BECK index

Haiti & Dominican Republic 1850-1935

by Sanderson Beck

   Haiti of Geffrard & Salomon 1850-88
   Haiti of Hyppolite, Sam & Military 1888-1915
   Haiti’s US Occupation & Independence 1915-35
   Dominican Republic & Báez  1850-79
   Dominican Republic & Heureaux 1879-1911
   Dominican Republic &  US Occupation 1912-35

Haiti of Geffrard & Salomon 1850-88

Haiti’s Slave Revolution 1749-1817
Haiti & Santo Domingo 1817-50

      Haiti’s President Faustin-Élie Soulouque proclaimed himself Emperor Faustin in 1849. He led another attack on Santa Domingo in December 1855, and they were repelled and turned north. On 24 January 1856 the Dominicans defeated them at Savana Larga, and Faustin left Santo Domingo. A world depression in 1857-58 affected the sale of coffee and cotton, and Haiti became bankrupt again. On 20 December 1858 the mulatto General Fabre Geffrard, his son, and two friends escaped from Port-au-Prince, and two days later a revolutionary committee proclaimed Haiti a republic under the Constitution of 1846. The next day Geffrard became President, and he was supported by the Artibonite department and the North. Emperor Faustin marched north, and his imperial navy bombarded St. Marc, but two days later he withdrew to Port-au-Prince. He abdicated on 15 January 1859 and left on a British ship one week later.
      Fabre Geffrard was inaugurated as President of Haiti on 23 January 1859. The first thing he did was reduce the army from 30,000 men to 15,000. In February he negotiated a five-year détente with the Dominican Republic’s President Santana. In June he founded a national law school, and he improved the medical school. On July 18 the Constitution of 1846 was reinstated, and Geffrard was made President for life. Emperor Faustin’s Interior Minister Guerrier Prophète had gone over to Geffrard and retained his office. Geffrard organized secret police. When they discovered that Prophète was conspiring against him, he was sent into exile on September 3. On the 12th they caught the murderer Timoléon Vanon who named 900 accomplices including 70 who were in prison. They convicted 23 conspirators, and 16 were shot in public.
      In 1860 President Geffrard sent the Catholic plenipotentiaries Pierre Faubert and J.-P. Boyer to Rome, and a concordat was signed on March 28, ending a long schism. In November 1861 the former French army chaplain, Msgr. Testard du Cosquer, was sent as the Apostolic Delegate to Haiti. In May 1861 the black Episcopal priest James Theodore Holly led about 200 African-Americans from New Haven, Connecticut to Haiti.
      The United States and President Lincoln recognized the independence of Haiti and Liberia on 5 June 1862, and the first envoy Benjamin Whidden arrived on September 27. That year Haiti made a treaty of friendship and trade with Liberia, and they began diplomatic relations in 1864. President Geffrard during the United States Civil War allowed the US Navy to use a coaling-station at Cap-Haïtien for its West India Squadron. Because of that war the value of Haiti’s cotton exports went from $144,000 in 1861 to $2,892,000 in 1864; but after the war the crops failed, and Haiti went back to truck-farming. Haiti’s deficit was 2 million gourdes in 1859, and by 1865 it was four times that. Haiti printed more paper money, and some of it was taken by high officials.
      On 14 January 1862 Spain issued a Royal Order evicting Haitians from the border region. While Dominicans led by Santiago Rodríguez were rebelling against Spain in 1863, President Geffrard dissolved Haiti’s legislature on June 3. On October 10 he revived the colonial corvée so that citizens would be required to help build roads. He purchased three small steamboats for the government and five merchant coasters as a public subsidy for the Haitian company. The new legislators raised the President’s salary to $50,000 a year, and they gave Geffrard two plantations.
      During President Geffrard’s eight years there were 15 coup attempts against him. Uprisings had been suppressed in Gonaïves in November 1861, near Torbeck in May 1862, in the Artibonite in June 1863, at Port-au-Prince’s arsenal in April 1864, and the piquets began a persistent insurrection in 1865 in the Plaine des Cayes. On 18 February 1865 a fire in Port-au-Prince destroyed 350 shops and houses on Grande Avenue. In 1865 Haiti’s government spent 100 million gourdes and suppressed the Dominican revolt at the Cap.
      On November 7 two British steamers arrived at Port-au-Prince, took on board the British Minister Spencer St. John, and headed for the Cap. The next day he sent an ultimatum to Major Sylvain Salnave, and he and other Dominican leaders surrendered on the H.M.S. Galatea. At the Cap the two British warships demolished the forts and batteries, supporting Geffrard’s six-month siege. Major Salnave and other leaders boarded the USS DeSoto and were taken to Montecristi. On 19 March 1866 a fire in Port-au-Prince burned about 800 houses and businesses downtown. Another revolt in Gonaïves on July 5 was suppressed. On September 18 an arsenal in Port-au-Prince with 30,000 pounds of gunpowder exploded and destroyed 200 houses.
      Crop failures in 1865 and 1866 had devastated the economy, and in early 1867 Geffrard’s government could not get a loan. On February 22 a mutiny by Tiraillers attacked the palace, and President Geffrard and his three sons-in-law fought back. A mob shouting for Salnave stormed Fort National. The next day government forces regained Fort National and surrounded rebels in Fort Lamarre. President Geffrard appointed a new cabinet on March 8, and five days later he escaped with his family on a ship going to Jamaica.
      Victor Chevallier and his confederates were supported by Nissage-Saget and Léon Montas, and they had forced Geffrard to leave. On March 20 their Arbonite army reached Port-au-Prince. They abolished the Senate and the previous regime. Nissage became provisional President, and Chevallier took the title chef d’exécution.
      Major Salnave gathered an army of 4,000 men and marched south, and they reached the capital on April 20. Crowds cheered “Salnave President!” He ordered the arrest of Léon Montas, and he took the oath of office as President on June 14, the day the 1867 Constitution was ratified.
      Rebels called Cacos began with twenty men and gained more recruits in the fall. Cacos ambushed Salnave’s army and killed more than 200. Salnave consulted his generals and issued a manifesto at Trou on 22 April 1868 that set aside the constitution and assumed “all powers exercised by his predecessors.” They faced four insurrections, and on April 25 Nissage claimed he was general-in-chief of the Artibonite and provisional president of the Republic of the North. Salnave went with troops on a steamer to Gonaïves. On May 2 in Port-au-Prince the elite launched a coup and let youths sack businesses. At the end of May the Cacos surrounded the capital and attacked. Nissage besieged Gonaïves in April 1868, and Salnave built up his navy.
      In 1869 Haiti was divided into three states with the Republic of the North, the State of the South with its capital Les Cayes, and Salnave’s Republic. He aimed to conquer the South at sea but lost his two ships in May. He waited for the Pétion that arrived with a crew of American filibusters at Port-au-Prince. That ship helped Salnave defeat the rebels, and the Cacos withdrew. His fleet besieged Cayes on 4 February 1869, and on October 31 he withdrew to Port-au-Prince. He decided to attack the army of Chevallier at Jacmel. Chevallier with his entire army joined the Cacos on November 4. That month a legislative council made Salnave president for life. He tried to defend Port-au-Prince while the supply of food was diminishing. An army of 1,200 men arrived on December 19, and their ships bombarded the palace. The powder magazine exploded, and Salnave fled. He managed to get to the Dominican Republic, but General José Cabral handed him over to the Haitians. On December 27 the triumvirate of Nissage, Domingue, and Pierre Nord Alexis proclaimed a provisional government in Haiti. A court martial sentenced Salnave to death, and he was executed on 15 January 1870.
      On March 20 Jean-Nicholas Nissage-Saget was made President of Haiti for four years. After a failed attempt on 2 February 1871 to take over the Port-au-Prince arsenal, 21 conspirators were tried, convicted, and were given nominal sentences. Jean-Joseph Audain on April 6 in his Gazette du Peuple wrote,

