Category Archives: HISTORY/HISTORIA

HISTORY / HISTORIA
The history of the Colonial Zone and Dominican Republic.

Category – Basic History

Category – Historical Documents

EDOUARD MONTULE VOYAGE 1817. A voyage to North America, and the West Indies in 1817

HISTORICAL MAPS. Old Antique Maps of Colonial Zone

JAMES LOGAN JOURNEY 1838. Notes of a journey through Canada, USA, and the West Indies.

People in History

Diego Colón (Columbus) 1480 – 1526

Francisco de Bobadilla

Frey Nicolás Ovando

Sir Francis Drake (Pirate Drake, Privater Drake)

Francisco del Rosario Sánchez

Francisco del Rosario Sánchez

One of the Padres de la Patria / Founding Fathers
Born March 9, 1817 and died July 4, 1861

Francisco Sanchez was one of the three founding fathers of The Dominican Republic. He, including Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella, are the Padres de la Patria / Founding Fathers. He is also considered by many to be the strongest of them all. Giving his life in martyrdom for his dream of a free country and for the men who fought with him.

Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (9 de marzo de 1817-4 de julio de 1861)
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (9 de marzo de 1817-4 de julio de 1861)

Sanchez was the son of Narciso Sánchez and Olaya Del Rosario. He was born in San Juan de la Maguana. At the time of his birth his parents were not married. His father, Narcisco, came to Dominican Republic from Spain. All that is known of his mother is that she was “a person of color”, maybe African descent, according to the baptismal records. He taught himself Latin and French, studied philosophy and also studied with Father Gaspar Hernandez, a priest who was anti-Haitian.

During Sanchez time studying under the priest, along with many other young people, Sanchez met Juan Pablo Duarte. In 1838 he joined the Trinitarios to fight against the Haitian occupation. He was known for his hard work, determination and honesty. Because of his leadership abilities (when Duarte was later exiled to Venezuela) Sanchez took over leadership of this group. While leading the Trinitarios he always kept in touch with Duarte. Duarte had complete confidence in Sanchez.

Los Trinitarios. Sanchez. Duarte. Mella.
Los Trinitarios. Sanchez. Duarte. Mella.

El Manifiesto de Independencia

Sanchez helped write El Manifiesto de Independencia/ The Manifesto of Independence. On January 16, 1844 Mella sent the document to Tomás Bobadilla for corrections and additions. The group met on January 24, 1844 at night to make the final decisions about the manifesto. At this time Sanchez was promoted from the Commander of Arms to the rank of colonel (soon after he was succeeded). Attending this meeting was Francisco del Rosario Sanchez, Ramón Matías Mella, Vicente Celestino Duarte (the brother of Juan Pablo Duarte), the brothers Puello y Los de la Concha Jacinto and Tomás, Juan Alejandro Acosta Cabral, Pimentel, Manzueta, Adón and others. At the bidding of his friends and colleagues, Sanchez agreed to be the head of the Junta de Gobierno when he was only 27 years old. This group led by Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, met at the Puerta del Conde (known at this time as the Baluarte de San Genaro) and on this day, February 27, 1844, the Haitians were expelled from the country and the new Dominican Republic was founded. The new flag was raised with the logo ¡Dios, Patria y Libertad! / God, Patriotism and Liberty!

Francisco del Rosario Sanchez
Francisco del Rosario Sanchez

After Independence

After independence was claimed Tomás Sánchez Bobadilla was named President. Duarte, who was in exile, was permitted to return home. He was met at the Puerto del Ozama by Sánchez y Mella who were so excited to see their friend again they jumped aboard the boat to greet their friend and leader of the revolution. Duarte joined the Junta de Gobierno as General de Brigada/ Brigadier General.

This new government was not long lasting (only about 6 months) as there was another revolt. Duarte who was elected president in Cibao confronted Pedro Santana who was the elected president of Santo Domingo. Duarte lost the fight and on August 22, 1844 Santana exiled all these men who were the founders of independence. Duarte was banished soon after.

