A COUNTRY WITH A FUTURE
It is remarkable how little has been written about the Dominican Republic, a country so near to our shores, which has for years had intimate commercial and political relations with our country, which is at present under the provisional administration of the American Government, and which is destined to develop under the protection and guidance of the United States. The only comprehensive publications on the Dominican Republic, in the English language, are the Report of the United States Commission of Inquiry to Santo Domingo, published in 1871, Hazard's "Santo Domingo, Past and Present," written about the same time, and Professor Hollander's notable Report on the Debt of Santo Domingo, published in 1905. The first and the last of these publications are no longer obtainable; hence, Hazard's book, written almost half a century ago, is still the chief source of information.
These considerations prompted me to indite the following pages, in which I have essayed to give a bird's-eye view of the history and present condition of Santo Domingo. The task has been complicated by two circumstances. One is the extraordinary difficulty of obtaining accurate data. The other is the fact that the country has arrived at a turning point in its history. Any description of political, financial and economic conditions can refer only, or almost only, to the past; the American occupation has already introduced fundamental innovations which will shortly be further developed, and a rapid and radical transformation is in progress. Santo Domingo at this moment is a country which has no present, only a past and a future.
My personal acquaintance with Santo Domingo and Dominican affairs is derived from observations on several trips to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, from friendships formed with prominent Dominican families during a residence of many years in Latin America, and from experience as secretary to the special United States commissioner to investigate the financial condition of Santo Domingo in 1905, and as secretary to the Dominican minister of finance during the 1906 loan negotiations.
In compiling this work I have endeavored to read all books of any consequence which have been published with reference to Santo Domingo and Haiti and have especially consulted the following:
Jose Ramon Abad, "La Republica Dominicana"; Santo Domingo, 1886.
Rudolf Cronau, "Amerika, die Geschichte seiner Entdeckung"; Leipzig, 1892.
Enrique Deschamps, "La Republica Dominicana, Directorio y Guia General"; Barcelona, 1906.
Jose Gabriel Garcia, "Compendio de la Historia de Santo Domingo"; Santo Domingo, 1896.
H. Harrisse, "Christophe Colomb"; Paris, 1884.
Samuel Hazard, "Santo Domingo, Past and Present, with a Glance at Haiti"; New York, 1873.
Jacob H. Hollander, "Report on the Debt of Santo Domingo"; 59th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Executive Document; Washington, 1905.
Antonio Lopez Prieto, "Informe sobre los Restos de Colon"; Habana, 1878.
Fernando A. de Merino, "Elementos de Geografia Fisica, Politica e Historica de la Republica Dominicana"; Santo Domingo, 1898.
Mederic Louis Elie Moreau de Saint-Mery, "Description de la partie espagnole de l'isle Saint-Domingue"; Philadelphia, 1796.
Casimiro N. de Moya, "Bosquejo Historico del Descubrimiento y Conquista de la Isla de Santo Domingo"; Santo Domingo, 1913.
F.A. Ober, "A Guide to the West Indies and Panama"; New York, 1914.
Publications of the Dominican Government.
Publications of the Bureau of American Republics and the Pan-American Union.
Annual Reports of the General Receiver of Customs of the Dominican Republic to the Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, Washington, 1907 to 1917.
"Report of the United States Commission of Inquiry to Santo Domingo"; 42d Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document, Washington, 1871.
Emiliano Tejera, "Los Restos de Colon"; Santo Domingo, 1878; and "Los dos Restos de Colon"; Santo Domingo, 1879.
L. Gentil Tippenhauer, "Die Insel Haiti"; Leipzig, 1892.
A. Hyatt Verrill, "Porto Rico, Past and Present, and San Domingo of To-Day"; New York, 1914.
William Walton, Jr., "Present State of the Spanish Colonies, including a particular report of Hispanola"; London, 1810.
New York, January, 1918.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I. Historical Sketch-Days of the Conquest—1492 to 1533
Aborigines—Discovery—Founding of Isabela—Disaffection of the colonists—Indian wars—Oppression of the Indians—Founding of Santo Domingo City—Roldan's insurrection—Humiliation of Columbus—Ovando's administration—Extermination of the natives—Administrations of Diego Columbus—Treaty with Indian survivors.
CHAPTER II. Historical Sketch—Colonial Vicissitudes—1533 to 1801
Decline of the colony—English attacks on Santo Domingo City—Settlement of Tortuga by freebooters—French settlements in western Santo Domingo—Border wars—Cession of western coast to France—Return of prosperity—Effect of French Revolution—Negro uprising in French Santo Domingo—Rise of Toussaint l'Ouverture—Cession of Spanish Santo Domingo to France—Evacuation by Spain.
CHAPTER III. Historical Sketch—Changes of Government—1801 TO 1844
Rule of Toussaint l'Ouverture—Exodus of whites—Capture of Santo Domingo by French—War with negroes—Government of Ferrand—Incursion of Dessalines—Insurrection of Sanchez Ramirez—Reestablishment of Spanish rule—Proclamation of Colombian State of Spanish Haiti—Conquest by Haiti—Haitian rule—Duarte's conspiracy—Declaration of Independence.
CHAPTER IV. Historical Sketch—First Republic and Spanish Annexation—1844 TO 1865.
Constitution of the government—Santana's first administration—Wars with the Haitians—Administration of Jimenez—Victory of Las Carreras—Baez' first administration—Santana's second administration—Repulse of Soulouque—Baez' second administration—Period of the two governments—Santana's third administration—Annexation negotiations—Annexation to Spain—War of the Restoration.
Chapter V. Historical Sketch—Second Republic-Revolutions and Dictatorships—1863 TO 1904.
Restoration of the Republic—Military presidents—Cabral's administration—Baez' fourth administration—Annexation negotiations with the United States—Civil wars—Heureaux's rule—Administrations of Jimenez, Vasquez and Woss y Gil—Election of Morales.
Chapter VI. Historical Sketch—American Influence-1904 to date (1918)
Financial difficulties—Fiscal convention with the United States—Caceres' administration—Provisional presidents—Civil disturbances—Jimenez' second administration—American intervention.
Chapter VII. Area and Boundaries
Area of Republics of Haiti and Santo Domingo—Boundary disputes—Harbors on north coast—Character of shore—Samana Bay—Character of east and south coast—Harbors of Macoris and Santo Domingo—Ocoa Bay—Islands—Haitian frontier.
Chapter VIII. Topography and Climate
Mountains—Valleys and plains—Rivers—Lakes—Temperature and Rainfall—Hurricanes—Health conditions.
Chapter IX. Geology and Minerals
Rock formation—Mineral deposits—Gold-Copper—Iron—Coal—Silver—Salt—Building stone—Petroleum—Mineral springs—Earthquakes.
Chapter X. Flora and Fauna
Agricultural conditions—Land titles and measures—Wet and arid regions—Exports—Sugar—Cacao—Tobacco—Coffee—Tropical fruits—Forest products—Insects—Reptiles—Fishery—Birds—Cattle raising.
Chapter XI. The People
Population—Distribution—Race—Descendants of American negroes—Language—Physical traits—Mental traits—Amusements—Dances, theatres, clubs, carnivals—Gaming—Morality—Homes.
CHAPTER XII. Religion
Catholic religion—Concordat—Ownership of church buildings—Clergy—Religious sentiment—Shrines—Religious customs and holidays—Religious toleration—Protestant sects.
CHAPTER XIII. Education and Literature
Education in Spanish times—Work of Hostos—School organization—Professional institute—Primary and secondary education—Literacy—Libraries—Newspapers—Literature—Fine arts.
CHAPTER XIV. Means of Transportation and Communication
Railroads-Samana—Santiago Railroad—Central Dominican Railway—Roads—Mode of traveling—Inns—Principal highways—Steamer lines—Postal facilities—Telegraph and telephone lines.
CHAPTER XV. Commerce
Exports and imports—Foreign trade—Trade with the United States—Ports of entry—Wharf concessions—Domestic trade—Business houses—Banks—Manufactures.
CHAPTER XVI. Cities and Towns
General condition of municipalities—Santo Domingo City; ruins, churches, streets, popular legends—Other towns of Santo Domingo Province—San Pedro de Macoris—Seibo—Samana and Sanchez—Pacificador Province—Conception de la Vega—Moca—Santiago de los Caballeros—Puerto Plata—Monte Cristi—Azua—Barahona.
CHAPTER XVII. The Remains of Columbus
Burial of Columbus—Disappearance of epitaph—Removal of remains in 1795—Discovery of remains in 1877—Resting-place of Discoverer of America.
CHAPTER XVIII. Government
Form of government—Constitutions—Presidents—Election—Powers—Executive Secretaries—Land and sea forces—Congress—Local subdivisions—Provincial governors—Communal governments.
CHAPTER XIX. Politics and Revolutions
Political parties—Elections—Relation between politics and revolutions—Conduct of revolutions—Casualties—Number of revolutions—Effect of revolutions.
CHAPTER XX. Law and Justice
Audiencia of Santo Domingo—Legal system—Judicial organization-Observance of law—Prisons—Character of offenses.
CHAPTER XXI. The dominican debt and the fiscal treaty with the United States.
Financial situation in 1905—Causes of debt—Amount of debt—Bonded debt—Liquidated debt—Floating debt—Declared claims—Undeclared claims—Surrender of Puerto Plata custom-house—Fiscal convention of 1905—Modus vivendi—Negotiations for adjustment of debt—New bond issue—Fiscal treaty of 1907—Adjustment with creditors—19l2 loan—Present financial situation.
CHAPTER XXII. Finances
Financial system—National revenues—Customs tariff—National budget—Legal tender—Municipal income—Municipal budgets.