For 68 years, ever since our existence,
what have we accomplished? Nothing, or almost nothing.
Our constitutions are defective, our laws have holes in them,
our custom-houses are maladministered,
our navy is detestable, our finances are rotten;
our policies are ill organized, our army is in pitiful condition;
the legislative function is not understood and never will be;
primary elections are neglected
and people fail to see their importance;
public buildings are in ruins;
public education all but abandoned.1

On November 6 a fire burned downtown Port-au-Prince, and the National Palace was set on fire on 9 February 1872. At night on 3 March 1873 Gallumette Michel led about 30 black rebels in Gonaïves, and they seized the powder magazine at Fort Bauteau. The people in the town killed the 16 leaders. A month later Nissage stopped the continuing arrests and executions.
      Nissage-Saget was a constitutional and philosophical president, and he endorsed Michel Domingue as his successor. The Liberals had a majority in the legislature, and they wanted Momplaisir Pierre, the candidate chosen by Boyer-Bazelais. On his last day in office on 13 May 1874 President Nissage appointed Michel Domingue the commander-in-chief of the army. The next day several thousand of his troops entered the city. The Constituent Assembly elected Domingue the President, and he was inaugurated on June 14. On August 6 his term was extended to eight years, and his nephew Septimus Rameau became Vice President with executive power. The Assembly approved a loan of 3 million gourdes. In May 1875 they sent out the garrison to arrest as dangerous the young general Brice, Momplaisir Pierre, and Boisrond-Canal.
      On 7 March 1876 General Louis Tanis, who commanded at Jacmel, announced that he opposed the government. That day a filibustering expedition from St. Thomas landed at Jacmel and was cheered. While the government had troops fighting at Jacmel, a revolt began at Trou in the North on April 1. St. Marc led by Lorquet joined them on April 12. When Lorquet reached Cabaret, Rameau ordered all hostages killed; but instead the jailers released the inmates. Rameau announced that the government was moving to Les Cayes. On April 15 Rameau and his men began looting the Trésor at Croix-des-Missions. Rameau returned to the National Palace where he, President Domingue, and their families were trapped by a hostile mob. Rameau was carrying much gold, and he stumbled and fell and was killed by the crowd. Domingue escaped.
      On April 17 Pierre Théoma Boisrond-Canal arrived from Jamaica, and on April 23 he became Provisional President. Lysius Salomon came to Port-au-Prince on May 12. He wanted to avoid a civil war between blacks and mulattoes, and he agreed to withdraw to Jamaica. Pierre Nord Alexis secured the North, and on June 17 he revolted by proclaiming decentralization which implied secession. President Boisrond-Canal moved two columns toward the Cap and one to Gonaïves, and he let Nord Alexis leave the American consulate and the country. Germany sent Dr. Bernhardt Graser as a diplomat. On July 4 Cacos rebelled again in the North.
      In January 1879 President Boisrond-Canal held elections for the National Assembly. On February 7 the Artibonite warlord Montmorency Benjamin with Cacos took over Gonaïves without a fight. Jean-Pierre Boyer-Bazelais, Hannibal Price, and Edmond Paul led about 500 Liberals in a revolt against the Liberal mulattoes. Two Bazelais brothers were killed, and Boisrond-Canal on July 3 used artillery to cover sappers setting the Bazelais house on fire. The fire spread to government buildings, and more than 150 people were killed including some Congressmen. On July 17 President Boisrond-Canal and his family left on a French steamer for St. Thomas. The insurrection went on until Gonaïves was burned down on August 17.
      Lysius Salomon returned on August 19. Elections were arranged to fill the vacant legislature, and on September 29 the Liberals were defeated. Joseph Lamothe was a provisional president of Haiti for 68 days. Then the legislature by a 74-13 vote elected Lysius Salomon as President, and he was inaugurated on October 26. J. C. Dorsainvil noted that Salomon was not an ignorant noir (black) and he described him,

Salomon was a statesman of remarkable intelligence
and education, honorable,
who knew his people and his country from top to bottom,
who won over every crowd, and, despite his age,
a man of uncommon will power and uncommon energy.2

On November 30 Salomon informed Haitians that their credit was ruined, and in March 1880 the Assembly approved a national bank to attract foreign capital. In July he resumed the payments to France, and by the end of his presidency in 1888 they would be paid off. On April 5 he had Pierre Nord Alexis and other opponents arrested. Haiti in June authorized its first postage stamps. Salomon reorganized the military and increased them to 16,000 men. He warned against revolutions that had “debased and destroyed the vitals of the nation.”
      Port-au-Prince had four fires in the summer of 1881. In December a smallpox epidemic began, and it went on with scarlet fever and typhoid until May 1882. The arsenal at St. Marc was seized on 8 December 1881. President Salomon declared a state of siege in Port-au-Prince, and he had hundreds arrested including 48 who had taken St. Marc. He reprieved 20, and 28 were shot in May 1882. In a speech on April 23 he had appealed for support in his work of pacification, saying, “Be My disciples, preach to all: Peace, Union, and Concord.”3
      A Liberal insurrection began on 23 March 1883 when an American steamer with 700 Haitian exiles met with a British ship from Jamaica. They landed on March 27 armed with 12-shot repeating carbines. Salomon had received a shipment of Gatling guns and repeating rifles from Remington and Winchester. When Salomon received a warning from representatives of France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Holland, Norway, and Sweden, he stopped the disturbance. Boyer-Bazelais died of dysentery on October 27. Many people died in these battles of 1883. On 6 October 1884 an American banknote company agreed to print 2 million gourdes for $45,000. In March 1885 the United States warned France that the protection of the Monroe Doctrine covered Haiti.
      Lysius Salomon was re-elected President on 30 June 1886 for a seven-year term. After a rebellion in Port-au-Prince in 1887 government officials withdrew their support from Salomon, and he resigned on 10 August 1988. He returned to Paris where he died on October 19.

