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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”.

Las Hermanas Mirabal – The Mirabal Sisters

Las Hermanas Mirabal/ The Mirabal Sisters

The Hermanas Mirabal are 3 women who followed their convictions with bravery and selflessness to fight for what they believed. Fighting against the Dominican Republic dictators’ rule they felt was wrong. Three of them – Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa – gave their lives for their cause when some henchmen, following the orders of Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, killed them savagely. The four sisters and the group they were involved in were a threat to this commanding dictator because they were involved with plotting to overthrow Trujillos’ cruel, ruthless and fascist government. The remaining sister, Dedé, preserving their memories until her death in 2014.

Patricia, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabal - Original Images Owned by the Mirabal Family
Patricia, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabal – Original Images Owned by the Mirabal Family

The story of the Sisters known as the Mariposas | Movimiento 14 de Junio/ The Movement of the Fourteenth of June | Patria Mercedes | Minerva Argentina | Maria Teresa | Dedé (Bélgica) | Video – Documental Las Mariposas: Las Hermanas Mirabal | The International Day Against Violence Towards Women | Hermanas Mirabal Museum, Original Home, Ecoparque de la Paz and The Obelisco (new page)

“What matters is the quality of a person. What someone is inside themselves ” — Maria Teresa Mirabal

Las Hermanas Mirabales / The Mirabal Sisters. Dominican women, daughters and mothers from the town Ojo de Agua in the providence of Salcedo, Dominican Republic (Note – As of Nov. 2007 the province is officially named Hermanas Mirabal). Women who fought to overthrow the dictatorship of President and Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. Three ladies – Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa – gave their lives for their cause. The remaining sister, Dedé, lovingly preserved their memories until her death in 2014.

Trouble With Trujillo

The families’ first real run-in with Trujillo was at a party to which they were invited. Trujillo had his eye on Minerva so he had the family invited to another party. All but Chea, the mother, went as they were afraid to refuse the “request”. Trujillo was very enamored with Minerva and danced and engaged her in conversation. When she refused his advances the family abruptly left the party. This infuriated Trujillo so he had the father, Don Enrique arrested (no one was permitted to leave a party before Trujillo) and incarcerated in the Fortelaza Ozama in Ciudad Trujillo (Santo Domingo). Minerva and Doña Chea along with Minervas friends Brunilda Soñé, Enma Rodríguez, Violeta Martínez (from Moca) and Violeta Martínez (from San Francisco) were arrested the following day.

Every day Minerva was taken to the Fortaleza Ozama and interrogated by Trujillo’s men. She refused to write a letter of apology to Trujillo. Since the family was well connected, they knew the right people. They got the brother of Trujillo, with whom they were acquainted, to intercede for them and have the family members that were imprisoned released.

They were always in fear of Trujillos’ men and again were arrested a few years later. This constant fear and stress led to Don Enrique, the girls’ father, death on December 14, 1953.

In 1956 their mother, Chea, moved to a new home she had built. She felt too lonely in the old family home after the death of her husband. This home, after the mothers’ death on January 20, 1981, was converted into the Museo de las Hermanas Mirabal / Mirabal Sisters Museum.

The Mirabal girls married went to school, had children, living what appeared to be normal lives. When things just were too much to bear any longer they decided enough was enough. They had a meeting with their friends to find some way to stop Trujillo and his reign of terror over the Dominican people. The group the Mirabal sisters helped form that fought against the Trujillo regimen was known as al Movimiento 14 de Junio/ The Movement of the Fourteenth of June. The sisters were known as Las Mariposas/ The Butterflies.

Original founders and first committee of the Revolutionary Movement 14 of July/ Movimento Revolucionario 14 de Julio
Original founders and first committee of the Revolutionary Movement 14 of July/ Movimento Revolucionario 14 de Julio


Movimiento 14 de Junio/ The Movement of the Fourteenth of June

The young people of the Movimento Revolucionario de 14 de Julio held secret meetings working against the dictator. But, there was a traitor among them. Within a few weeks most all the group of young people, mostly upper middle class, had been arrested and taken into custody. At the end of that month, more than a hundred members of 14 de Julio were caught. Most of them were subject to indescribable torture at the prison “La 40” and a few were killed.

Finally, under pressure from the Catholic Church, Trujillo permitted the women to go free on parole and later some of the mens freedom followed. Many of the important leaders were kept in prison still including Manolo Tavares and Leandro Guzmán, husbands of Maria Teresa and Minerva. The dictator kept the men imprisoned hoping that it would make the ladies shut up and stop their activities, but it did not.

The End of Las Mariposas

On November 25, 1960 Trujillo decided he had enough of the sisters’ trouble making and decided it was time to get rid of them. Trujillo helped to set up a meeting between the sisters and their husbands where they were incarcerated. He sent his men to intercept the three women on their return home from their visit.

The women had an idea that something was up and hired a strong jeep and 37 year old farmer and driver, Rufino de la Cruz, to help ensure their safety to no avail. The sisters’ car was stopped around 7:30PM. They were led into a sugarcane field. Here the sisters and Rufino were mercilessly beaten and strangled to death. Then their car was taken to a mountain known as La Cumbre, between Santiago and Puerto Plata, and thrown off.