CHAPTER XXIII. The Future of Santo Domingo
Attraction by the United States—Political future of Santo Domingo-Economic future of Santo Domingo.
APPENDIX A. Chiefs of State of Santo Domingo, 1492-1918
APPENDIX B. Old Weights and Measures in Use in Santo Domingo
APPENDIX C. American-Dominican Fiscal Convention of 1907
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Columbus Monument on Cathedral Plaza, Santo Domingo City.
Map of Santo Domingo
Historic Gateway "La Puerta del Conde," where the independence of the Dominican Republic was declared: View from within the city View from without, during a revolution
The Strongest Presidents of Santo Domingo: President Pedro Santana President Buenaventura Baez President Ulises Heureaux President Ramon Caceres
Four Prominent Dominicans: President Juan Isidro Jimenez President Horacio Vasquez Minister of Finance Federico Velazquez Archbishop Adolfo A. Nouel
One of the Many Beautiful Spots on the Shores of Samana Bay
Partaking of Cocoanut-water
Street in Bani
Street in Puerto Plata
A Roadside Store
Building a House with the Products of the Palm-tree
Room in "Casino de la Juventud," Santo Domingo City
A Holiday Gathering, Santo Domingo City
Ruins of San Francisco Church, Santo Domingo City
A "Calvario" in the Road
Road Scene: A Mudhole
Wharf and Harbor of San Pedro de Macoris
Entrance to Cathedral of Santo Domingo
"House of Columbus," Ruins of Diego Columbus' Palace
The "Tower of Homage," the oldest fortification erected by white men in America: View from mouth of Ozama River View from within fort
Puerto Plata Scene: Milkmen
Puerto Plata Scene: The Ox as a Riding Animal
Sanctuary of Santo Domingo Cathedral
Diagram of Sanctuary of Cathedral
Lead Box found in 1877 with Remains of Columbus
Inscription on Lid of Lead Box
Obverse Side of Silver Plate
Reverse Side of Silver Plate
The Bane of Santo Domingo: Intrenchment at Puerta del Conde during a revolution
Independence Plaza, Santo Domingo City
Cathedral Plaza, Santo Domingo City
HISTORICAL SKETCH.—DAYS OF THE CONQUEST.—1492 to 1533
Aborigines.—Discovery.—Founding of Isabela.—Disaffection of the colonists.—Indian wars.—Oppression of the Indians.—Founding of Santo Domingo City.—Roldan's insurrection.—Humiliation of Columbus,—Ovando's administration.—Extermination of the natives.—Administrations of Diego Columbus.—Treaty with Indian survivors.
When Columbus, in December, 1492, sailed along the northern coast of the island of Haiti or Santo Domingo, he was more enchanted with what he saw than he had been with any of his previous discoveries. Giant mountains, covered with verdant forests, seemed to rise precipitately from the blue waters and lift their heads to the very clouds. Beautiful rivers watered fertile valleys, luscious fruits hung from the trees, fragrant flowers carpeted the ground, and the air was filled with the songs of birds of gay plumage. There were scenes of nature's magnificence such as are found only in the tropics. Columbus, as he gazed upon them in admiration, little thought that this beautiful island was to witness his greatest sorrows, that it was to be his final resting place, and that it was in later generations to become the theater of long years of war and carnage.
At the time of its discovery the island of Santo Domingo was thickly inhabited. The native Indians were Arawaks belonging to the same race as those who occupied the other larger West India Islands. Unlike the fierce Caribs who inhabited some of the smaller Antilles, the Arawaks were of a gentle and meek disposition. They were inclined to idleness and sensuality. Columbus lauded their kindliness and generosity; the possession of these traits, however, did not prevent them from fighting bravely when exasperated.
Living in the stone age, they knew none of the useful metals, but gold ornaments were used for adornment. Older men and married women wore short aprons of cotton or feathers; all other persons went entirely nude. Their favorite amusements were ball games and savage dances with weird, monotonous music; their religion was the worship of a great spirit and of subordinate deities represented by idols, called "zemis," carved of wood and stone in grotesque form, and of which some are still occasionally found in caverns or tombs. They dwelt in rude palm-thatched huts, the principal article of furniture being the hammock. Simple agriculture, hunting and fishing provided their means of livelihood.
The natives called the island Haiti, signifying "high ground," but the western portion was also called Babeque or Bohio, meaning "land of gold" and the eastern part Quisqueya, meaning "mother of the earth." The name Quisqueya is the one by which Dominican poets now refer to their country. The inhabitants lived in communities ruled by local caciques, and the country was divided into five principal regions, each under an absolute chief cacique, as follows:
Magua, signifying "watered plain," the northeastern part of the island and comprising most of what is to-day known as the Cibao—that part of the Dominican Republic lying north of the central mountain-range. The chief was Guarionex.
Marien, or Mariel, comprised the northwestern portion of the island and was ruled by Guacanagari.
Jaragua comprised the southwestern part, its chief being Bohechio, the oldest of the caciques.
Maguana extended from the center of the island to the south coast near Azua and was ruled by the proud Caonabo.
Higuey, or Higuayagua, the most bellicose portion of the country, comprised the entire southeast and was ruled by Cayacoa.
Columbus happened upon the island on his first voyage. After discovering Guanahani on October 12, 1492, and vainly searching for Japan among the Bahama Islands, he discovered Cuba and while skirting along the north shore of what he supposed to be the mainland heard of an island said to be rich in gold, lying to the east. Taking an easterly course, he was abandoned by the Pinta, one of his caravels, whose captain, disregarding the admiral's signals, sailed away to seek his fortune alone. Continuing with his remaining caravels, the Santa Maria and the Nina, Columbus reached Cape Maisi, the easternmost point of Cuba, where he sighted a high mountainous land lying in a southeasterly direction. On the following day, December 6, 1492, he reached this land, which he called la Espanola, because it reminded him of Andalusia. In English histories the name is modified to Hispaniola. The port Columbus called San Nicolas, as he had entered it on St. Nicholas day, and it is now known as Mole St. Nicolas.
Columbus then sailed along the north coast of the island and entered the pretty little port known to-day as Port-a-l'Ecu. Here, on December 12, he solemnly took possession of the country in the name of his sovereigns, erecting a wooden cross on a high hill on the western side of the bay. He then visited Tortuga Island, to the north, giving it this name on account of its shape and the great number of turtles in the water near its coast. After stopping in a harbor which he called Puerto de Paz, Port of Peace, because of the harmony which prevailed at the meetings with the natives, Columbus continued in an easterly direction, but adverse winds compelled him to put into the bay of Santo Tomas, to-day bay of l'Acul, where the cordial intercourse with the natives was renewed. Here he received an embassy from the chief of the district, Guacanagari, inviting him to visit the cacique's residence, further along the coast, and bringing him as presents a wampum belt artistically worked and a wooden mask with eyes, tongue and nose of gold.
To accept the invitation Columbus set sail on the morning of December 24. In the evening when the admiral had retired the helmsman committed the indiscretion of confiding the helm to a ship's boy. About midnight when off Cape Haitien, near their destination, the vessel was caught in a current and swept upon a sandbank where she began to keel over. During the confusion which followed, Columbus had the mainmast chopped down but all efforts to right the ship were in vain, and Columbus and the crew were obliged to take refuge on the little Nina.
As soon as Guacanagari received news of the disaster he sent large canoes filled with men to help the strangers transport their stores to the shore. The relations between the Spaniards and the Indians became most cordial, especially as the Spaniards were gratified to obtain much gold in exchange for articles of insignificant value, owing to which circumstances and to the natural advantages of the location, Columbus determined to build a fort with the wreckage of his vessel. The fort was on a hill east of the site of the present town of Cape Haitien. Columbus gave it the name of La Navidad because he had entered the bay on Christmas day, and leaving thirty-nine men as colonists set out on the Nina on January 4, 1493, on his return trip to Spain.
Near the great yellow promontory on the north of the island, to which Columbus gave the name it still retains of Monte Cristi, the Pinta, which had deserted the other vessels off Cuba, was sighted. Columbus having heard the excuses of the Pinta's captain, took no action with respect to the latter's delinquency, but set about exploring a large river in the vicinity to which he gave the name of Rio de Oro and which to-day is called the Yaque. Continuing the journey along the coast of the island the vessels rounded the giant promontory of Cape Cabron and that of Samana and entered the great bay of Samana which Columbus at first took to be an arm of the sea. Here it was that the first armed encounter between sons of the old world and the new took place. The Indians set upon the Spaniards when they landed but were quickly driven to flight, one of their number being severely wounded. On the following day, however, a more pleasant meeting took place and presents were exchanged. On January 16 the two vessels set sail for Spain.
The immense excitement produced in Spain by the discoveries of Columbus made the preparation of another expedition an easy matter, and on September 25, 1493, the admiral again set out from Spain, this time with sixteen ships and some 1300 men. After touching at several of the Leeward Islands and Porto Rico, the fleet sighted the Samana peninsula on November 22, 1493, and three days later arrived at Monte Cristi. Here the finding of two corpses of Spaniards filled the members of the expedition with grave apprehensions, which proved justified when two days later they arrived at La Navidad and found the fort completely destroyed, the Indian village burnt to the ground, and the whole neighborhood silent and desolate.
Guacanagari was found at a village further inland and according to his story and that of other Indians, a number of Spaniards had succumbed to disease, others were killed in brawls among themselves and the remainder died at the hands of the inland caciques Caonabo and Guarionex and their warriors, who attacked and destroyed both the fort and the village of Guacanagari. At the same time it was stated that the Spaniards had made themselves hateful to the natives by their domineering disposition and their lewdness and covetousness. The finding in some of the native huts of objects that had belonged to the colonists, as well as other suspicious circumstances, caused Father Boil and other companions of Columbus to doubt the chief's story and insist that sanguinary vengeance be taken. Columbus, however, affected to be satisfied with the explanation given and determined to take no further action, but to seek a new location for the colony. From this time forward discord divided not only the Spaniards and Indians but also the Spaniards themselves.