Haiti of Hyppolite, Sam & Military 1888-1915

      On 14 August 1888 Séïde Télémaque moved into Gonaïve, and the next day the S.S. Albo arrived at Port-au-Prince from Kingston with the noir (black) François Denys Légitime who had gone into exile two months earlier. Télémaque marched south with his army and entered the capital Port-au-Prince on August 23. Télémaque, Légitime, and Boisrond-Canal soon agreed on a seven-man provisional government that also included the Capois noir Florvil Hyppolite. They canceled the Constitution of 1867 and set elections for a Constituent Assembly for September 17. Télémaque with the North, Northwest, and Artibonite won easily, and Légitime got a mulatto majority in his native South with support also from the West. Fighting broke out on September 28, and that night Télémaque advanced toward the palace. He was seriously wounded and died shortly after midnight.
      On October 16 the noir Nationalist Légitime gathered 33 of the 84 Constituent delegates who elected him the Chief of Executive Power. He declared a blockade of the Cap, Gonaïves, and St. Marc and ordered 10,000 muskets from the United States. Hyppolite was a Nationalist and had been Minister of War under Salnave. Légitime had weapons and the Navy while Hyppolite, who opposed oligarchy, had none. Haitians on October 21 seized the American ocean-liner S.S. Haytian Republic off St. Marc. That ship previously had transported rebels and delivered arms and cargo. On November 27 the “Revolutionary Committee of the North” proclaimed the République Septentrionale as a provisional government with Hyppolite as their president.
      The Constituent Assembly on December 16 enacted a new constitution and elected François Denys Légitime president for seven years. Légitime crossed the Upper Artibonite and entered the plains by a mountain pass. In January 1889 Anselme Prophete seized Marmelade, and in early April he led 300 men and attacked a village in his birthplace at Trou du Nord. Then he retreated to Port-au-Prince. Anselme Prophete on June 3 left to travel abroad. Hyppolite returned to the Cap and commanded some United States forces. He gained support from the old warlord Numa Rabel and General Antoine Simon, the noir chief at Cayes in July. Hyppolite sent diplomats with terms to Légitime who received them on August 22. Men with modern rifles threatened Légitime in the streets, and he fled on a ship to Paris.
      On October 9 Hyppolite was elected President of Haiti for a seven-year term, and he took the oath on the 17th. Anténor Firmin and the lawyer Léger Cauvin wrote a democratic constitution based on those from 1879 and 1846. Firmin was appointed Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs, and Cauvin became Minister of Justice. Dantès Rameau was named the Minister of Public Instruction.
      The United States President Benjamin Harrison replaced Ambassador John E. W. Thompson with Frederick Douglass who presented himself to President Hyppolite on November 5. Since 1868 the Americans had wanted to use the St. Nicolas Môle for the US Navy. On 25 January 1891 Admiral Gherardi arrived with three ships, and he sent for the ambassador. Douglass had received instructions to negotiate for the Môle while on leave in Washington in 1890. He advised that Haitians were sensitive and united against ceding any territory to any foreign power or giving them a foothold. Douglass at a meeting in the palace with Hyppolite, Firmin, and Gherardi made the US case for a lease of the Môle. Hyppolite said he would grant the lease if it was ratified by the legislative chambers. On February 16 Firmin challenged Gherardi’s credentials because they were not signed by President Harrison. On April 18 Gherardi had new credentials when four more new US Navy ships arrived. Douglass warned that war vessels were a “detriment.” Four days later Firmin said no to the lease because Haiti’s Constitution did not allow alienating sovereignty. Admiral Gherardi left with his three ships on April 27. Firmin resigned on May 3, and Douglass, who had been blamed by some of the American public, left on May 9.
      On May 28 President Hyppolite was attending mass in the cathedral when an uprising began in the city. Rebels attacked a prison and then went to the arsenal and the palace. Hyppolite ordered a counter-attack, and at least 150 conspirators were killed. He learned of another plot among the Presidential Guard and removed them in June 1892. Hyppolite promoted public works and new buildings, and the public debt increased from $4.4 million in 1891 to $25 million in 1895. He used local warlords called “military deputies” to control the country. On the night of 15-16 March 1896 Mérisier Jeannis led an attack on the arsenal at Jacmel. President Hyppolite was not in good health. On a stallion he led the cavalry on March 24. Suddenly he had a stroke, and Hyppolite died as he fell from the horse.
      The Minister of War, Tirésias Simon Sam, was Salomon’s nephew and Télémaque’s brother-in-law. Three mulattoes wanted Boisrond-Canal; but a faction of pro-French noirs prevailed, and the Assembly elected Simon Sam the President on 31 March 1896. He continued the public works projects. Haiti suffered from epidemics of yellow fever in November and in 1897. Imperialistic Germans insulted and threatened them, and President Simon Sam asked for support from the United States Navy. On 4 December 1897 he even warned that he would return to the mountains and let Port-au-Prince no longer exist.
      In 1899 and 1900 a complicated scheme to consolidate the floating debt was exploited with double payments to Simon Sam, his family, the ministers, and their French and German accomplices that amounted to peculation totaling $1,257,993. In 1900 Sam signed a reciprocity treaty with France. He followed the Constitution and resigned on 12 May 1902.
      Haiti’s Admiral Hammerton Killick supported the well-educated Anténor Firmin and had acquired several thousand new Remingtons and much ammunition from the arsenal. Boisrond-Canal persuaded Firmin and Pierre Nord Alexis to come to Port-au-Prince alone. On May 26 Boisrond-Canal was proclaimed the Provisional President. On June 27 Admiral Killick ordered shelling of the Cap and landed a force on shore. Pierre Nord Alexis led troops who chased the sailors off the beach while he sent men to Firmin’s home. Much destruction occurred during this short civil war. The forces of Nord Alexis defeated the revolutionaries. Killick sent his remaining men ashore, and on September 6 he blew himself up on his ship. Boisrond-Canal served as Provisional President, and Nord Alexis was Minister of War and the Navy. On October 17 Firmin left and returned to St. Thomas. Eventually the 82-year-old Nord Alexis marched south, and he entered Port-au-Prince on December 14. Three days later the Army proclaimed him President, and the Assembly approved that unanimously on the 21st.
      In June 1903 the government distributed handbills condemning Syrians as “birds of prey” who must be expelled. They were excluded from naturalization, and soldiers burned and plundered the homes and shops of Syrians. In March 1905 the government ordered all Syrian businesses closed, and their owners were expelled in April. That year only 30,000 students were in school out of 653,754 school-age children. President Nord Alexis had the corrupt politicians prosecuted for their peculation in the consolidation of 1899-1900. In 1905 he revoked the Bank’s charter. More political trials occurred in the fall of 1907, and those convicted were executed publicly on October 15.
      Dr. Louis-Joseph Janvier was a journalist, a novelist, and Haiti’s best constitutional lawyer. He had been Minister to Britain 1894-1903. On 3 January 1908 he was arrested, dragged in the streets, beaten, and imprisoned. He promised to recall his electioneering pamphlet, and that saved his life. He died in Paris in March 1911. Fifteen relatives or godchildren of Nord Alexis gained positions in the elections. Firminist bands in the North were waiting for the weapons and for Jean-Jumeau to lead them. The United States Secret Service had captured Anténor Firmin’s 2,000 rifles, 100,000 cartridges, and $400,000 in New York. Nord Alexis sent soldiers led by Cincinnatus Leconte on the relief ships, and they marched on Gonaïves. Firmin had no weapons. Yet Jean-Jumeau armed 500 men with swords and machetes, and they marched on Marchand (Dessaliens). They were defeated, and Jean-Jumeau was found and killed. The pogrom against the elite finally ended with a rampage on 16 March 1908. In early July a fire destroyed 1,200 houses in Port-au-Prince, and four days later most of the Grand Rue was burned.
      On November 15 President Nord Alexis dismissed General François Antoine Simon, his commander at Cayes. General Simon organized a march eastward, and on the 27th the government’s army retreated. Panic spread to Port-au-Prince, and by December 2 the regiments on the way to the capital had joined the revolution. Everyone deserted the palace except Nord Alexis and a few servants. General Antoine Simon arrived on December 5, and the next day the Liberal Party proclaimed him the Chief of Executive Power. In the Senate on December 19 François Antoine Simon took the oath as the President. He appointed Joseph Jérémie the Minister of War and Dr. Edmond Héraux the Foreign Minister. In March 1910 disturbances led to the editors of Le Bon Sens and L’Impartial being imprisoned in chains. President Simon traveled the country by train, and on July 4 a head-on collision with another train killed ten people and injured 20.
      On 11 January 1911 the Americans gained financial power in Haiti when they got 50% control in the new Banque Nationale de la République d’Haiti (BNRH). Cincinnatus Leconte on July 24 returned to his native Cap and was proclaimed “Supreme Chief of the Revolution.” Gonaïves and St. Marc were already in the revolution, and Les Cayes revolted on August 1. That month the Assembly gave Simon a testimonial grant of $50,000 in gold to buy another plantation. Leconte arrived in Port-au-Prince and was proclaimed chef du pouvoir exécutif at Fort National before Firmin came back on August 7. One week later the Congress unanimously elected Leconte the President of Haiti for a seven-year term, though he would serve a little less than one year. He continued the persecution of Syrian immigrants, though he recognized the claims of Syrians against the government of Nord Alexis.
      On 3 April 1912 the USS Washington brought the US Secretary of State Philander Knox to Port-au-Prince. He was on a tour of Caribbean nations informing them of the approaching opening of the Panama Canal, and he warned President Leconte,