On September 1848, when Santana was out of power, the new President, Manuel Jimenez, granted a general amnesty to these exiled men. First to Duarte, then to Mella and Sanchez, finally the rest of the group followed. After almost 4 years in exile Sanchez returned to the country on September 8.

When Sanchez returned he held many important positions during the governments of Jiménez, Santana y Buenaventura Báez. He was a self-taught lawyer, even teaching himself Latin and French. He was appointed to many important positions in the government. Sanchez was the prosecutor appointed to the Tribunal de Apelación de Santo Domingo/ Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo (one of his first cases was against Antonio Duvergé and Pedro Santana in which Duverge was acquitted). He was also Defensor Público/ Public Defender and a Suprema Corte de Justicia/ Supreme Court Justice. Sanchez once again had to leave the country in April 1855, returning in August 1856.

Santana again was president. He wanted annexation of Spain for the country. Sanchez rebelled against this and he was placed in prison August 1859. He was banished from the country for the third time a month later and moved to Saint Thomas.
Sanchez wanted to continue the fight for the independence of his beloved country even though he felt completely betrayed. He ended up going to Haiti with the help of the Haitian president Geffard. Geffard, under pressure from Spain, finally gave in and these Dominicans in exile had to leave his country. Soon after Geffard learned the real facts about why these men were banished and he again permitted Sanchez, along with the others, safe return to Haitian territory and offered to help the cause.

On January 20, 1861 Sanchez publishes his manifesto stating “But if the evil seek pretexts to sully my conduct, we respond with a charge saying loudly, but without boasting, that I am the Dominican flag.” “Mas, si la maledicencia buscare pretextos para mancillar mi conducta, responderéis a cualquier cargo diciendo en alta voz, aunque sin jactancia, que yo soy la bandera dominicana”.

Two days later the Junta Revolucionaria/ Revolutionary Board created the Revolución de la Regeneración Dominicana/ The Regeneration of the Dominican Revolution.

The monument of Francisco del Rosario Sanchez in Parque Independencia where he is buried
The monument of Francisco del Rosario Sanchez in Parque Independencia where he is buried

Sentenced To Death

Sanchez had returned too late. President Santana had already proclaimed Annexation to Spain on March 18 (the Spaniards were finally kicked out in 1865). On May 2, Sanchez started his invasion on the Dominican territory. Betrayed and ambushed he and his colleagues were taken prisoner and tried in an illegal court approved by Santana. Sanchez and his colleagues were sentenced to death. At the trial Sanchez asked for leniency for all his colleagues and took responsibility for all the groups’ actions.

Sanchez was shot dead on July 4, 1861 at four in the afternoon in the cemetery of San Juan de la Maguana. The two-time founder and hero of the Republic became immortal. He gave his life, a martyr, for liberty and freedom of the country.

Sanchez became the most important person of the revolt after Duarte left the Dominican Republic in exile to hide in Venezuela. He became the leader of the revolt and is considered by many to be the real patriot of the three founding fathers. He was one of the greatest heroes and men of action in the country along with Duarte, Mella, Cabral, Pimentel, Manzueta, Adón and others. During his public life he was honest, incorruptible and without blemish. He was said to have been bold, brash and also naive.

Because of their love of the country now known as República Dominicana, Duarte, Mella and Sanchez, known as the Fathers of the Country/ Padres de la Patria made this country free. Because of their blood, sweat and tears we became a free nation. They were the leaders of the people in their fight for freedom.

Hymn To Francisco del Rosario Sánchez

This hymn to Sanchez is said to be one of the most moving hymns of the Dominican Republic.
(This is a video on YouTube a school class singing the Himno.)
Himno a Francisco del Rosario Sánchez
Written by: Ramón Emilio Jiménez
Music by: José de Jesús Ravelo

Sánchez glorioso, varón ilustre,
que no supiste jamás hollar,
los sacros fueron del patriotismo,
que levantaron el patrio lar.