As the fleet was sailing east the weather obliged it to put into an indentation of the coast fifty miles east of Monte Cristi. The place so charmed the Spaniards that it was decided to found a town here. The first city of the new world was therefore laid out and Columbus gave it the name of Isabela, in honor of his royal patron. During the construction of the city Columbus sent two expeditions to the Cibao mountains, both of which succeeded in collecting a large amount of gold.
It soon became evident that the neighborhood of Isabela was not a healthy one. Fever invaded the colony; Columbus himself was not exempt. Discontent came and an uprising among the soldiers was nipped in the bud. On recovering from his illness Columbus resolved to make an exploration of the interior; and with drums beating and flags flying a brilliant expedition left Isabela. The beautiful Royal Plain was soon reached and friendly relations established with its peaceful inhabitants, whose wonder at the Spaniards and terror at their horses knew no bounds. A fortress was founded on the banks of the Janico river and called Santo Tomas. Columbus then returned to Isabela to find the town in a state of excitement on account of petty quarrels and the general sickness. Picking out the principal malcontents he sent them to Santo Tomas, and ordered that another fortress be founded. On April 24, 1494, he left the island with three vessels for a voyage of exploration to the west, entrusting the government of the colony to his brother Diego and an executive council.
But a short time elapsed before new dissensions broke out, followed by troubles with the Indians. A military expedition dispatched to the interior committed numerous depredations and drove the natives into the ranks of Caonabo, who was planning the expulsion of the strangers. The commander of the expedition, Moisen Pedro de Margarite, was called to account by Diego Columbus; but conspiring with Father Boil, the religious head of the colony, the two contrived to excite a popular insurrection against the governor, which may be regarded as the first Dominican revolution. At this time Bartholomew Columbus, another brother of the admiral, arrived with provisions, and the insurrectionists, taking possession of the ships, returned in them to Spain where they lost no opportunity to disparage the achievements of Columbus and to slander him and his brothers.
The principal caciques of the island now formed an alliance and uniting their forces laid siege to Santo Tomas. Only Guacanagari refused to join them and hurried to Isabela to offer his services to the Spaniards. At this juncture, on September 29, 1494, Columbus, sick and weary, returned from his voyage, during which, after other discoveries, he had explored a portion of the south coast of the island. As soon as he had recovered sufficient strength he led an expedition into the interior, relieved Santo Tomas, won numerous victories over the natives and founded another fortress, La Concepcion, in the Vega Real, or Royal Plain. Caonabo, however, assembled a vast number of warriors and forced Columbus to renewed efforts. The Spaniards and Indians met where the ruins of the old city of Concepcion de la Vega now are, and the famous battle of the Royal Plain was fought on March 25, 1495. The natives are alleged by the Spanish historians to have numbered 100,000, while the Spaniards had but 200 men and 20 horses, besides the warriors of Guacanagari. In the battle, a bloody one, the Indians were completely beaten, their discomfiture being due principally to the superior arms of the Europeans and the fear inspired by the horses and by twenty blood-hounds brought into the fight by the Spaniards. On the occasion of this battle the miracle of the Santo Cerro, or Holy Hill, is said to have occurred, when, according to the Spanish chroniclers, the Indians captured an eminence on which the Spaniards had erected a wooden cross, but were unable to destroy the cross with fire or hatchet, and were finally frightened away by the apparition of the Virgin Mary.
This one crushing defeat definitely broke the Indians' power, for though there were subsequent outbreaks they were only sporadic and, with one exception, of comparatively little importance. Caonabo still remained at large and the Spaniards secured possession of his person by one of those feats of individual prowess which mark the history of the conquest. The Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda went out in search of the cacique, and having found him with his warriors, suggested that they repair to Isabela together to arrange terms of peace with Columbus. The suggestion being accepted, they set out and on crossing the Yaque river Ojeda pressed the Indian to put on a pair of handcuffs, asserting that these bracelets were a distinction of the king of Castile. Caonabo acceded, whereupon the Spaniard sprang upon his horse and swinging the chief upon the croup, fled from the midst of the astonished warriors and bore him a prisoner to Isabela. Caonabo was later embarked for Spain but died on the voyage.
A beginning was now made of the harsh oppression which was soon to cause the entire disappearance of the native race. A quarterly tribute was imposed on every Indian above the age of fourteen. Those who lived in the auriferous region of the Cibao were obliged to deliver as much gold dust as could be held in a small bell, others were to give twenty-five pounds of cotton. Many natives fled to the mountains to escape the onerous tax and new settlements were established by the Spaniards.
The enemies of Columbus had in the meantime been sufficiently successful in Spain to cause one de Aguado to be sent out with the object of investigating conditions in the colony. His conduct from the very first was so arrogant that the admiral determined to return at once to justify himself before the court. On March 10, 1496, he embarked for Spain, leaving his brother Bartholomew as governor of the colony.
Before his departure the news arrived of the discovery of several rich gold mines in the southern part of the island. They were found by a soldier named Miguel Diaz, who having fled to the wilderness to escape punishment for wounding a comrade, had established conjugal relations with an Indian woman near the present site of Santo Domingo City. Noticing that her consort was tiring of her, the lady tried to retain him by revealing the existence of gold deposits in the region; and Diaz promptly secured his pardon and promotion by reporting the find to Isabela. The romance had a sad ending, for the Indian, shocked at the cruel treatment accorded her countrymen by the Spaniards who came to the place, abandoned her husband and children and disappeared in the forest.
On arriving in Spain, Columbus wrote his brother to found a town on the south coast at the mouth of the Ozama. Bartholomew Columbus immediately set out to select a site and on August 4, 1496, laid the first stone of the new city on the left bank of the Ozama, calling it Nueva Isabela, in honor of the queen. The name was afterwards changed to Santo Domingo in honor, so tradition has it, of the saint to whom the day of its foundation was dedicated. As the location of this city was much healthier than that of fever-ridden Isabela on the north coast, the settlers in an ever increasing stream removed to the new town which flourished as the other decayed, until after a few years Isabela was entirely abandoned. The only vestiges now remaining of it are a few ruined foundation walls and shapeless heaps of stone overgrown with rank tropical vegetation.
Bartholomew Columbus busied himself with further explorations of the interior, founding a number of strongholds, among them Santiago de los Caballeros, which commanded the Royal Plain. While at Concepcion de la Vega he was informed that several Indians had burned an altar erected by friars in the interior, and had buried the sacred images. The bigoted governor had the Indians apprehended and burnt alive in the public square. This cruel act induced fourteen caciques to conspire for an uprising; but their designs being betrayed, they were captured by a bold stroke and two of them executed. Determined to crush the spirit of the natives, Bartholomew Columbus invaded and devastated the district of Monte Cristi, driving the Indians into the remote forests and capturing and imprisoning their chiefs.
His severity was not confined to the Indians, but the Spaniards, naturally restive under the government of a Genovese, were also made to feel it until their disaffection developed into open rebellion.
At the head of the conspiracy was Francisco Roldan, the judge of the colony, a man ambitious and seditious by nature, but who owed Columbus many favors. Others, disgusted because their dreams of gold had not been realized, followed him and the insurrection was soon well under way. The rebels took Isabela and sacked the government storehouse and then took steps to besiege Bartholomew Columbus at Concepcion de la Vega. The arrival of fresh troops and stores from Spain enabled the governor to hold the rebels in check.
Such was the deplorable state of affairs when Columbus returned to the island on August 30, 1498. Realizing Roldan's strength, he consented to make terms under which the insurgents were to receive stores and other property and return to Spain. By the time their vessels were ready most of them had changed their mind and declined to go, but they wrote letters to Spain bitterly complaining of the admiral and his brothers, and accusing them of oppression and despotism. Columbus found himself obliged to agree to the most humiliating terms with the rebels, conceding a complete pardon, restoring them to their official posts, promising to pay their salary in arrears and distributing lands and Indians among them. Nevertheless, other quarrels followed, Columbus was forced to take severe measures and the complaints against him grew.
Little by little the stories of arrogance and oppression circulated with reference to the Columbus brothers undermined the esteem in which they were held by the sovereigns, who were also disappointed at not seeing the fabulous wealth they had expected from the new discoveries. They determined to send to the island of Espanola a person authorized to investigate conditions and decide all disputes.
Their choice for the mission was unfortunate; it fell on Francisco Bobadilla, a spiteful, arrogant and tactless man. On arriving in Santo Domingo on August 23, 1500, he immediately began to annul dispositions made by Columbus and sent for the admiral who was in the interior. As soon as Columbus appeared, Bobadilla, far exceeding his authority, caused him to be put in chains and confined in a cell of the fortress of Santo Domingo. He also imprisoned the brothers of Columbus and sent them to Spain together with the Discoverer, all chained like infamous criminals. At the same time he made a report attributing malfeasance, injustice and fraud to all.
The administration of Bobadilla was disastrous. In his efforts to ingratiate himself with Columbus' enemies he heaped favors on Roldan and his followers and gave them franchises and lands. He made the slavery of the Indians more galling than ever, obliging them to labor in the fields and mines. Columbus' property and papers were confiscated and Columbus' friend, the explorer Rodrigo de Bastidas, was imprisoned and his property seized.