A community liable to be torn by internal dissension
or checked in its progress by the consequences
of nonfulfillment of international obligations is
not in a good position to deserve and reap the benefits.4

On the night of August 7 a tremendous explosion of gun-powder destroyed the National Palace and one million rounds of ammunition, and it killed President Leconte and several hundred soldiers.
      Tancrède Auguste had been Minister of the Interior and the Police under President Simon Sam, and the National Assembly elected Auguste the President. He appointed the noir Tertullien Guilbaud the Minister Plenipotentiary in Paris, and he wrote in his poem, La Patrie, “If you wish for liberty, put your son in school!”5
      The British explorer Harry H. Johnston had visited Haiti in 1910, and he wrote, “The plain fact remains that something like 2,500,000 out of 3,000,000 Haitians cannot read or write, and are as ignorant as unreclaimed natives of Africa.”6 He noted that some are highly educated in Paris, and he advised that even their superior education is very impractical especially in agriculture, forestry, zoology, botany, mineralogy, and bacteriology. President Auguste became ill with anemia and died on 2 May 1913.
      President Michel Oreste was popular and an intelligent lawyer, and he was President from 4 May 1913 to 27 January 1914. He aimed to reform the army, remove paper money, and improve rural education. His efforts were opposed by many especially Cacos and the Zamor family. The legislature appropriated $350,000 to rebuild the National Palace. The Zamors led a revolution. Charles Zamor returned from exile and landed at the Cap on January 27, and his army marched to the capital without resistance. When President Michel Oreste learned that St. Marc had joined the revolution, he resigned and departed on a German warship.
      General Orestes Zamor led an army into Port-au-Prince on February 8, the day the National Assembly elected him President. The police force no longer functioned, and there was much confusion in the government. The US Minister Madison Smith advised President Zamor that the United States would recognize him if he accepted American aid with the customs administration and lighthouses. The US promised they would not let any other nation use the Môle. Jacques Nicolas Léger had been the Minister in Washington for 13 years and was Minister of the Interior 1911-13. He suggested opening proper channels with the United States, and on March 1 the US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan recognized the Haitian government. After Oreste Zamor’s soldiers abandoned him at Ennery, he and his brother Charles left on a German ship on October 25.
      On November 6 Davilmar Théodore arrived on a train and was welcomed by the bells of Port-au-Prince. The next day the National Assembly unanimously elected him President. The Wilson Administration sent instructions to their US Ambassador Arthur Bailly-Blanchard with demands on customs, railroads, the Banque, the Môle,, and private American claims. President Théodore had five different Finance Ministers in five months. New York officials of the Banque withdrew $500,000 from Port-au-Prince. On December 17 United States Marines landed and went to the Banque to retrieve gold and ship it back to New York. Six days later the Haitian government refused to continue treasure service to the Banque. On November 28 soldiers came in and removed $66,910 in gold. In 1914 the United States State Department invested $1.7 billion in Latin America with only $4 million going to Haiti.
      On 1 January 1915 the United States replaced France as the protector of Haiti’s Banque, and on January 29 Haiti defaulted on its financial obligations. Vilbrun Guillaume Sam’s Cacos approached St. Marc on February 17. Port-au-Prince was surrounded on the 21st, and the next day President Théodore resigned. On February 25 Guillaume Sam entered the capital. The National Assembly met on March 4 and ratified his presidency. Rosalvo Bobo and Desiderio Arias led an invasion in March. In April they took over Fort Liberté, and Guillaume Sam’s advance guard entered the Cap. Haiti’s army in the North was costing the government $140,000 per week.
      President Wilson’s envoy Paul Fuller arrived in May and proposed a treaty with Haiti. When Haiti refused to grant the United States the power to intervene in their affairs, Fuller left on June 5. The USS Washington arrived at Cap Haitien on July 1, and the Rear Admiral Caperton thanked the French Captain of the Descartes for intervening. Caperton found that the French were eager for the Americans to take over the intervention. On July 27 President Guillaume Sam had 167 political prisoners executed. On the next day a mob invaded the French legation and took Sam, killed him, and dismembered his body. From 1843 to 1915 Haiti suffered at least 102 civil wars, revolutions, insurrections, revolts, and coups. The United States Navy sent warships into Haitian waters in 28 of those years and in every year from 1902 to 1915 except 1910. The US Marines were sent on shore on 28 July 1915.

Haiti’s US Occupation & Independence 1915-35

      The US Admiral Caperton asked for reinforcements, and on 4 August 1915 the USS Connecticut brought five more companies of Marines. Then on the 15th the USS Tennessee arrived with Col. Littleton W. T. Waller who commanded 2,029 Marines. On August 12 Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave became President, and he served until May 1922. Dr. Rosalvo Bobo, who had considered himself the Chief of Executive Power, resigned. Dartiguenave had said he was willing to be loyal to Rosalvo Bobo if he was elected. Bobo said that if he was not elected, he would consider the presidency stolen and that he would not help him. The Assembly gave Dartiguenave 94 votes and Bobo 16. On August 8 Bobo and Zamorist Cacos began pillaging towns, burning plantations, and murdering peasants. Major Smedley Butler was one of Waller’s most capable officers, and his force fought Rameau and 500 Cacos at Poteaux. Soon Rameau was willing to negotiate.
     The corvée was activated for road-building in 1916, and on 1 October 1918 Major A. S. Williams abolished the mandatory service. On October 17 about a hundred Cacos captured a Zamorist stronghold. In the next four months there were four skirmishes with Caco bands. From April 1919 to September the US Marines and gendarmes fought in 131 actions. On November 2 Captain Hanneken’s men defeated the remaining Cacos. From 1915 to 1920 the Marines and Haiti’s Gendarmerie had 98 killed and wounded while they killed about 2,250 Cacos.
      In early 1920 the American socialist, journalist, and NAACP associate Herbert J. Seligman visited Haiti, and in July he wrote in the Nation,

Five years of American Occupation, from 1915 to 1920,
have served as a commentary upon white civilization
which still burns black men and women at the stake.
For Haitian men, women, and children,
to a number estimated at 3,000, innocent of any offense,
have been shot down by American
machine-gun and rifle bullets;
black men have been put to the torture
to make them give information;
theft, arson, and murder have been committed
almost with impunity … by white men
wearing the uniforms of the United States.7

      On 15 May 1922 a peaceful transfer of power occurred for the first time since Nissage-Saget in 1869. President Dartiguenave gave up the office to the elected Louis Borno. Captain Kent C. Melhorn was the naval Medical Director of Public Health. The Service de Santé Publique operated in 11 modern hospitals with 2,222 staff and 147 rural clinics in addition to four other hospitals. In 1929 about half the physicians worked for the Service de Santé, and they conducted 1,341,596 consultations and treatments.
      President Louis Borno resigned on 15 May 1930, and mulatto Louis Eugène Roy became President for about six months. Sténio Vincent was elected President in October 1930 and served until May 1941. US President Franklin Roosevelt withdrew the Marines in 1934. Vincent then won a plebiscite in 1935 for another term.

      When the American Marines left in August 1934, Haitians began celebrating their suddenly restored independence. Haiti had become more modern and prosperous and less violent, though they had to deal with the world depression. The Americans’ $700,000 payroll would be missed. The Dominican Republic’s dictator Rafael Trujillo came for a state visit in November. He had his ships give alms to the poor, and he offered Haiti’s President Vincent two gun-boats to prevent the smuggling of arms to the North. Vincent’s term was to end in May 1936. Early in 1935 he dissolved the legislature and then began revising the constitution. When the Senate refused to give him control of the Bank, in February he used a plebiscite that voters overwhelmingly approved 454,357 to 1,172. Vincent took control of economic policies and removed eleven senators. In March his new commandant Col. Calixte informed him of a plot led by his Foreign Minister Lucien Hibbert and his brother-in-law Jacques Roumain who had helped start the Haitian Communist Party in 1930. President Vincent dismissed Hibbert, put him in house arrest, and refused to let him leave for Paris. A plebiscite on June 2 also approved his new constitution that gave Vincent a second term for five more years. An effort to get a loan from France failed in 1935.