Tú que juraste morir de hambre,
antes que siervo comer un pan,
y lo cumpliste cuando tu cuerpo,
de muerte herido cayó en San Juan.

Tú que en los labios siempre tuviste,
fiero anatema para el Traidor,
que malograra La Patria hermosa,
por la que dieras vida y honor.

Derecho tienes a que elevemos,
en tu memoria cantos de amor,
ningún soldado fue más glorioso,
nadie ha luchado con más valor.

Cuando miramos llenos de orgullo,
la patria enseña, con qué fruición,
pensamos todos que representa,
la parte roja tu corazón.

The Altar de la Patria, Parque Independencia. The monuments dedicated to the Padres de la Patria. Francisco del Rosario Sánchez. Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez. Matías Ramón Mella.
The Altar de la Patria, Parque Independencia. The monuments dedicated to the Padres de la Patria. Francisco del Rosario Sánchez. Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez. Matías Ramón Mella.

Some other interesting facts:

*Altar de la Patria in Independencia Park is a national pantheon dedicated to the nation’s heroes buried here. Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez y Ramon Matias Mella are all buried here.

*A little history about Sanchez Aunt, María Trinidad Sánchez.

*The home of Sanchez can be seen on Calle 19 de Marzo in the Colonial Zone. It is kept up very well.

*Puente Francisco del Rosario Sanchez. This bridge crosses Rio Ozama connecting Santo Domingo to Santo Domingo Este. It is commonly known as “El Puente de la 17”.

Montecino The Man And Monument

Fray Antón de Montesino (1475 – 1540), the Defender of Los Indios.

Fray Antón de Montesino is best known for his historic defense of the Taino Indians and other Indigenous persons of the islands of the Carribean and around the world. He courageously spoke against the abuses done to the native peoples of the island in a famous sermon made in 1511. He was one of the first persons to speak out for defending human rights starting the fight around the world.

Fray Antón de Montesino Monument
Fray Antón de Montesino Monument

Fray Antón de Montesino | Montecinos Sermon | The Monument Frey Antón de Montecinos | Playa Placer | Location

Fray Antón de Montesino

(some references say Montecinos and also Antonio Montesino.)

In the years of 1494 and 1495 Cristóbal Columbus carried out military campaigns to force the Taínos (the original native inhabitants of the island) to be put under the rule of the Catholic Kings and to serve the Spaniards. The Taínos caught at this time were forced to work in the gold mines and wherever else their labors were needed. During the time of Columbus they were treated as less than human as if they were property instead of human beings. Even though Corona had declared in 1501 that the Taínos were free and that should not be mistreated, nobody listened or obeyed him. The Indians were considered below animals and without souls.

The Monument of Fray Antón de Montesino
The Monument of Fray Antón de Montesino

The Spanish continued to use and abuse the original inhabitants of the island. in 1503 Nicholas de Ovando, the abusive governor of the island, told the queen that if he did not use the Indians to work for them in the mines the island would become depopulated and all the business therein would be lost. Since the Kings were more interested in obtaining gold to fund the expenses in Europe, the abuse of the Indians was made legal by Corona. He continued to permit the Indians to be slaves for the Spaniards and to work the mines and the farms. In turn for this legalization, the Spaniards were ordered to teach the Tainos about the Catholic ways. The permission was given the 20 of December of 1503. Thus began the “Sistema de las Encomiendas en la Española (the system of Economics of Spain). This was the start of the true abuse of the Indians.

The Natives who managed to live after serving as slaves in the mines or fields under forced labor were desperate and lost hope. Many committed mass suicides. Many died from disease and starvation. In 1508 when a census of Indians was taken. It found that there were only 60,000 of the original 400,000 left of the natives that were counted when Columbus came onto the island for the first time only sixteen years before. The loss of the labor force hurt the Spanish and their gold mining. It was decided to bring in the Indians of the Lucayas Islands to restock their supply of laborers. In time, because of the Spaniard’s cruel treatment of the indigenous peoples and King Fernando’s insatiable thirst for gold, these indigenous peoples also died off.