The captain of the vessel bearing Columbus treated his distinguished prisoner with all possible deference and offered to take off the chains, but the Discoverer, whose heart was breaking under the indignities heaped upon him and the injustice of which he was the victim, proudly refused. When the vessel arrived in Spain the sovereigns, shocked at Bobadilla's proceedings, commanded the immediate release of Columbus, ordered that his property be restored and overwhelmed him with distinctions, though providing that his dignities as viceroy were to remain temporarily suspended; probably because the calculating spirit of King Ferdinand believed that too much power had been vested in his subject. Bobadilla was removed from office, and Nicolas de Ovando, a member of the religious-military order of Alcantara, was appointed governor in his place.
Ovando arrived in Santo Domingo on April 15, 1502, with a fleet of thirty vessels, the largest which up to that time had arrived in the new world, carrying stores of every kind and over 1500 persons, among them many who later attained distinction in conquests on the mainland. He was courteous to Bobadilla, but took measures to send Roldan and the most turbulent of his companions back to Spain on the return of his fleet, the largest vessel of which was placed at the disposition of Bobadilla.
Just before the sailing of the fleet, on June 30, 1502, Columbus unexpectedly appeared before the city on his fourth voyage, and asked permission to enter the port for protection from a hurricane which he believed was approaching. Ovando, either because he had secret orders, or perhaps because he feared Columbus' presence might cause renewed disturbances, denied the request, and the great man, deeply wounded by the refusal, sought shelter further up the coast.
The pilots of the great fleet derided Columbus' prediction and the ships set sail. They had not reached the easternmost point of the island when a terrific hurricane broke loose. All but two of the vessels were lost, and by a strange coincidence one of these two bore Rodrigo de Bastidas, the friend of Columbus, while the other, the smallest and weakest vessel of the fleet, was the one that carried Columbus' property. Bobadilla, Roldan and other enemies of the admiral, and many other passengers and Indian captives perished and large stores of gold were lost. Columbus' squadron rode out the storm in safety in a cove of the bay of Azua, whereupon he continued his voyage.
On land, too, the hurricane wrought great destruction. The houses of the town of Santo Domingo were demolished and as the right bank of the Ozama was higher and seemed more suitable, Ovando ordered that the town be rebuilt on that side, where it now stands.
Ovando now inaugurated a period of general prosperity. He established peace and order, issued rules for the different branches of the public service, placed honest men in the posts of responsibility and encouraged industry and agriculture. Yet, strange mixture of energy and cruelty, of valor and bigotry that he was, his treatment of the Indians was most oppressive. To each Spanish landholder was assigned a number of Indians under the pretext that they were to be given religious instruction and accustomed to work; but so onerous and unremitting was the labor imposed that they succumbed to disease by thousands, while thousands of others perished by their own hand in an epidemic of suicide which swept through the country, and many fled to almost inaccessible mountain regions.
But two Indian chieftains still reigned in the island, one the Indian queen Anacaona in the district of Jaragua, the other the chief of Higuey. Ovando's severe measures against the natives made him ready to believe the tales of conspiracies brought to him. He therefore sent a troop of 300 infantry under Diego Velazquez, the future conqueror of Cuba, and 70 horsemen, to the territory of Anacaona, where they were received with every mark of kindness. The Spaniards invited the natives to witness a military drill and when the queen, her principal caciques and a great crowd of Indians were assembled, the exercises commenced. The Indians were awed by the spectacle so new and imposing to them, when suddenly the trumpets gave a signal, the infantry opened fire and the cavalry charged on the defenseless spectators. All the Indians who could not escape by flight were massacred without respect to age or sex. Anacaona alone was spared and carried off to Santo Domingo where she was shortly afterwards ignominiously executed, on the pretext that she was not sufficiently sincere in the Catholic religion which she had recently professed! A tenacious persecution of the Indians who would not become slaves was instituted and but few were able to hide in the mountains of the interior.
In 1503 the subjugation of the last remaining independent chieftain, Cotubanama, lord of Higuey, in the extreme eastern part of the island, was undertaken. Near this province a Spaniard wantonly set his hound upon one of the principal natives, and the Indian was torn to pieces, whereupon the chief, indignant at his friend's death, caused a boatload of Spaniards to be killed, thus giving Ovando a welcome excuse for the invasion. Four hundred Spaniards dealt death and desolation throughout the region, pursuing the Indians into the mountains and forests and sparing neither women nor children. When at last they captured and hung an aged Indian woman revered as a prophetess, the terrified aborigines sued for peace and agreed to pay a heavy tribute. A fortress was erected at Higuey, but the conduct of the Spanish garrison was so outrageous that the Indians in desperation again rose, and killed every Spaniard in the district. Ovando then began a war of extermination and the Indians were killed off by thousands, Cotubanama resisted heroically but in vain, and after being beaten in a number of desperate battles he withdrew to the island of Saona, southeast of Santo Domingo. Here he was surprised and captured by the Spaniards, his remaining warriors mercilessly shot and he himself taken to the city of Santo Domingo and hung. With his death the island was thoroughly pacified, though at a bloody cost, and the conquest proper ended.
On August 13, 1504, Columbus once more arrived in Santo Domingo. On his ill-fated fourth voyage he had been shipwrecked in Jamaica and one of his men crossed the ocean in an open boat, to solicit aid of Ovando. The latter, after dallying for months, finally yielded to the murmurings of the colony and sent for the Discoverer. He received Columbus well, but subjected him to humiliation by arbitrarily liberating a mutineer imprisoned by the admiral. Disappointed and sad, the great navigator left the shores of the island he loved and returned to Spain where his death occurred two years later. The golden age of the colony was now at hand. Ovando built up the city of Santo Domingo, constructed forts and other defences, and laid the foundations of most of its public buildings. Fine private residences and great churches and convents were erected. Sugar-cane was introduced in 1506 and gave rich returns, the production of the gold mines continued to increase, and cattle raising brought large profits. The Indians were dying out under the rigorous treatment, and others were imported from the surrounding islands under the pretense of converting them to Christianity; and when these also succumbed, the importation of negroes from Africa was commenced. About 1508 the island began to be called Santo Domingo, but for almost three centuries royal decrees continued to refer to it as Espanola. So flourishing was its state at this time that thirteen of its towns were granted coats of arms and three were declared cities. The colony was and for many years continued to be a starting point for voyages of discovery and conquest in the islands and along the shores of the Caribbean Sea.
After the death of Christopher Columbus his son Diego made fruitless efforts to recover the honors of which his father had been despoiled, but it was not until he married Maria de Toledo, the beautiful niece of the Duke of Alba, that he met with partial success, probably more because of the influence of his wife's family than because of the justice of his claims. In 1509 he was appointed governor of Santo Domingo to succeed Ovando and arrived in the colony with his wife, his uncles, and a brilliant suite.
Diego Columbus inaugurated his administration with a splendor till then unknown in the new world, establishing a kind of vice-regal court. He built the castle of which the ruins are still to be seen near the San Diego gate in the city of Santo Domingo, and which in its glory must have been an imposing structure. Unfortunately many persons transferred to the son the hatred they had borne the father and he found his plans balked. Intending to carry into effect the royal dispositions relative to the release of the Indians from slavery he incurred the hostility of the planters and when he desisted owing to their opposition, he was attacked by the friars. Complaints poured in upon King Ferdinand; the accusation most calculated to arouse the suspicious monarch's fears was that the second admiral, as Diego Columbus was called, harbored the intention of proclaiming himself sovereign of Santo Domingo. Ferdinand accordingly instituted the audiencia or high court of justice of Santo Domingo, which was invested with a comprehensive jurisdiction, being authorized to hear appeals even from decisions of the governor, whose powers were thus materially curtailed.
This circumstance, as well as a new distribution of the Indians, made over the head of the governor, induced Diego Columbus to return to Spain in 1515 in order to defend his interests. During the term of the two governors who succeeded him, various dispositions were made for the protection of the natives whose numbers were rapidly diminishing notwithstanding importations from the other islands and from South America. The only result of these orders was a change of masters; for when Diego Columbus returned as governor in 1520, he found the Indians exploited by the priests and officers of the crown to whom they had been intrusted ostensibly for religious instruction, while the mine-owners and planters now employed negro slaves.
Almost simultaneously with the return of the second admiral began the insurrection of a young Indian cacique known as Enrique. This noble Indian, a relative of Anacaona, had been converted to Christianity and educated by the Spaniards, but was nevertheless enslaved in one of the "repartimientos," or distributions. His wife having been gravely offended by the Spaniard to whom they were assigned, he retired to the almost inaccessible mountains in the center of the island, and many of the remaining natives fled to join him. Efforts to dislodge him were in vain and negotiations only elicited from him the promise to act on the defensive alone, which was equivalent to an indefinite truce. The number of negro slaves had in the meantime increased, and the treatment given them was as harsh as that which had been accorded the aborigines. As a result an insurrection, the first negro uprising in the new world, began near Santo Domingo City on December 27, 1522. Several Spaniards were murdered, but the troops overpowered the mutineers and a number were hung.
Diego Columbus continued in his efforts to promote the welfare of the colony, but became involved in a quarrel with the royal audiencia and found himself obliged in March, 1524, to return to Spain where he died two years later. The new governor, Bishop Sebastian Ramirez de Fuenleal, was appointed president of the royal court, and the offices of governor and president of the court were thenceforth consolidated. Both he and his successor used their best efforts to promote immigration into the colony which was beginning to suffer on account of the draughts of men that left for the mainland. An army was dispatched against the insurgent chief Enrique who still menaced the tranquillity of the colonists from his mountain fastnesses. When it was found impossible to reach him, peaceful methods were employed. Negotiations were opened, and a treaty of peace signed in 1533, on an island in the beautiful lake still known as Lake Enriquillo. By this treaty the Indians, now reduced to not more than 4000 in number, were freed from slavery and assigned lands in Boya, in the mountains to the northeast of Santo Domingo City. From this time forward there is no further mention of the Indians in the island's history; they disappeared completely by dying out and by assimilation.