Dominican Republic & Báez 1850-79

Haiti & Santo Domingo 1817-50

      The Dominican Republic’s President Buenaventura Báez (1849-53) protected those persecuted by General Pedro Santana, and he worked to improve church relations. Santana was elected the next President of Santa Domingo. In March 1853 he took office and accused Archbishop Tomás de Portes of inciting rebellion. On July 3 President Santana charged Báez with serious crimes and expelled him. In February 1854 Santana got a new constitution that greatly increased the President’s power and allowed him to serve two consecutive terms. The constitution was passed on December 23 and limited Congress to seven Senators and would only let it meet three months per year. After United States President Franklin Pierce tried to lease land on the Samaná Peninsula for a navy base, Spain on 18 February 1855 signed a peace treaty with the Dominican Republic.
      Civil resistance persuaded Dominican President Santana to resign on 26 May 1856, and he was succeeded by Vice President Manuel de Regla Mota. He did not have funds to pay soldiers and discharged many. The Spanish consul Segovia arranged for Buenaventura Báez to return from exile, and he was made Vice President and then President after Mota resigned on October 8. Santana was accused of crimes in January 1857 and was sent into exile. Báez favored some liberal policies as he replaced the Senators and other officials. He had 18 million more pesos printed, and his favorites used money to buy tobacco and gold in Cibao before the exchange rate changed.
      Military leaders in Santiago rejected Báez on July 7, and they installed General José Desiderio Valverde as President. People in Cibao supported them and marched on Santa Domingo. Civil war broke out, and General Santana returned on August 27 and gained command on September 18. Báez printed nearly 60 million pesos in one year, and the Cibao government put out 20 million, causing the national peso to fluctuate around 4,000 per dollar. A new constitution written in the capital Moca was promulgated on 19 February 1858 and allowed every citizen to vote. Santana’s troops outside the capital persuaded Báez to negotiate his departure that let him take the wealth he had stolen from Cibao. After he left, Santana and his troops opposed the Cibao liberals and took control on July 27 demanding restoration of the Constitution of December 1854 which Santana decreed on September 27.
      The Dominican Republic’s President Pedro Santana had nearly 40 million pesos printed in 1860. On 18 March 1861 he gave Santo Domingo back to Spain’s Queen Isabella II, and he became its Governor-General. An insurgency broke out, and Haiti provided sanctuaries for the guerillas in May. Haiti’s President Geffrard sent his Tirailleurs (infantry) as volunteers to fight against the Spanish army. In July a Spanish squadron appeared offshore of Port-au-Prince, and Admiral Rubalcava demanded that Haiti close the frontier to Dominican rebels, pay an indemnity of $200,000, apologize, and give the Spanish flag a 21-gun salute. Consul Byron mediated and reduced the indemnity to $25,000, and Geffrard agreed. Santana suffered poor health and resigned on 6 January 1862. In April the Spanish government refused to redeem paper money.
      Rebellion broke out in early February 1863 in the southwest town of Neiba, and it spread in the Cibao region. Rebels in Santiago fought against Spaniards on February 24, and General Santiago Rodríguez came back to squelch the revolt. Spain declared a siege and sent reinforcements led by General Pedro Santana that subdued the revolt. On March 16 the government issued a general pardon.
      On August 16 General Rodríguez led 14 Dominicans who came back across the border and raised the flag for independence. Men from the northwest joined them, and they fought the Spaniards who retreated. The Dominicans gathered 6,000 men in Cibao, and on September 6 they attacked the Spaniards at Fort San Luis in a bloody battle. After negotiation the besieged troops were allowed to leave Cibao on September 13. General José Antonio Salcedo led the independence forces and became President the next day. This Restoration War became a popular cause to restore Dominican independence. Spain was losing about 1,500 men per month because of dysentery and malaria.
      In early March 1864 Spain and General Vargas ordered General Santana to concentrate his forces. He refused, and he was criticized and suffered from poor health. General José de la Gándara replaced Vargas as Governor of Santo Domingo, and he removed Santana in May. Santana died suddenly on July 14, and suicide was suspected. General Gándara began negotiating peace in September; but on October 10 General Gaspar Polanco and others removed him because they were afraid he would recall Báez. On that day General Polanco claimed the presidency, and he had President Salcedo assassinated on October 15. Other revolutionary generals overthrew Polanco on 24 January 1865. Benigno Filomeno de Rojas was President for two months and was followed by General Pedro Antonio Pimentel who was President for 13 weeks and moved his government to Santo Domingo in August. Spain’s Queen Isabella II annulled the annexation on March 3, and the Spanish soldiers left by July 15.
      On 7 May 1865 Dominicans crossed the frontier, took over the garrison at Ouanaminthe, and were welcomed in the Cap-Haïtien. On the 15th as Haiti’s troops fought them at Puilboreau, General Morisset was wounded.
      General José Cabral became the first Supreme Chief of the Dominican Republic on 4 August 1865. On August 17 they banned banishment and capital punishment. Cabral was a Baecista and resigned on November 15. General Cesário Guillermo filled in for 23 days until President Báez returned and governed for nearly six months before being forced to resign. He had the Congress revive the Constitution of December 1854. An alliance formed the National Liberal Party or the Blue Party (Partido Azul), and they opposed the Baecista Party or the Red Party (Partido Rojo). During the conflicts between the Azules and the Rojos there would be 50 revolts and 21 changes of government.
      The Triumvirate that included the Generals Pedro Antonio Pimentel and Gregorio Luperón ruled from May to August 1866. They replaced the Electoral College with direct and universal voting. The Azules made General José Cabral the President on August 22, and he governed for nearly a year and a half. On 31 January 1868 rebels entered the capital and removed Cabral with a coup. Manuel Altagracia Cáceres served as General-in-Chief for 41 days. He was replaced by a Military Junta that ruled for 79 days.
      Buenaventura Báez won a fraudulent election and became President for the fourth time on 2 May 1868. On June 18 he decreed that all armed opponents of the government were to be executed. He attempted to sell to the United States the bay and peninsula of Samaná for $1 million in gold and $100,000 worth of weapons. When Ulysses Grant became US President in March 1869 he tried to annex the Dominican territory; but the Foreign Relations chairman Charles Sumner persuaded the Senators to vote that down in July 1871. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Manuel Gautier signed a deal with the Samaná Bay Company on 28 December 1872 to lease the peninsula and bay for 99 years. The Senate ratified it, and the plebiscite on 19 February 1873 won easily against only 19 no votes.
      Puerto Plata’s Rojo Governor Ignacio González organized the Unionist Movement on November 25, and their Revolutionary Manifesto called for a new provisional government with González as the “supreme chief.” President Báez arranged for mediation by the English, German, and Danish consuls on December 31, and standing in front of the Senate he resigned on 2 January 1874. A new election with universal suffrage and a direct vote elected the Green Party’s Ignacio González over the Baecista candidate. President González canceled the Samaná Bay Company deal. He worked for ten months on a treaty of peace, friendship, trade, and navigation with Haiti, and they signed the agreement on November 9. Haiti promised to pay 150,000 pesos annually for eight years for the grasslands that Toussaint L’Ouverture had occupied in 1794.
      The Baecistas made Manuel Altagracia Cáceres the General-in-Chief from 22 January 1874 to April 6. González went to Cibao in July to learn about the conspiracy. On August 5 Cáceres and his followers attacked Fort San Luis. On September 10 González proclaimed himself “Supreme Representative of the Nation by the Will of the People.” He was President 1874-76 and decreed that they should replace the constitution with a more conservative document.
      The Azul generals organized another rebellion that began in February 1876. Political leaders wanting to prevent a civil war met and signed a pact so that Congress would exonerate González if he renounced the presidency and would let his cabinet have executive authority. A Council of Six Secretaries of States then governed from February 23 to April 29, and on February 27 the Azul generals quickly stopped a coup for Báez.
      The Azules nominated Ulises Francisco Espaillat for president, and he was elected on March 24. He became President on April 29, and he appointed General Gregorio Luperón to be Minister of War. President Espaillat tried to reduce the public debt. The Rojos opposed his policies and instigated uprisings. Espaillat declared a state of emergency and made Luperón the chief of government operations. González led an army to the gates of the capital on October 5. Espaillat replaced his ministers with Verdes from the Green Party, and he resigned on December 20 and took refuge in the French consulate. Azules declined to support González and resigned. The Haitian government did not want their neighbor to be taken over by the United States, and they aided the Azules.
      Early in 1878 Father Fernando Arturo de Meriño organized guerrillas for an Azul offensive. Báez gathered 370,000 pesos and left the country on March 2. A Junta included the Baecista General Cesário Guillermo, and his troops occupied the capital while supporters of González gathered in Santiago. On July 25 González was inaugurated as President; but he did not keep his promises to the Blues and ordered Luperón and others arrested. The Blues rose up, and González surrendered on September 2. A Council of Three Secretaries of States governed from September 30 until February. General Guillermo’s army marched to the capital. He was elected President and began his term on 27 February 1879. Blues established a government in Puerto Plata on October 6. Guillermo was defeated and fled on a Spanish warship on December 6. That year the National Liberal Party dominated Dominican politics.