Fray Antón de Montesino spoke out for the rights of the natives
Fray Antón de Montesino spoke out for the rights of the natives

Friars Arrival

The Friars arrival to the settlement started a change. Montecinos who was ordained in 1509, joined the first group of Dominican missionaries in 1510 who were heading to the “New World”. This was the state Fray Antón de Montesino found upon his and the Dominican order or Friars arrival on the island La Española. The Friars saw first hand the horrific treatment, the life of shortage and the forced labor of the Indians. Immediately the friars started to fight in favor of these victims to give the indigenous people rights equal to those of the Spaniards.

A quote from Montesino speach displayed inside the monument
A quote from Montesino speach displayed inside the monument

Montecinos Sermon

“I am the voice of Christ who cries out in the desert of this island. This voice says all are in mortal sin and live and die in it, for the cruelty and tyranny you use on these innocent people. Say what right and justice do you keep in such cruel and horrible servitude these Indians?”

These words were part of the sermon given by Fray Antón de Montesinos on the first Sunday of Advent, the 30 of November of 1511, in the presence of Sir Diego Columbus in the Iglesia de los Padres Dominicos. The sermon was based on the Gospel of Saint Matthew 3:3. All the top officials and authority figures were present. In a full speech of admonition with all sins described in detail, the titled sermon “Ego Vox Clamantis in deserto”, was signed by all the friars of the order. They demanded of the Spaniards to give rights and justice to the Taínos, condemning the oppression against them. The scandal was enormous. All were astonished by the boldness of Fray Antón de Montesinos. (The Sermón de Antonio de Montesinos.)

Fray Pedro de Córdoba, head of the order, promised that Montesinos would make a full retraction in his next sermon. Of course, that did not happen. On the second Sunday from Advent, the 7th of December, Montesinos continued his attack on these atrocities in even harsher words.

Montesino spoke out for human rights
Montesino spoke out for human rights

Return To Spain

In 1512 Montecino returned to Spain and was sent to court. After great difficulties, Montesinos managed to see the King and was able to explain the terrible situation. The King held a town meeting, composed by theologians and jurists, to discuss and make a judgment on the case.

Montesinos fought and won.

The Government dictated the results in the Laws of Towns, regulating the work of the Indians yet still forcing them to work as before. The Spaniards and Montesinos continued to fight because these laws did nothing to resolve the situation. Finally, the Government of Cisneros Cardinal created “El Gobierno de los Gerónimos” to mediate between both parties and to create laws in favor of the natives. The laws were created but never applied. The plans of el Gobierno de los Gerónimos / Government of the Jerónimos failed.

Montesino monument
Montesino monument

Montesino died in Venezuela on June 27, 1540. He never saw his dream of equality come to pass. He became the author of the first official reclamation of freedom and equality of the people of America. The exact circumstances of the death of Fray Antón Montesino, the Defender of Los Indios, is unknown.

A Reenactment video of the Sermón de Montesinos en La Española video.


A video of the sermon the Fray gave in Santo Domingo December 21, 1511/ Sermón de Fray Antonio Montesinos predicado en la Isla La Española el 21 de diciembre de 1511.

View of the Montecino Monument in the distance
View of the Montecino Monument in the distance

Interesting bits of information

*The speech of Montecino influenced Bartolomé de Las Casas to get rid of his Native slaves and start fighting for their rights.
*There is a Fray Antón de Montecinos Award from the Alumni Association of the University of Santo Domingo in New York City. This award is given annually to a Dominican professional who lives in the United States. This person must substantially enhance the reputation of the Dominican Republic through their work. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize and a replica of a statue of Montesinos.
*The Friar and martyr returned to Hispaniola and continued to work there and in Puerto Rico. In 1521 he founded, along with other Dominicans, a convent in the town of San Juan Bautista de la Isleta, the basis of the first university in Puerto Rico founded in 1532.
*In 1528, Montesinos went to Venezuela with a mission along with other Dominicans