HISTORICAL SKETCH.—COLONIAL VICISSITUDES.—1533 TO 1801
Decline of the colony.—English attacks on Santo Domingo City.—Settlement of Tortuga by freebooters.—French settlements in western Santo Domingo.—Border wars.—Cession of western coast to France.—Return of prosperity.—Effect of French revolution.—Negro uprising in French Santo Domingo.—Rise of Toussaint l'Ouverture. —Cession of Spanish Santo Domingo to France.—Evacuation by Spain.
Within forty years after its discovery Santo Domingo had passed the zenith of its glory. The vast and wealthy countries discovered and conquered on the mainland of America absorbed the attention of colonists and of the government, and Santo Domingo quickly sank to a position of economic and political insignificance. So little importance was given the island by chroniclers during the ensuing two hundred and fifty years and so few are the records remaining, that not even the names of all the governors and the periods of their rule can be accurately determined. The colony barely existed, the monotony of its life was interrupted only by occasional attacks or menaces of attacks by pirates or other foes.
Every effort was made to prevent decay. Decrees were issued forbidding emigration or the recruiting of troops for expeditions of discovery, but they were evaded. Thus Louis Columbus, the grandson of the Discoverer and one of the most influential men of the colony, fitted out an expedition against Veragua. African slaves continued to be imported to take the place of the exterminated Indians, but as their importation was expensive the mines were abandoned and the number of sugar estates declined. For the greater part of the period from 1533 to 1556 the government was in the hands of an energetic man, Licentiate Alonso de Fuenmayor, Bishop of Santo Domingo and La Vega, and later first Archbishop of Santo Domingo. He pushed to a conclusion the work on the cathedral and other religious edifices then building, repaired the edifices belonging to the state and constructed the walls and bastions which still surround the city. He was able to ward off the attacks of corsairs, who multiplied in West Indian waters to such an extent that in 1561 the Spanish Government forbade vessels to travel to and from the new world except under convoy.
In 1564 the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Concepcion de la Vega were completely destroyed by an earthquake and the few remaining inhabitants reestablished the towns at short distances from the original sites. The entire intercourse of the colony with Spain was reduced to two or three caravels a year and the revenues sank so low that the salaries of state officials were paid and continued to be paid for over two hundred years, from the treasury of Mexico.
The year 1586 was marked by the capture of Santo Domingo City by the noted English navigator, Sir Francis Drake, during the celebrated cruise on which he took the strongest towns on the Spanish main. On the morning of January 11, 1586, the inhabitants of Santo Domingo City were thrown into consternation at seeing eighteen foreign vessels in the roadstead, in a line which stretched from Torrecilla Point to the slaughterhouse. To the joy of the people the fleet set sail for the west, but their joy was short lived, for the next morning messengers arrived with the news that the enemy had landed at the mouth of the Jaina River and was marching on the city. Preparations were made for defense, but terror gained the upper hand and soon the civil and religious authorities, the monks and nuns and the entire population were fleeing in confusion on foot, in carts and in canoes, leaving their belongings behind. Some one hundred and fifty men remained to dispute the passage of Lieutenant-General Carliell who appeared at the head of a thousand men. They were quickly dispersed by the invaders who entered the gates with little loss and proceeded to the plaza where they encamped. For twenty-five days Drake held the deserted city, carrying on negotiations meanwhile for its ransom. When these flagged he ordered the gradual destruction of the town and every morning for eleven days a number of buildings were burned and demolished, a work of some difficulty on account of the solidity of the houses. Not quite one-third of the city was so destroyed when the residents paid a ransom of 25,000 ducats, about $30,000, for the remainder. Drake thereupon embarked, carrying with him the bronze cannon of the fort and whatever of value he found in the churches and private houses. He also ordered the hanging of several friars, held by him as prisoners, in retaliation for the murder of a negro boy whom he had sent with a flag of truce.
Seventy years later Santo Domingo was again attacked by English forces, this time with the object of making a permanent landing. Oliver Cromwell after declaring war against Spain sent a fleet to the West Indies under the command of Admiral William Penn, having on board an army of 9000 men. The fleet appeared off Santo Domingo City on May 14, 1655, and a landing was effected in two bodies, the advance guard under Col. Buller going ashore at the mouth of the Jaina River while the main body under General Venables disembarked at Najayo, much further down the coast. Buller met with strong resistance at Fort San Geronimo and was forced to retire to Venables' intrenchments. The united English forces made several attempts to march on the capital, but fell into ambuscades and sustained heavy losses. Despairing of success, the fleet and army left the island on June 3 and proceeded to Jamaica, which they captured.
The rovers of the sea and the restrictive trade regulations imposed by the Spanish government, which limited trade with the new world to the single port of Seville in Spain, made development of the island's commerce impossible. The trade restrictions had the effect of encouraging a brisk contraband traffic with Dutch vessels on the north coast, to stop which the Spanish government adopted the incredible expedient of shutting up every port except Santo Domingo City and ordering the destruction of the north coast towns. Puerto Plata, Monte Cristi and two villages on the coast of what is now Haiti were thus destroyed in 1606 and the inhabitants transferred to towns almost in the center of the island, where they were far removed from temptation to smuggle. The measure temporarily stopped contraband trade on the north coast, but destroyed all legitimate trade in that region, transformed the coast into a desert and furnished an opportunity for the settlement of the buccaneers in the northwest.
The English, French and Dutch, in resisting Spain's claim to sole trading rights in the new world, authorized the fitting out of privateers that often degenerated into pirates. The bays and inlets of the coast of Santo Domingo became favorite resorts for such ships. The depot of the corsairs on the island of St. Christopher having been destroyed by the Spaniards in 1630, a number of refugees sought shelter on the island of Tortuga, on the northwest coast of Haiti. Some of them began to cultivate the soil, others took to hunting wild cattle on the mainland of Haiti, while others indulged in piracy. Tortuga soon became the busy headquarters of reckless freebooters of all nations, who here fitted out daring expeditions and returned to waste their gains in wild carousals. In 1638 the Spanish governor of Santo Domingo made a descent on the island and destroyed the settlement, but most of the buccaneers were absent at the time and the only result of the raid was to cause them to organize under the captaincy of an Englishman named Willis. French national pride asserted itself, however, and with the assistance of a French force from St. Christopher, the English inhabitants of Tortuga, who were in a minority, were persuaded to leave for Jamaica, and Tortuga thenceforth continued under French governors.
In 1648 the Spaniards of Santo Domingo made another fruitless attempt to expel the buccaneers; but in 1653 the Spanish governor, the Count of Penalva, collected a force which caught the island unawares and was strong enough to overawe the inhabitants, who were permitted to leave, though abandoning all their property. The Spaniards left a garrison but the persistent Frenchmen returned and drove it out. In 1664 the French West India Company took possession, established a garrison, and appointed as governor an energetic man, D'Ogeron, under whom the country rapidly advanced in prosperity and commerce. With the idea of encouraging permanent settlement, D'Ogeron had women brought over from the slums of Paris and portioned out as wives to the rude colonists.
The rapidly increasing population caused settlements to be made on the Haitian mainland, and the city of Port-de-Paix was founded on a beautiful bay opposite Tortuga. The city flourished to such an extent and the advantages of settlement on the mainland were so superior that the settlers of Tortuga gradually left the smaller island and settled along the Haitian coast. Within twenty years Tortuga was practically deserted and it so continues to this day.
A better class of people now arrived from France. Families were brought in from Anjou and Brittany, and the French settlements continued to spread all the way down the western coast of the island, the French settlement at Samana being withdrawn. Slaves were imported from Africa, and in 1678 a rising took place among them, which was easily put down. In 1684 the French government formally sent out commissioners to provide for the regular government of the colony, and churches and courts of justice were established.
The Spanish inhabitants of Santo Domingo meanwhile made attack after attack on the French, but the Spanish colony was in such reduced straits that no extended efforts were possible. Where the French were repulsed the Spaniards were too few numerically to hold the territory and it was soon reoccupied. Angered at the repeated aggressions, D'Ogeron sent out an expedition under Delisle in 1673, which landed at Puerto Plata and marched inland to Santiago. The inhabitants fled to La Vega and only avoided the burning of their city by paying a ransom of 25,000 pesos, whereupon Delisle returned to the French colony. D'Ogeron at this time proposed to the French government the conquest of the entire island for France, and would probably have attempted to carry out this plan, had not his death occurred shortly after.
Cordial relations existing between France and Spain in 1685, tentative boundary agreements were made between the French and Spanish authorities, but each side accused the other of violations and the strife continued as before. When in 1689, war broke out between Spain and France, the French governor organized an expedition to invade the Spanish section. He reached Santiago where some of his men died after consuming meat and wine found in the deserted houses. Believing them poisoned, he ordered the torch to be applied to the city and retired after seeing it reduced to ashes. Admiral Perez Caro, the Spanish governor, thereupon made preparations for a telling blow on the French. The colony's militia and regular troops sent by the viceroy of Mexico invaded the French section and on January 21, 1692, administered a crushing defeat on the opposing force in the plain of La Limonade, killing the French governor and his principal officers. The victorious army marched through the French settlements, desolating the fields and putting all prisoners to the sword. At the same time a new settlement the French had made at Samana was exterminated.
The new French governor found the affairs of his colony in very bad condition; but with the assistance of refugees from other islands he sent an expedition to Jamaica, from where over 3,000 slaves together with stores of indigo and other property were carried off. In retaliation the English and Spanish fleets combined and with 4,000 men aboard set sail from Manzanillo Bay in 1695, and sacked and burned Cape Francais and Port-de-Paix, the English carrying off all the men they took prisoners and the Spaniards the women and children. Hostilities were ended in 1697 by the peace of Ryswick by which Spain recovered territory conquered from her by the French and ceded the western part of the island of Santo Domingo to France. The occupation of the western coast by France, so long resented as an intrusion, was thus formally recognized.