Dominican Republic & Heureaux 1879-1911

      General Gregorio Luperón became President of the provisional government at Puerto Plata on 6 October 1879. He assigned General Ulises Heureaux to Santa Domingo as Minister of War and to run the government there. On his first day President Luperón by decree suspended paying of the public debt that had been hampering the government. He established the Juntas de Crédito to get loans for the government at lower interest, and as a stockholder he profited from them. To benefit Cibao he reduced the export tax on tobacco from 75 cents to 25 per 100 pounds. He wanted a stamp act, but Congress only funded taxes on customs. On December 8 he decreed the death penalty for anyone taking up arms against the government. He summoned a national convention on 7 January 1880 to draft a liberal constitution. They modified the current Moca Constitution, and it was promulgated on May 28. The President’s term was limited to two years.
      Haiti’s President Lysius Salomon was trying to cancel their 1874 treaty to add duties on Dominican products in order to help Baecistas overthrow Luperón’s Azul (Blue) government. Luperón countered this by suspending all trade with Haiti. He endorsed the Catholic priest Fernando Arturo de Meriño, and he was elected by the popular vote on July 23 and was inaugurated on September 1. President Arturo de Meriño followed Azul policies. He promoted General Ulises Heureaux to Interior Minister, and he influenced the War Minister Francisco Gregorio Billini. The government moved back to Santo Domingo, and Azul leaders also ran local governments.
      On 30 May 1881 Meriño also decreed death for anyone armed against the government. Nonetheless the Baecista generals Braulio Alvarez and Cesário Guillermo led a rebellion for two months. All enemies captured by Meriño or Heureaux were shot. Meriño issued manifestos calling for him to be dictator and to abolish the Constitution. Ulises Heureaux was elected President. He was often called “Lilís,” and his followers were Lilistas. The Constitution was changed to add a Vice President, and General Casimiro Nemesio de Moya was elected. The Heureaux term began on 1 September 1882, and he recruited Rojos to get the support of Baecistas. Báez died on 4 March 1884. Meriño and Lilís endorsed the candidate Billini for president and Alejandro Woss y Gil for vice president. They were challenged by General Segundo Imbert for president and Vice President Nemesio de Moya who were from the North.
      General Gregorio Luperón believed that General Imbert and Moya won the election as Lilís added 15,000 votes for Billini whom the Congress made President on 1 September 1884. Luperón declined to start a civil war by helping Imbert and Moya. President Billini declared a political amnesty, and he asked for support from General Cesário Guillermo. General Luperón reacted by threatening a coup. Billini resigned on 15 May 1885, and Alejandro Woss y Gil became President. The Azul military leaders dominated the country. Nemesio de Moya became a candidate, and his supporters led to a conflict between them and Luperón and Lilís. Moya’s supporters were arrested, and followers of Lilís stole elections. Moya backed his supporters in a rebellion that started on 21 July 1886. More than 600 men were killed in combat. Lilís bribed men, and his troops pillaged houses and farms in the North. President Woss y Gil aided Lilís against the rebels, and fighting ended on October 31.
      Heureaux (Lilís) took over the presidency on 6 January 1887, and he would hold on to it until his assassination in July 1899. He began by convening a convention to amend the Constitution again by extending the President’s term from two to four years. Presidential elections went back to using electoral boards. The conservative Rojos favored these changes. For winning the civil war Lilís was called “Pacifier of the Homeland.” He hired Manuel Gautier to fill the same job he had before as Minister of Foreign Relations for President Báez. Lilís appointed the Baecista General Wenceslao Figuereo to be Secretary of the Interior and the Police. General Miguel Andrés Pichardo had fought the Moyistas, and he became Secretary of War. Lilís sent the Rojo General Generoso de Marchena to Europe to borrow money, and in June 1888 he obtained a loan of £770,000 at 6% interest. The contract was made with Westendorp & Company in Amsterdam. To get this deal Lilís had to mortgage 30% of the customs revenues, and Congress ratified it on October 26.
      Azul leaders asked General Luperón to run for president. Lilís said he would run against him, and he terrorized Luperón’s supporters. Luperón withdrew in July 1888 because of the violence. Lilís bought the votes of 11,000 of the 100,000 voters, and Manuel Gautier became Vice President. Luperón went into exile, and he met with Nemesio de Moya and other leaders in Haiti. Because Lilís was aiding rebels fighting against the Haitian government, Haiti’s President Louis Hippolyte supported the Dominican exiles. Lilís learned of the invasion and sent Ignacio González to negotiate at Port-au-Prince. Hippolyte agreed to deport Moya, and Lilís promised to oppose the Haitian rebels. He negotiated a reciprocity treaty with the United States; but Europeans complained, and it never took effect. In September 1890 Lilís got a loan of £900,000 from Westendorp & Company to build a railroad between Santiago and Puerto Plata. To escape bankruptcy Westendorp sold its Dominican interests to the United States which then was able to lease Samaná. Lilís borrowed $1,250,000 and £2,035,000.
      During the election campaign in 1892 General Generoso de Marchena decided to run against President Heureaux (Lilís) who was able to coerce the electors. Marchena then persuaded the National Bank of Santo Domingo to cut off credit to Lilís who had Marchena put in prison in December. One year later Marchena was executed along with other Baecista rebels. The Foreign Minister Ignacio González was also involved in that conspiracy, and he fled to Puerto Rico where he criticized the Samaná lease to the United States. President Hippolyte donated weapons to the exiles. Lilís warned that he would arm Haitian rebels, and Haiti made the exiles leave the country. In 1897 Lilís in desperation printed 5 million pesos, and no one would accept them. In 1898 Lilís got another loan for $600,000 from Europe, and he planned to tax sugar. The Baecista Juan Isidro Jimenes led a revolt in June, but they failed to start a revolution in the northwest. Lilís sold disputed territory to Haiti for 400,000 pesos in October. On 26 July 1899 Jacobito de Lara and Ramón Caceres assassinated Heureaux (Lilís) while he was traveling in Cibao.
