, on February 27, 1844, led by Juan Pablo Duarte and the Trinitarios, who was conformed not only by the cultural and monetary elite of the time, but by almost all Dominicans who were fed up by Haitians on their soil.

References

  1. ^ Dominican Consulate Cultural Page

Sources


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