The French colony immediately entered upon an era of prosperity which soon made it the richest country of the West Indies. Great plantations of tobacco, indigo, cacao, coffee and sugar were established. The country came to be known as the paradise of the West Indies and the wealth of the planters became proverbial. The grave defect was that this prosperity was built on the false foundation of slavery. In 1754 the population numbered 14,000 whites, 4000 free mulattoes and 172,000 negroes.
The Spanish colony on the other hand sank lower than ever. Practically abandoned by the mother country, there was no commerce beyond a little contraband and only the most indispensable agriculture, the inhabitants devoting themselves almost entirely to cattle raising. The ports were the haunts of pirates, and a number of Dominicans also became corsairs. By the year 1730 the entire country held but 6000 inhabitants, of whom about 500 lived in the ruined capital and the remaining urban population was disseminated among the vestiges of Cotui, Santiago, Azua, Banica, Monte Plata, Bayaguana, La Vega, Higuey and Seibo. Such was the poverty prevailing that a majority of the people went in rags; and the arrival of the ship from Mexico, which brought the salaries of the civil officials and the military, was hailed with the joyful ringing of church bells.
To how great an extent this depression was due to trade restrictions is evident from the circumstance that when in 1740 several ports were opened to foreign commerce there was an immediate change for the better. Agriculture expanded, exports and imports increased, money circulated, the cost of the necessaries of life fell, the population rapidly increased and many new towns sprang up. According to an ecclesiastical census the population had in 1785 advanced to 152,640 inhabitants. Of these only 30,000 were slaves, owing to the Spanish laws which made it easy for a slave to purchase his freedom. Many of the freemen were negroes or mulattoes.
In 1751 the colony was visited by a severe hurricane, which caused the Ozama to leave its banks, and by a destructive earthquake which overthrew the cities of Azua and Seibo and did much damage to the church buildings of Santo Domingo. Azua and Seibo were reestablished on their present sites. Another earthquake in 1770 destroyed several towns in the French part of the island.
From the beginning of the century the boundary between the French and Spanish colonies of Santo Domingo had been a source of constant friction and bickerings. A preliminary agreement had been made in 1730, but in 1776 a permanent treaty was drafted, it was ratified at Aranjuez in 1777, and the boundary was marked with stone monuments.
When the French revolution broke out in 1789 both the Spanish and French colonies of Santo Domingo were enjoying a high degree of prosperity. In the French colony there were about 30,000 whites, and the haughty white planters were wont to indulge in every form of luxury and sybaritic pleasure; the negro slaves, whose number had grown to almost half a million, were subjected to the most barbarous ill-treatment; and a class of about 30,000 ambitious free mulattoes had arisen, many of whom where cultured and wealthy, but who were all rigidly excluded from participation in public affairs. It was evident that but a spark was needed to produce what might turn out to be a general conflagration.
The spark came in the formation of the National Assembly in France and its declaration of the rights of man. The mulattoes at once petitioned the National Assembly for civil and political rights, which were in 1790 equivocally denied and in 1791 finally granted them. The whites resisted the government decrees and uprisings began. The first of these was a revolt of the mulattoes under Oge, which was quickly suppressed. Oge fled to Spanish Santo Domingo, but was surrendered by the Spaniards on condition that his life be spared, a promise that was not kept for he was publicly broken on the wheel. Jean Francois, another mulatto, then raised an insurrection of the negroes in the north, marching on Cape Francais, burning and murdering, with the body of a white infant carried on a spear-head at the head of his troops. His forces were defeated by the whites, who commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of their victims. The negroes thereupon rose in every direction and the paradise of the West Indies became a hell. The great plantation houses were burned, the wide estates desolated, white women were ravished and murdered and white men put to death with horrible tortures, while the liberated slaves indulged in orgies at which the beverage was rum mixed with human blood. It was a fearful day of reckoning.
In 1793, France went to war with England and Spain. The Spanish authorities of Santo Domingo made overtures to negro leaders of whom a number entered the Spanish army as officers of high rank, among them Toussaint, an intelligent ex-slave who later assumed the surname of l'Ouverture and who showed remarkable military and administrative qualities. The French government sent commissioners to the colony, whose tactless handling of a difficult situation fanned the flames of civil war. The English attacked the colony, captured Port-au-Prince, and enlisted the aid of the revolted slaves in overrunning the surrounding country. When they besieged Port-de-Paix the French commander sent secret emissaries to Spanish Santo Domingo and induced Toussaint to desert from the Spanish ranks and with his negro followers help to drive out the English. Killing the Spanish soldiers he found in his way, Toussaint went to fight the English, with such success that in 1797 he was made general-in-chief of all the French troops. The English, decimated by disease, were obliged to leave in 1798 and sign a treaty of peace with Toussaint by which the island was recognized as an independent and neutral state during their war with France. The operations in Santo Domingo are said to have cost the English $100,000,000 in money and 45,000 lives.
In the meanwhile border fights were going on in Spanish Santo Domingo between Toussaint's troops and forces collected from the various Spanish possessions on the Caribbean Sea. They continued until 1795, when by the treaty of Basle peace was declared between France and Spain and the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo was—to the dismay of its inhabitants—ceded to France, the whole island thus passing under French control. Toward the end of that year part of the Spanish troops and members of religious orders embarked and an emigration of the better families began, many taking their slaves with them. The Spaniards also exhumed what they supposed to be the remains of Columbus in the cathedral of Santo Domingo and carried them to Havana. One of the terms of the treaty was that the colony should formally be delivered when French troops were sent to occupy it, but as the French were at this time kept busy in the western portion, the Spanish governor and authorities continued to administer the country for several years. Little by little troops and civil officials were withdrawn and in 1799 the royal audiencia or high court was transferred to Puerto Principe, in Cuba, most of the lawyers of the colony leaving at the same time with their families.
Toussaint l'Ouverture was now in supreme command in the west, though nominally holding under the French republic. He displayed considerable ability in promoting peace, ordered the blacks to return to work and gave protection to the whites. It was evident, however, that he aimed to make himself absolute master of the whole island. Pursuant to this plan he called on the Spanish governor, General Joaquin Garcia, to surrender the Spanish colony in accordance with the stipulations of the treaty of Basle, Governor Garcia prepared to resist, but Toussaint invaded the colony with an army, was successful in a skirmish on the Nizao River and appearing before the capital protested that he came as a French general in the name of the French republic. Garcia had no alternative but to comply with the negro chief's demands. On the 27th of January, 1801, Toussaint l'Ouverture entered the capital with his troops and formally took possession. Amid the booming of cannon the Spanish ensign was lowered and the French tricolor raised; and Toussaint invited the authorities to the cathedral where a Te Deum was chanted. Governor Garcia immediately embarked for Cuba with the remaining Spanish civil and military authorities.
HISTORICAL SKETCH.—CHANGES OF GOVERNMENT.-18O1 TO 1844
Rule of Toussaint l'Ouverture.—Exodus of whites.—Capture of Santo Domingo by French.—War with negroes.—Government of Ferrand. —Incursion of Dessalines.—Insurrection of Sanchez Ramirez. —Reestablishment of Spanish rule.—Proclamation of Colombian State of Spanish Haiti.—Conquest by Haiti.—Haitian rule.—Duarte's conspiracy.—Declaration of Independence.
Toussaint l'Ouverture's occupation of Santo Domingo occasioned a new exodus of white families who were fearful of what might happen under negro rule. From the French portion of the island the whites had been emigrating since the first uprisings; a number had fled into the Spanish colony and these now also left. It is estimated that in the decade beginning with 1795 the Spanish portion lost over 40,000 inhabitants, more than one-third of its population. Most of the persons who abandoned the island during these troublous times settled in Cuba, Porto Rico and Venezuela, where they established coffee and sugar plantations, to the great advantage of these countries. Some of the most prominent families of Cuba to-day are descendants of families which left Santo Domingo at this time.
Toussaint tried to stem the tide of emigration by issuing conciliatory proclamations; but when he found his efforts in vain, it is claimed that he conceived the idea of a general massacre of the whites remaining in the capital. He ordered the entire population, without distinction of age or sex to gather on the plaza and the men, women and children to be separated into different groups, the whole plaza being surrounded by strong forces of cavalry. Appearing before the terrified people Toussaint declared slavery abolished and began to walk up and down and ask the women in broken Spanish whether they were French or Spanish, touching them with his cane in an ever more insolent manner. It was too much for one high-spirited young woman, who commenced to upbraid him for daring to touch her. At this critical moment a severe storm, that had been gathering since he appeared on the plaza, broke, and Toussaint, apparently regarding it as a sign of divine disapproval, ordered the children removed, then permitted the women to retire and finally sent the soldiers to their barracks, leaving the men to disperse of themselves.
Toussaint divided the Spanish part of the island into two departments, making his brother Paul l'Ouverture governor of the south with headquarters at Santo Domingo and General Clervaux governor of the Cibao, with headquarters at Santiago. He then made a journey through the country, being everywhere received by the frightened inhabitants with every mark of distinction. Upon his return to the French section he promulgated, in July, 1801, a constitution for the island, by which he was declared governor for life and commander-in-chief, with the right of appointing his successor and with an annual salary of 300,00 francs. At the same time he confiscated the property of persons who had emigrated.