      The Vice President Wenceslao Figuereo became President, and he decreed that the killers of Lilís should be persecuted. Instead Horacio Vásquez led a rebellion that spread in Cibao and forced Figuereo to resign on August 30. Red Vásquez became a Provisional President with a Junta on September 4, and he allowed press freedom and the return of political exiles. The paper money was withdrawn from circulation, and the exchange rate became 5 silver Dominican pesos for each dollar. Vásquez chose the popular exiled merchant, Juan Isidro Jimenes, to run for president with Vásquez for vice president. They were elected and then inaugurated on November 15. With customs revenues going to the Improvement Company, the government received only $60,000 per month. The public had become aware of these secret and fraudulent deals, and bonds had been sold to hundreds of private investors in Europe. The Dominican government owed them $23,957,078, and the internal debt was $10,126,628. Customs revenues were $2 million per year. President Jimenes negotiated with the Improvement Company and worked out an arrangement with bondholders by 10 January 1901.
      Vice President Horacio Vásquez was working in Santiago for the government as a delegate in Cibao. He had opposed Lilís and found many anti-Lilisistas there while former Lilisistas were trying to join the new government. On 26 April 1902 Vásquez organized his supporters and marched on the capital. On May 2 they forced Jimenes into exile again. Jimenes had been a Baecista, and his supporters were Rojos. The Azules followed Vásquez, and the other new party, the Horacistas, repressed the Jimenistas, filling the jails with political prisoners that included many former Lilisistas. On 23 March 1903 while Vásquez and his ministers were fighting rebels in Cibao, some Lilisista prisoners and others mutinied in the Ozama Fortress and overthrew the government. They made former President Alejandro Woss y Gil their leader, and they defended the capital. Many were killed, and much was destroyed in a brief civil war. President Vásquez withdrew his troops and went back to Santiago where he resigned on April 23.
      On that day Woss y Gil became Provisional President and set elections for June 20. He was unopposed and chose Jimenes-supporter Eugenio Deschamps for vice president. They were inaugurated on August 1, and Jimenes was sent off to Europe as their financial agent. Carlos Morales Languasco led a Jimenista rebellion in Puerto la Plata to prevent another dictatorship, and Woss y Gil capitulated on November 24. Rebels occupied the capital by December 6 as Woss y Gil and several Lilisistas left the country.
      Morales Languasco became President on November 24. He called for an election and chose Vásquez’s cousin Ramón Cáceres for vice president. Jimenistas took up arms in another brief civil war until March 1904. President Morales allowed the United States to build lighthouses on the Dominican coast to protect the Panama Canal which was being built. Recently Italian, Belgian, and German warships had been sent to collect debts. The US President Theodore Roosevelt did not like that, and he persuaded Caribbean and Central American governments not to borrow money from Europe. A 1903 Protocol established an arbitration board, and in June they got the Improvement Company to accept $4,500,000 from the Dominican Republic. This Laudo Arbitral was criticized by European bondholders and Dominican creditors. The Dominican government persuaded the Improvement Company to reduce the debt considerably with the assistance of an arbitrator from the United States, and the agreement was made on 31 January 1904. President Morales in March tried to form an alliance with the United States.
      Morales and Cáceres were elected on May 31, and their national unity government included Jimenistas and Horacistas as ministers and began on June 19. On 7 January 1905 the United States promised to pay off all of the Dominican foreign and domestic debts. In exchange the US was to receive 55% of customs revenues to help with the payments. The United States Senate refused to ratify a treaty that included a protectorate. Yet on March 31 Morales by decree authorized the US President to appoint an agent to receive customs duties for distribution by the agreement. The other 45% provided the Dominican government what it needed.
      Vice President Cáceres wanted President Morales to remove Jimenista ministers, and by December 1905 the officials were only obeying the Vice President. On December 24 Morales left the capital with Enrique Jimenes, and they did not find the men and arms they expected. Fleeing Morales broke his leg. On December 29 he resigned, and the US Minister helped him escape from the country.
      Ramón Cáceres claimed the presidency on 12 January 1906. In that month a Jimenista rebellion began in the northwest. Cáceres led his Horacista troops from Santiago. After ordering the people to bring their livestock into towns, he had the remaining livestock slaughtered to make it hard for the guerrillas. The northwest economy was ruined, and the Jimenista leaders fled to Haiti. In April 1906 President Cáceres decreed there would be no tax on any sugar produced or exported.
      The Finance Minister Federico Vásquez with help from a US financial expert negotiated with creditors in March 1906, and by September most had accepted an adjustment plan which reduced the debt to $17 million. The US also helped the Dominican government get a loan of $20 million from a New York bank, and by December all the creditors had agreed. The Dominican Congress approved the agreement on 3 May 1907. Dominican revenues from customs duties increased from $1.8 million in 1904 to $4.7 million by 1910.
      President Cáceres summoned a constitutional convention in Santiago, and from November to April 1908 they wrote a new constitution that strengthened the executive while protecting human rights. The vice president was eliminated to prevent factions. The term of the President was increased to six years. The legislature was to be a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. The cabinet no longer had executive powers that were given to the President. The military was to be controlled by the President and not by any civil governors. Generals who agreed to political neutrality had their pay increased. The new Constitution became effective on 1 April 1908.
      In the elections on May 30 the Jimenistas only ran for Congress as President Cáceres was unopposed. On July 1 Cáceres was inaugurated for a six-year term. The Public Works Administration was established to supervise construction, and funds for new schools increased them from 200 in 1904 to 526 by 1910. In 1909 the General Directorate of Agriculture was organized, and two experimental farm schools began in Moca and Haina in 1910. That year in July the Stamp Act affected the production and sale of rum and other alcohol, and it was very unpopular. In April 1911 a law allowed for the partition of communal lands.
      Many Horacista military officers felt frustrated, and they urged Horacio Vásquez to rebel; but he did not want to oppose his cousin Cáceres. To calm the discord Vásquez went to New York, and the discontented followed him there. He agreed to sign a public letter, and it was circulated widely in 1910. When he heard of a planned coup, Vásquez left New York and moved to Saint Thomas to retire. Cáceres had heard of a plot by Morales in 1909 that involved General Luis Tejera who wanted to control the Army. The President took no action. On 19 November 1911 on a Sunday ride to Haina, conspirators led by Tejera abducted Cáceres. The President’s aide-de-camp began shooting, and then the conspirators mortally wounded Cáceres. Eventually the conspirators were captured and executed.