Monument dedicated to Frey Anton de Montecinos
Monument dedicated to Frey Anton de Montecinos

The Monument Frey Antón de Montecinos

The stone and bronze statue found on the Malecon of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The monument is near the harbor on the far end of the Colonial Zone. It can be seen looming in the horizon at the entrance to the Ozama River. The statue was designed by Mexican sculptor Antonio Castellanos. It is almost 15 feet (4.57 meters) tall. The statue was gifted to the Dominican people by the Mexican government when Lopez Portillo was president of Mexico. The monument to Frey Antón de Montecinos was inaugurated in 1982.

Stairs inside the Monument dedicated to Frey Anton de Montecinos
Stairs inside the Monument dedicated to Frey Anton de Montecinos

The sculpture of Montecinos rests on the upper deck of the building built of limestone and concrete. It was designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vásquez. The monument, including the height or the statue, measures 30 meters or almost 100 feet tall. The original plan was for the structure to house a cultural center. That plan is finally being worked on and is being constructed now. The Marines guard the monument. The view from the top of the structure shows the entrance to Rio Ozama and the Caribbean Sea. You can also see much of the Colonial City.

Playa Placer de los Estudios. The locals call it Playa Placer or Playita Montecinos.
Playa Placer de los Estudios. The locals call it Playa Placer or Playita Montecinos.

Playa Placer de los Estudios

There is a small beach beside the monument of Montecinos. The original name of this beach is Playa Placer de los Estudios. The locals call it Playa Placer or Playita Montecinos.

Part of Playa Placer is very shaded with large palms and there are also many noni trees. You can usually see baseball players practicing their running in the sand or people exercising or walking their dogs.

The beach area runs from the port of Santo Domingo to the coral cliffs that line the Malecon. There is a lot of runoff from the city of garbage and sewage. When there is any storm or hard rain it washes the trash down from the Rio Ozama and it accumulates here. It is so sad to see. It is not advisable to swim on this beach.

Playa Placer de los Estudios. The locals call it Playa Placer or Playita Montecinos.
Playa Placer de los Estudios. The locals call it Playa Placer or Playita Montecinos.

Location

View from Fuerte San Jose  Monument dedicated to Frey Anton de Montecinos
View from Fuerte San Jose Monument dedicated to Frey Anton de Montecinos

The monument honoring Montecino is located on Paseo President Billini where it changes to Avenida George Washington, better known as The Malecon, next to the Port of Santo Domingo on the Caribbean Sea at the mouth of Rio Ozama. Sometimes crossing the Malecon can be dangerous. Facing Montecion walk left along the Malecon and there is a pedestrian bridge at the port that crosses this busy road.

Frey Bartolomé de Las Casas

Frey Father Bartolomé de Las Casas

Father – Frey Bartolomé de Las Casas was so many things to so many people. He was part of the original colonization of Santo Domingo. He fought for human rights in defense of the Indigenous peoples of Hispaniola.

Painting of Frey Bartolomé de Las Casas
Painting of Frey Bartolomé de Las Casas

Books By Las Casas

Frey Bartolomé de Las Casas was a Spanish colonist, a priest, a friar, the founder of a Utopian community and first Bishop of Chiapas. He was a scholar, historian and 16th century human rights advocate. Las Casas has been called the Father of anti-imperialism and anti-racism. Considered by some to be a saint and by others to be a fanatic and close to insanity.

Las Casas to this day is still very much an icon. He is the symbol of justice and the fight for human rights in Latin America. He led the way for many peoples fight for freedom and human rights. So, no matter what people thought of this Dominican monk, he made a great influence in the life and culture of the world.

It is interesting to note his birth and death years. 1484*-1566*. There are many different dates for the time of Las Casas birth and death. Originally it was said he was born 1474 but after some scholars did some studying they discovered he was really born much later in 1484. So now history has change and his official birth date is November 16, 1484. Las Casas died, some reports say on July 17th and others say the 18th, 1566 when he was either 81 or 82 years of age.