Toussaint's constitution was a challenge to Napoleon Bonaparte, who having temporarily made peace with England, determined to reestablish French authority in the island. He accordingly dispatched to Santo Domingo a fleet with a well-equipped army of 25,000 men under his brother-in-law, General Le Clerc. Upon arriving in Samana Bay the force was divided into several bodies which were to operate in different parts of the island. The reconquest of the Spanish part was confided to Generals Kerverseau and Ferrand.
General Ferrand landed in Monte Cristi and without difficulty took possession of the Cibao while the colored chief, Clervaux, knowing the hostility of the population toward him, retired without giving battle. General Kerverseau took Samana by assault and then sailed for Santo Domingo City. The negro Governor Paul l'Ouverture prepared to resist, but a brave Dominican, Colonel Juan Baron, organized an insurrectionary force and placed himself in communication with Kerverseau. The first attempt at uprising was a failure, as his plans were betrayed, and a rough sea prevented the French from landing. His enemies took the opportunity to sack the town of San Carlos, outside the city gates, and to murder a number of Dominicans. Baron gathered a larger force and in unison with Kerverseau demanded the surrender of the city. Paul l'Ouverture reluctantly capitulated and the French thus assumed command of the Spanish portion of the island, with Kerverseau as governor. When Toussaint heard of what had occurred he ordered the murder of a battalion of Dominican soldiers whom he had retained as hostages.
The war waged between the French and the blacks in the old French Colony of St. Domingue was characterized by nameless atrocities committed on both sides. The last vestiges of former prosperity were swept away and the country converted into a wilderness. Toussaint was captured through treachery and died in a European prison, but yellow fever invaded the French ranks and did great havoc. Le Clerc died, and Rochambeau, his successor, was unable, even with reinforcements, to hold his own. England, again at war with France, impeded further reinforcements and actively assisted the insurgent negroes. Death by disease and wounds made the great French army melt away, and towards the end of 1803 the last remnant was forced off the island. On January 1, 1804, the negro generals proclaimed the island an independent republic under the name of Haiti, one of the island's Indian names. Jean Jacques Dessalines, a rough, illiterate negro, but of indefatigable energy, was made governor for life, with dictatorial powers. One of his first acts was to order the extermination of such whites as still remained. Dessalines a year later assumed the title of emperor.
Ferrand, the French general in the Cibao, conceived the project of disobeying his orders to evacuate and of trying to hold Spanish Santo Domingo for France. Finding that Kerverseau was ready to capitulate, he determined to assume command himself, feeling sure that the French government would approve his action, if his plans were successful. He therefore marched to Santo Domingo City and after a few days' parleying deposed Kerverseau, placed him aboard a vessel that carried him to Mayaguez, in Porto Rico, and assumed the governorship.
Dessalines did not long keep him waiting. Desiring to extend his authority over the whole island, and angered by an injudicious decree of Ferrand, which permitted the enslaving of Haitians of over fourteen years found beyond their frontier, he invaded the country with a horde of 25,000 men. The population of the border towns fled before him in terror, the very slaves remaining with their masters rather than join him. Victorious in an engagement on the Yaque river, he laid siege to the capital on March 5, 1805. In the meantime his lieutenant, Christophe, overran the Cibao, sacking the towns and committing horrors. Santiago was captured before the inhabitants had time to flee, and a large number were murdered by the savage invaders. The members of the municipal council were hung, naked, on the balcony of the city hall; the people who had sought refuge in the main church were put to the sword and their bodies mutilated; and the priest was burnt alive in the church, the furniture of the edifice constituting his funeral pyre.
Santo Domingo City had been placed in a state of defense and artillery mounted on the tower of Mercedes church and the roofs of the San Francisco and Jesuit churches. The garrison consisted of some 2,000 men, but to maintain these and the 6,000 inhabitants of the city as well as the refugees there were only limited supplies on hand. Food quickly ran low when, providentially, a French fleet appeared before the city. The admiral, who thought the entire island abandoned by the French, was delighted to find the French flag still flying and gladly rendered assistance. A desperate sortie was made on March 28, the twenty-third day of the siege, with such success that Dessalines precipitately retired, abandoning his stores. The main body of the Haitians retreated by way of the Cibao, the others through the south, all devastating the country as far as they could. Azua, San Jose de las Matas, Monte Plata, Cotui, San Francisco de Macoris, La Vega, Santiago and Monte Cristi were reduced to ashes. In Moca 500 inhabitants, deceived by the promises of Christophe, returned from their hiding places in the hills and assembled for divine service in the parish church, where they were butchered by the negro soldiers. In La Vega and Santiago the Haitian troops made prisoners of numerous families, aggregating 900 persons among men, women and children in La Vega and probably more in Santiago, and forced them to accompany the army to northern Haiti, where they were kept in captivity, working practically as slaves for their captors, for four years. The march was full of horrors for the poor prisoners, who were prohibited from wearing hats or shoes and were brutally treated by their guards.
As a civil administrator Ferrand did excellent work. He encouraged the resettlement of the abandoned fields, persuaded emigrated families to return, established schools and began to build water-works for the capital, a work which he nearly completed, but which was abandoned by his successors and has never been realized in the century that has since transpired. Napoleon on hearing of Ferrand's conduct not only approved everything he had done but sent him the cross of the Legion of Honor and financial assistance. Ferrand was especially impressed with the importance of Samana Bay and made plans for a city to be located west of the town of Samana, to which he intended to give the name of Napoleon. The peaceful conditions to which the country returned were only troubled by British vessels which occasionally attempted to establish blockades. On February 6, 1806, a British squadron of eight vessels under Sir John Duckworth badly defeated a French squadron, also of eight vessels, in a hotly contested fight off Point Palenque to the southwest of Santo Domingo City.
Although Ferrand was personally liked, discontent began to brew in the country. The inhabitants were loyal to Spain and chafed under foreign rule; many believed there was danger of Haitian invasion so long as the French remained; certain tax exactions stirred up animosity; and the stories of Spain's resistance to Napoleon's aggressions inflamed the spirits of the leading men. Conspiracies ensued, fomented principally by a Cotui planter named Juan Sanchez Ramirez, who had emigrated in 1803, but returned after four years of exile, and the Spanish flag was formally raised in Seibo in October, 1808. Ferrand immediately set out to quell the uprising and on November 7, 1808, met Sanchez Ramirez at Palo Hincado, about two miles west of Seibo. He was vigorously attacked by the revolutionists, his native troops deserted, and his other troops were cut to pieces. Seeing that all was lost and that all his work was ruined, Ferrand blew out his brains with a pistol.
The revolutionists received assistance from the governor-general of Porto Rico and from their former enemy Christophe, who had made himself king of northern Haiti; a British squadron took Samana, the only post held by the French outside of Santo Domingo City, and raised the Spanish flag; and Sanchez Ramirez laid siege to the capital, where the French general Barquier had assumed command, while British vessels blockaded it by sea. The siege lasted almost nine months, during which the besieged suffered greatly from want of provisions, being reduced to eating dogs and cats, and the surrounding country was devastated by sorties and foraging parties. The severest fighting took place about San Geronimo castle, on the shore three miles west of the city, which was taken and retaken. In the sixth and seventh months of the siege the city was repeatedly bombarded from land and sea, but without result. At length Sanchez applied to the governor of Jamaica and a British force under Sir Hugh Lyle Carmichael was sent to his assistance. It landed at Palenque and took up a position in San Carlos. A general assault had been determined upon, when the brave little defender of the city, realizing the hopelessness of further resistance, agreed to capitulate to the English. On July 9, 1809, the French flag was lowered and the country again became a dependency of Spain, and in 1814 Spain's dominion was confirmed by the treaty of Paris.
Spain had been busy fighting the French within her own borders, and when normal conditions were restored had her hands full in keeping order and in trying to bring her revolting colonies of America back to obedience. She had little time for affairs in Santo Domingo, and did nothing to ameliorate conditions. The colony was left to vegetate in absolute poverty. This second Spanish era came to be known as the period of "Espana boba," "stupid Spain," as the home government remained so indifferent to the colony's affairs. The only redeeming feature was the return of a number of exiled families. Sanchez Ramirez, who had been proclaimed governor-general, was confirmed in the office and held the same until his death in 1811, being succeeded by Spanish military officers.
In the first years of the new Spanish colony there was an undefined attempt at uprising on the part of a few white hotheads, and an attempt to incite the slaves against their masters on the part of a few black ones, but in both cases the ringleaders were captured and put to death. The great struggle for independence in South America gradually influenced the minds of the inhabitants of Santo Domingo; Bolivar's brief visit to Haiti also had its effect, and secret separatist societies began to be founded. In the beginning of 1821 a conspiracy was discovered and numerous arrests made. Plotting continued nevertheless, stimulated by a prominent lawyer, Jose Nunez de Caceres, who dreamed of making the country a state of Bolivar's Colombian Republic. On the night of November 30, 1821, the conspiracy culminated in an uprising in the capital; most of the troops had been won over to the cause of independence and offered no resistance; the rest were taken by surprise; and the revolutionists without difficulty made themselves masters of the gateway "Puerta del Conde" and of the other gates and forts. The Spanish governor was placed under arrest and put aboard a vessel sailing for Europe, and the Colombian flag was raised. Public proclamation was made of the independent and sovereign State of Spanish Haiti, affiliated with the Republic of Colombia, and Jose Nunez de Caceres assumed the office of political governor and president of the State, while the provincial assembly became a provisional junta of government.