Dominican Republic & US Occupation 1912-35

      Juan Isidro Jimenes and Horacio Vásquez stayed in exile for a while so as not to be associated with the conspiracy against President Cáceres. The cabinet governed until the Congress could elect a president. Young Alfredo Victoria was the army chief, and the Finance Minister Federico Vásquez was prominent. Congress deliberated in December 1911 and January 1912. On February 27 they elected Senator Eladio Victoria to be President after he was Interim President since December 5, and he served for nearly a year. Horacio Vásquez returned from Puerto Rico and organized a rebellion that spread in Cibao. This began a civil war considered the most violent in the history of the Dominican Republic, and military expenses used up the 4 million pesos left behind by President Cáceres. The United States provided monthly payments to President Victoria from the customs duties. Desiderio Arias led the Jimenistas in the North and controlled customs on the border. By the end of September the United States had sent 750 Marines to Santa Domingo, and Victoria resigned at the end of the civil war on November 30.
      Congress appointed Santo Domingo’s Archbishop Adolfo Alejandro Nouel as a Provisional President. Desiderio Arias declared his disobedience to the government, and Nouel resigned on 13 April 1913 and went to Rome until 1920. José Bordas Valdez was Provisional President until 27 August 1914. Politicians prepared for elections, and Bordas wanted to be re-elected and appointed Arias the delegate in Cibao. Bordas Valdez auctioned the Dominican Central Railway to an Arias supporter for $130,000, and that upset the Horacistas. On 1 September 1913 Horacio Vásquez began the Railway Revolution with his provisional government. Fighting was intense in Puerto Plata and the country in July 1914. The United States informed Vásquez that they would not support his government, and the US Minister managed to mediate a cease-fire for the elections.
      Ramón Báez Machado, son of the former President Báez, was Interim President from August 28 until that election on October 25. Juan Isidro Jimenes won and became President on December 6 for 17 months.
      On 28 July 1915 the United States military occupied Haiti and financed the government. President Jimenes in October objected to the military occupation and interference in the Dominican Republic. A conflict developed between Jimenes and Arias, and on April 14 Jimenez ordered the arrest of Arias who took over the Ozama Fortress. Arias and his supporters tried to impeach Jimenez in the Congress, and the US Minister offered military support to Jimenez who wanted only arms and ammunition.
      On 5 May 1916 United States Marines occupied Santo Domingo. After US Marines landed, Jimenez resigned on 7 May 1916. The US sent troops to various places in June and July. On July 31 the Congress appointed Francisco Henríquez y Carvajal the Interim President even though he had been living in Cuba for the past 14 years. On November 26 United States President Woodrow Wilson instructed Captain Harry S. Knapp to proclaim the military occupation of the Dominican Republic. They prohibited possessing and carrying of firearms and strict censorship of the press especially related to the military government. Knapp dismissed the cabinet of Henríquez on December 8, and four days later replaced them US Marine officers. The US Navy was governing the Dominican Republic. Knapp released funds that had been withheld so that salaries could be paid to public employees. Public works projects begun by Cáceres, which had been suspended, were resumed.
      The US military replaced the Republican Guard. The telegraph operator Rafael Trujillo, who was trained the by the US Marine Corps, joined the guard on 18 December 1918, and in June 1921 the Guard became the Dominican National Police. Tax collection was made easier by a law that forced producers of stills and distilleries to operate in provincial capitals. Laws on property tax also increased revenues. When the United States entered the Great War in Europe in April 1917, the Dominican Republic ended its trade with Germany and its allies. The Customs Tariff Act of 1919 made over 245 articles from the United States duty-free, and 700 others much reduced. The price of sugar increased from $5.50 per hundredweight in 1914 to $12.50 in 1918 and to $22.50 in 1920. Exports of tobacco, cocoa, and coffee also expanded. In April 1918 the National Council of Education was set up to promote primary education, and several hundred schools were constructed between 1917 and 1920. Student enrollment was about 20,000 in 1916 and more than 100,000 in 1920.
      Captain Knapp was promoted in November 1918, and in February 1919 he was replaced by Rear Admiral Thomas Snowden who was military governor until June 1921. He did not work as well with Dominican leaders, and he warned that the occupation might go on for 20 years. Nationalist peasant guerrillas challenged the US military in the east in El Seibo for over four years. In 1919 some Latin American nations demanded that the US President Wilson end the occupation of the Dominican Republic. Former President Henríquez y Carvajal and other leaders organized the Dominican Nationalist Commission and lobbied the US State Department protesting the censorship. To prepare for the transition from military government prominent Dominicans formed an advisory board on 3 November 1919. Popular agitation in Santo Domingo was repressed by Snowden, and the board resigned in January 1920. In March leaders started the National Dominican Union, and the intellectual Emiliano Tejera led a campaign of civil resistance against the US military.
      In the 1920 US campaign Warren G. Harding criticized Wilson’s intervention in the Caribbean and promised that he would remove US troops. He was elected, and on December 24 Wilson ordered Snowden to form a new commission to bring about legal and constitutional reforms. He also ordered that freedom of the press and public meetings be restored. President Harding appointed Rear Admiral Samuel S. Robinson the military governor to bring about the withdrawal. Robinson arrived in June 1921 and proclaimed a plan of evacuation and general elections leading to a constitutional government, and the government was to recognize military acts and accept direction by US officials over the Dominican police force. Meetings and assemblies organized by the Nationalist Union in July rejected that plan. The US government reacted by suspending the elections until they cooperated with the plan to end the occupation before July 1924.
      After the end of the Great War prices went way down for exports, and the Dominican Republic was in an economic crisis in the early 1920s. The sugar industry lawyer Francisco J. Peynado went to Washington in May 1922 and persuaded the US Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes to accept an evacuation plan to be submitted to Dominican politicians. The United States still insisted on the Convention of 1907 that the Dominican Republic pay its foreign debts which had increased from new loans. Henríquez and the Nationalist Union rejected the Hughes-Peynado plan and called for simple withdrawal. Other political leaders were persuaded by Peynado and Hughes in June to accept the plan. On September 23 leaders of the Horacista, Velazquista, and the Jimenista parties signed the plan with Hughes and the new US Special Commissioner Sumner Welles.
      On October 1 the Commission appointed the merchant Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos the Provisional President from October 21 to July 1924. During the work on legal reforms the Horacista party became the National Party, and the Velazquista party was called the Progressive Party. Juan Isidro Jimenes had died in May 1919, and Desiderio Arias let Elías Brache lead that party. The Vásquez and Velázquez parties merged into the Progressive National Alliance, and the two Jimenista factions became the Coalición Patriótica de Ciudadanos with Peynado as their candidate for president. In the orderly and free national elections on 15 March 1924 Vásquez was easily elected President. The military government ended with his inauguration on July 12, and the US troops left in August.
      The highway system had been improved, and affluent people used cars and trucks. The National Police had exceptional power over the people. The mostly foreign-owned sugar industry controlled 438,000 acres of agricultural land. More than half of imports came from the United States which still held the right to administer the customs houses and to intervene in regard to the public debt. President Vásquez developed irrigation projects, and he urged landowners to irrigate their land. To get around the Dominican-American Convention that banned changing the Tariff Law of 1919 Vásquez enacted Law N° 190 in November 1925 to allow consumption taxes on imports. In September 1926 he asked Congress to approve a loan of $2.5 million, and they voted for $10 million. This financed the public works program.
      In April 1927 the Senate voted to extend the term of President Vásquez until August 1930. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo became the chief of the Dominican National Police, and in May 1928 they were renamed the National Army. On 28 October 1929 Vásquez flew to Baltimore for an emergency operation to remove a kidney at Johns Hopkins University. He nearly died and returned to Santo Domingo on 5 January 1930. Rafael Estrella Ureña made a deal to become Acting President on March 3 and then let Trujillo run for president for the new Patriotic Coalition of Citizens in the elections. The coup began when Ureña’s uncle, General José Estrella, took over the San Luis Fortress on February 23. Three days later Trujillo led several hundred men into the capital. Vásquez tried to negotiate, and he and Vice President José Alfonseca resigned on March 2.
      A new Alliance nominated Velázquez for president and Angel Morales for vice president. During the campaign the Confederation Party’s candidate Trujillo used terror and violence. The Junta Central Electoral resigned on 7 May 1930, and they were replaced by those supporting Trujillo and Ureña. They got 45% of the votes, and on May 24 the Junta Central Electoral declared them elected. On August 16 Trujillo became President and Ureña the Vice President.
      Rafael Leonidas Trujillo used various means to acquire great wealth from monopolies of salt, meat, and other enterprises. He deducted 10% of the public employees’ salaries for his political party. By the end of his first term in 1934 he was the richest person in the nation. That year he was re-elected.


1. Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People 1492-1971 by Robert Debs Heinl Jr. and Nancy Gordon Heinl, 250.
2. Ibid., p. 273.
3. Ibid., p. 280.
4. Ibid., p. 364.
5. Ibid., p. 366.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid., p. 468.

Copyright © 2023 by Sanderson Beck

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Latin America & Canada to 1850

Brazil 1850-1935
Uruguay 1850-1935
Argentina 1850-1935
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El Salvador 1850-1935
Honduras 1850-1935
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Chronology of Latin America to 1935
Chronology of Canada to 1935
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Chronology of North & South America 1787-1844
Chronology of North & South America 1845-1896
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