The statue honoring Las Casas located in the Plaza Bartolomé de Las Casas in the Ciudad Colonial
The statue honoring Las Casas located in the Plaza Bartolomé de Las Casas in the Ciudad Colonial

Las Casas was born in Spain and studied in the Cathedral school of Sevillana. He came to Hispaniola with the expedition of Nicholas de Ovando in 1502. He participated in some campaigns of conquest on the island and left for Rome in 1507. When he returned was granted an allotment of Indians by Diego Columbus.

Padre las Casas was the first to hold mass for the Indians in the Americas. A sermon of Fray Pedro of Cordova in favor of the Indians helped to unite the fight in the defense of the exploded Taino Indians. He intervened with the head of the Dominican priests to look for the solution to the problem of the indigenous peoples. As of that moment, the young priest became the lawyer of the mistreated Native race. With that aim he traveled to Spain, where he met with King Fernando the Catholic, at the end of 1515. He gained nothing with that interview.

After the Death of King Fernando, Cardinal Cisneros replaced him in the Court. Finally, with Cardinal Cisneros at the head, Bartolomé was able to form a group, administered by Spaniards and helped by monks, to aid the indigenous peoples of the island. Still, the people in charge did not want to give freedom to the Indians.

Las Casas returned to Spain, where meeting with the new Monarch Carlos V, proposed new plans to improve the life of the Indians. One of the proposals of the Father the Houses was the one to replace the indigenous population with black Africans. This proposal was accepted but it did not improve the situation of the Indian. The Indians of Hispaniola disappeared quickly, in spite of the effort of Las Casas to protect them.

When there were very few indigenous Indians left on the island Las Casas went to the newly conquered territories and continued with his defense of the natives. He was against the violent conquest of the territories and always protested against the great slaughtering carried on by the conquerors.

It is also interesting to note that Las Casas, while fighting for the rights of the Natives did not fight for the rights of the African Slaves. He did not want Indian slavery but he still used African slaves. Bartolomé de las Casas eventually came to the realization that all forms of slavery were wrong and inhumane. In The History of the Indies published in 1527 Las Casas is quoted saying “I soon repented and judged myself guilty of ignorance. I came to realize that black slavery was as unjust as Indian slavery…
and I was not sure that my ignorance and good faith would secure me in the eyes of God.”

Las Casas fought in several locations of South and Central America trying to prevent the extermination of the Indians. While in Peru he preached against the violence of Pizarro in the conquest of the Incan Empire. For this reason he was transferred and imprisoned in Santo Domingo in 1533.

Bartolomé continued his fight in 1535 when he was released from prison and continued on to Central America. In Guatemala he made an attempt of pacific conquest.

An interesting quote by Las Casas:
“The reason why the Christians have killed and destroyed such an infinite number of souls is that they have been moved by their wish for gold and their desire to enrich themselves in a very short time”

Las Casas Books

Las Casas fought for the rights of the Indians until his death in July 1566. He wrote several important works about the conquest and Spanish colonization in Las Americas. The books “Apologética” and the “Historia de Las Indias” (History of the Indians”) are the most recognized. In his will he signed over all his writings to the College of San Gregorio.

Some writings of Las Casas
*Apologetic History of the Indies
*History of the Indies
*Spanish Cruelties
*A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
*Comprobatory Treatise on the Imperial Sovereignty and Universal Jurisdiction which the Kings of Castile Have over these Indies

A list of books by and about Frey Bartolome de las Casas on Amazon

Plaza Bartolomé de Las Casas in the Ciudad Colonial
Plaza Bartolomé de Las Casas in the Ciudad Colonial

For much more on Las Casas please go to http://www.lascasas.org

Plaza Frey Bartolomé de Las Casas

There is a small and beautiful plaza in the Colonial Zone honoring Las Casas. It is located on Calle Padre Billini between Hostos and Arz. Meriño.