The State of Spanish Haiti lasted barely nine weeks. An emissary sent to Colombia for assistance in maintaining independence was unsuccessful. Another emissary sent to President Boyer of Haiti, for the negotiation of a treaty, brought back the answer that "the whole island should constitute a single republic under the flag of Haiti." For several years Boyer, a dark mulatto, who had united Haiti under his rule, had been endeavoring to influence the colored people on the Spanish side of the border, to such an extent that the activities of his agents repeatedly provoked protests from the Spanish governors, and he now recognized that his opportunity had come. Invading the country in the north and south his forces captured the most important points. He met with no resistance, due to the fact that the temporary government was entirely unprepared, that the population feared a repetition of the horrors of 1805, and that many were in sympathy with him while others were indifferent. On February 9, 1822, Nunez de Caceres was obliged to deliver the keys of Santo Domingo City to the invader and the whole island came under the dominion of Haiti.
The twenty-two years of Haitian rule marked a period of social and economic retrogression for the old Spanish portion of the island. Most of the whites, especially the more prominent families, the principal representatives of the community's wealth and culture, definitely abandoned the country, some immediately upon the advent of the Haitians, others in 1824, when a hopeless conspiracy in favor of a restoration of Spanish rule was quenched in blood, and others in 1830, when a quixotic demand of the Spanish king for a return of his domain was refused by Boyer. The Haitians, anxious to eliminate the whites, encouraged such emigration and confiscated the property left by the emigrants. The policy of the Haitian government was to build up a strong African state in the whole island, and in pursuance of this policy it emancipated all slaves, colonized Haitian negroes on the Samana peninsula and in other parts of the Spanish-speaking territory and brought in colored people from the United States. Some of these remained in Puerto Plata, others in Santo Domingo City, but the larger number settled on the Samana peninsula, where their descendants still form the bulk of the population. Every effort was made to Haitianize the country by extending the Haitian laws, and imposing Haitian governors. Representation was also accorded in the Haitian congress. In 1825 the French government recognized the independence of the French part of the island in consideration of the payment of an indemnity, toward which the Haitians forced the Spanish part to contribute.
The wanton acts of the Haitian authorities, their hostility to whites and lighter colored mulattoes, their opposition to the Spanish language and customs, and their neglect of the country's development, caused much discontent, and the idea of separating from Haiti began to be entertained. An enthusiastic young man, Juan Pablo Duarte, who had been educated in Europe, in 1838 founded a secret revolutionary society, called "La Trinitaria," to work for the country's independence. In May, 1842, an earthquake destroyed Santiago and La Vega, as well as Cape Haitien and other towns in the western part of the island, and with lesser earthquakes which followed caused a panic throughout the country, which in turn made conditions more favorable for a change of government.
In the meantime opposition to Boyer had spread in Haiti also, and in 1843 gave rise to a revolution, as a result of which Boyer was driven from the country and Charles Herard installed as dictator-president. Duarte redoubled his activities for independence, struggling against the opinion of many who thought such an aspiration hopeless, but his plans were discovered and he and others obliged to flee. His work had been well done, however; his ideas continued to spread, and it was determined to proclaim the independence of Santo Domingo on February 27, 1844. Late that night a large group of Dominicans under Francisco del Rosario Sanchez appeared at the principal gateway of Santo Domingo City, "Puerta del Conde," and received the surrender of the guard, and on the following morning the Dominican flag, as designed by Duarte, was waving over the gate.
Dessalines, the emperor of Haiti, had adopted red and blue, two of the colors of the French Republic's flag, for the flag of Haiti, leaving out white, because to this hated color he attributed all the misfortunes of his country and his race. Duarte took the Haitian colors, arranged them in four alternate squares and placed a white cross in the center to signify the union of the races through Christianity and civilization.
The other points of vantage were quickly occupied and the Haitian general, finding himself shut up in the fort "La Fuerza" without hope of successful resistance, surrendered and was permitted to withdraw with his officers. On the same day or within a few days afterward the flag of the new republic was raised in every town of the old Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, except certain towns in the west which are still in possession of the Haitians, and the country entered upon the period of independence.
HISTORICAL SKETCH.—FIRST REPUBLIC AND SPANISH ANNEXATION.—1844 TO 1865.
Constitution of the government.—Santana's first administration.—Wars with the Haitians.—Administration of Jimenez.—Victory of Las Carreras.—Baez' first administration.—Santana's second administration.—Repulse of Soulouque.—Baez' second administration. —Period of the two governments.—Santana's third administration. —Annexation negotiations.—Annexation to Spain.—War of the Restoration.
Immediately upon the declaration of independence a central council of government was formed for the provisional administration of the country's affairs. The new republic assumed the name of Dominican Republic and the people were thenceforth known as Dominicans. The first business before the central council of government was to prepare for the defense of the territory against the Haitian president, Herard, who was advancing with an army to reestablish his authority. An encounter took place near Azua, in which the Dominican forces, under General Pedro Santana, were victorious, but instead of following up his victory, Santana fell back on Bani and permitted the enemy to occupy Azua. In the meantime another Haitian army was advancing in the north. In the midst of his operations Herard was interrupted by the news of a revolutionary movement against him in Haitian territory, and hastily recalling his troops, retired to combat it, burning Azua and devastating the country through which he passed.
Many prominent Dominicans were in doubt as to whether the republic would be able to maintain a stable government and resist the incursions of the Haitians, and believed that the best course for the safety and prosperity of the country would be to seek the protection of a foreign power. These men, who came to be known as conservatives and who counted Santana among their number, began to spread their doctrines and were bitterly opposed by a different element, calling themselves liberals, among whom were Duarte, returned from exile, and the members of the central council of government. A number of prominent conservatives were obliged to go into hiding in order to escape imprisonment, and the central council of government appointed Duarte its representative in the north and ordered that General Francisco del Rosario Sanchez supersede Santana in command of the troops in the south. Duarte was proclaimed president of the republic by the people of the north, but Santana's soldiers refusing to recognize any other leader, marched on the capital, which they entered on July 12, 1844, and deposed the central council of government, declaring Santana chief of state with dictatorial powers. Thus the unhappy series of revolutions which have done such harm to the Dominican Republic was inaugurated within five months after the declaration of independence.
Santana organized a new central council of government and sent emissaries to the Cibao, or northern part of the republic, where he won over the army and the principal leaders. Duarte, Sanchez and others who had risked their lives and spent their fortunes in behalf of Dominican independence were arrested, imprisoned in irons in the ancient "Tower of Homage" of Santo Domingo and exiled as traitors to their country!
A constitutional convention was called, which met at San Cristobal and drafted the first constitution of the Republic, taking the constitution of the United States as a model. It was promulgated on November 6, 1844. In accordance with a provision of the constitution that the convention elect the president for the first two terms, General Santana was chosen, as was to be expected. General Pedro Santana, who thus became the first constitutional president, was a rough, uncouth and uneducated man, but possessed of keen perception and great personal bravery. He had a strong strain of negro and probably also of Indian blood. Born in Hincha, he had left his native town during the troubles of the early part of the century and settled in the province of Seibo, where he acquired an ascendency over the population that made him a kind of local demigod.
Conspiracies against Santana's government were immediately set on foot by the liberals, but were discovered and three ringleaders were executed on the first anniversary of the Republic's independence. In the spring of 1845 the first Congress met and proceeded to organize the government.
In the meantime a guerilla warfare had been going on with the Haitians along the border, and President Pierrot, who had overthrown Herard, was preparing to invade the Dominican Republic. His two armies were at first successful and captured several border towns, but that which entered in the south was repulsed at Estrelleta, while that which invaded the north was defeated at Beler. A small Haitian fleet which set out to attack Puerto Plata blundered on a shoal where it was left high and dry and captured by the Dominicans.
Steps were now taken to secure the recognition of the republic by foreign powers. The government soon found itself in financial difficulties, as it was expensive to maintain the country in a state of defense against the Haitians, and an issue of paper money without sufficient guarantees made matters worse. Revolutionary mutterings were heard, and though a number of leaders were shot, the public discontent grew greater and more apparent. Santana comprehended the situation and determined to resign the presidency, which he did on August 4, 1848. The cabinet officers temporarily carried on the government and called an election, as a result of which General Manuel Jimenez, who had fought the Haitians and had been secretary of war under Santana, was declared president, entering upon office on September 8, 1848.
In his efforts to face the economic troubles of the government Jimenez disbanded part of the army and reduced military expenses. The moment was inopportune, for the implacable Haitians, who continued to consider Santo Domingo as Haitian territory in revolt, were preparing for another invasion. Soulouque, who had attained the presidency of the black republic, made a sudden incursion and marched victoriously as far as Azua. The Dominican government observed a vacillating policy which provoked general distrust and protests from the friends of Santana, whose partisans in the Congress called on him to take command of the army. Jimenez at first demurred but finally consented, and Santana, emerging from retirement, collected a few hundred ragged troops at Sabana Buey, near Azua. Soulouque attempted to move eastward by way of the canon of El Numero, but was prevented by a Dominican force under General Duverge; he then tried the pass of Las Carreras and was met and utterly defeated on April 21, 1849, by General Santana. The Haitians retreated to their own territory, burning Azua and other towns on the way. Quarrels between President Jimenez and Congress continued meanwhile, and his opponents induced the army to declare itself against the president and request General Santana "not to lay down his arms until a government was established which would respect the constitution and the laws and forever banish discord from Dominican soil." The Congress called the president to appear before it, and some of the officers of his staff, hearing him harshly criticised, drew swords and pistols to punish the offending congressman, and only the energy of the speaker, Buenaventura Baez, averted a bloody conflict. Congress adjourned to San Cristobal, the most important towns of the country rose against the administration, and Santana laid siege to the capital. After the siege had lasted a week, and the suburban town of San Carlos had been destroyed by fire, President Jimenez yielded to the arguments of the British, French and American consuls and agreed to resign the presidency and leave the country on a British warship. Santana entered the city at the head of his army on May 30, 1849, and assumed the reins of government, one of his first measures being a wholesale expulsion of Jimenez followers. He was crowned with honors by Congress and given the title of "Libertador."