Dominican Republic Independence Day is celebrated every year on February 27. The first celebration was observed in 1844 and it has been almost two centuries since. The Dominican Republic was under Haitian rule for 22 years before the independence war finally set them free. After they gained autonomy, the island of Hispaniola was divided into Haiti and Dominican Republic. Today, the Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean which has the largest economy in the region. The country’s citizens are mainly of mixed African and European descent.
History of Dominican Republic Independence Day
In the early 1800s, the colony of Santo Domingo, now the capital of the Dominican Republic, was then the headquarters of Spanish power, albeit in its worst decline. With Spain engaged in the Peninsular War and other wars, the country’s resources were spread around the world, neglecting Santo Domingo. During this period, the España Boba era, the population of the Spanish colony was about 80,000. Yet, the Spanish crown had little to no influence in the colony.
Wealthy cattle ranchers took it upon themselves to become leaders to take control and bring order to the colony, where the ‘law of machete’ ruled the land. José Núñez de Cáceres, the captain of the colony along with the criollo class of the country, finally decided to overthrow the Spanish government to declare independence from their rule, after he was influenced by the revolutions around him, on November 9 in 1821. But that was not when they gained independence, since the nation was united with Haiti in the following year.
The entire island of Hispaniola, comprising Haiti and Santo Domingo, was under the government of Haiti for 22 years. Haiti was more powerful in every way, with a population nearly ten times larger than the former Spanish colony of Santo Domingo. Haiti was the wealthiest colony in the western hemisphere before the Haitian Revolution. It is why Dominican military officers agreed to merge the newly independent nation with Haiti. It would bring political stability and protection to Haiti’s power and wealth. After 22 years of disputes and crises, the Dominican people had to overthrow the Haitian government, finally gaining independence in 1844.
Dominican Republic Independence Day timeline
The Domingo colony gains independence from Spanish Haiti on November 30.
A secret society is set up by Juan Pablo Duarteto to free Santo Domingo.
Haitian president Charles Rivière-Hérard goes into exile for organizing the Trinitarios.
The surviving members of La Trinitaria declare independence from Haiti on February 27.
The Battle of Sabana Larga is the final war waged by Haiti, ending in a Dominican victory.
Dominican Republic Independence Day FAQs
Is the Dominican Republic part of the U.S.?
No, the Dominican Republic is a country in the Caribbean Sea.
What is the race of the Dominican Republic?
The population of the Dominican Republic is predominantly of mixed African and European heritage.
What languages are spoken in the Dominican Republic?
Spanish is the most popular language but some minorities speak Haitian Creole and Samana English, among others.
How to Observe Dominican Republic Independence Day
Do the merengue
The nation is known for merengue jive, a lively and fast-paced rhythm-based form of dance and music. Try it out, in addition to bachata, salsa, and Palo.
Dominican cuisine is predominantly Spanish, Taíno, and African and is similar to what can be found in other Latin American countries. Try out mangu, La Bandera, and sancocho.
Wave the flag
The Dominican flag is quite significant. Red represents the blood shed by the liberators, blue expresses God's protection over the nation, and the white cross symbolizes peace and unity.
5 Facts About The Dominican Republic
Baseball is widely enjoyed
It’s a popular sport in the country, with over 100 Dominicans in U.S. baseball leagues.
It is a preservation country
About 25% of the country’s land is preserved for national parks, reserves, and sanctuaries.
It has a rich heritage
It’s the oldest colonial settlement in the Americas.
The filming of the ‘Godfather’
Scenes in “The Godfather II” were filmed at the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo.
The Bible and the flag
It is the only country in the world with a Bible on its flag.
Why Dominican Republic Independence Day is Important
It is rich in historical facts
Dominican was the first Spanish settlement in the Americas, making it the main port of Spain’s early transatlantic trade. It is where the country’s culture comes from.
Independence from Spanish
Nothing more important than becoming independent from colonial power. It’s just a shame that freedom didn’t last too long for Domingo.
Independence from Haiti
The debts imposed on Haiti by the French affected the island’s economy negatively as a whole, affecting Domingo too. It was important to become independent.
Dominican Republic Independence Day dates