Trujillo thought he was finally free of “the problem”. What happened next was just the opposite of what he had hoped. The plan failed. The people of the Dominican Republic, along with the Catholic Church, were outraged. These ladies lives were cut short because of their convictions. Trujillo, with these actions, brought more attention to the rebellion. Instead of eliminating the people working to overthrow his dictatorship this action brought its downfall. This contributed to his assassination on May 30, 1961, only six months later. (more on Trujillo)

A 10 cent Dominican Republic stamp from 1985 to commemorate the death of the Hermanas Mirabal
A 10 cent Dominican Republic stamp from 1985 to commemorate the death of the Hermanas Mirabal


The four Mirabal sisters are the daughters of Enrique Mirabal Fernández and Mercedes “Chea” Reyes Camilo.

Patria Mercedes (the eldest sister, was born on February 27, 1924). She was leaning towards being a nun when she met and married Pedro Gonzalez. They had 4 children.

This butterfly is one of the many located throughout the gardens at the Hermanas Mirabal Museo
This butterfly is one of the many located throughout the gardens at the Hermanas Mirabal Museo

Minerva Argentina (the second sister, was born on March 12, 1926) is the one that initially got involved with the underground movement to overthrow the government. While she was away at school she found that she had friends whose families had been tortured by Trujillos men. With this, her eyes were opened. She was always a bit of a rebel and hated when someone or something was wronged.

Minerva went to University in Santo Domingo (which at that time was called Ciudad Trujillo) and was granted the right to study to become a lawyer. She did complete her studies to become a lawyer, the first woman accepted to study this profession, but she was denied the right to practice law and was never granted her diploma. She had a keen interest in politics which is what led her to meet the leader of the Popular Socialist Party and start her fight for freedom of the country. This was the perfect cause for her. She married Manolo (Manuel Tavarez) who was also anti-Trujillo activist. They had 2 children,

Maria Teresa (Maté) (the youngest sister, was born on October 15,1936) was seeing Leandro Guzmán (they had 1 child) who was also involved in the anti-Trujillo movement. They worked together for the overthrow of Trujillo’s government.

Bélgica "Dedé" Adela Mirabal
Bélgica “Dedé” Adela Mirabal

Dedé, her given name was Bélgica, she was born February 29, 1925 (her birth was filed on March 1st so this is her legal birthday). She is the second oldest of the Mirabal sisters. She is the sister that was not with the rest of the sisters on that tragic day. She was home taking care of all the children for her sisters.

Dedé dedicated her life to preserving her sisters memory. She had 3 sons of her own and she raised her sisters 6 children after their deaths. One of Dedés sons is Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal. He served as the vice-president during Leonel Fernández’s first term as president between the years of 1996 and 2000. Minou Tavárez Mirabal, Minerva’s daughter, grew up to become a congressional representative and vice foreign minister.

Bélgica Adela Mirabal Reyes, the last surviving sister, died at age 88 at 3 PM on February 1, 2014 of pulmonary fibrosis. Her family was at her side.


Video – Documental Las Mariposas: Las Hermanas Mirabal “The death of the Mirabal sisters marked the modern history of the Dominican Republic. In turn, the ideals of those who died have been an example and inspiration to the world.”

*You can watch the video on YouTube here.

The International Day Against Violence Towards Women

The International Day Against Violence Towards Women was accepted on December 1999. At the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly was adopted Resolution 54/134. This resolution declared November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was chosen because on November 25th, 1960 is when the three Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, from the Dominican Republic, were violently assassinated for their political activism. The sisters, known as the “Unforgettable Butterflies,” became a symbol of the crisis of violence against women in Latin America. This date was chosen to commemorate their lives and promote global recognition of gender violence and has been observed in Latin America since the 1980s. “When you mistreat a woman you stop being a man” / “Cuando maltratas a una mujer dejas de ser un hombre”

The complete story of the Mirabal Sisters in Spanish

Casa Reales – The Building and The Museum

Casa Reales – The Building and the Museum

The fusion of three different colonial houses come together to form the Casa Reales. Originally built in 1508 it is now the home of a very informative museum explaining the rich history of this island and the country of Dominican Republic. It also houses a collection of weapons once owned by the Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.

Las Casas Reales / The Royal Houses | The Museo / Museum | Location, Hours and Cost

Casa Reales seen from Rio Ozama
Casa Reales seen from Rio Ozama


The original house, built in 1508, was a property of the treasurer Cristóbal de Santa Clara. A few years later it was confiscated for debts and became the property of the of the crown.

Casa Reales front entrance
Casa Reales front entrance

The Casa de Contratación, an adjacent property, was built in the year 1504 and became the residence of the Governor or Captain General of the island.

In the 1520s

the space between these two buildings was filled and the 3 buildings became one, a palace dedicated to La Real Audiencia de Santo Domingo / The Royal Audience of Santo Domingo.

The original three buildings were occupied by el Gobernador / Governor, Presidente de la Real Audiencia / President of the Royal Audience and El Capitán General / Captain General. By the end of the 1500s the three buildings were put together because all the offices were held by the same person.

Casa Reales side window
Casa Reales side window

This building was home to the government palace until the Trujillo Era when the new Government Palace was built. Then President Joaquín Balaguer restored the building and converted the buildings into a Historical Museum.

Casa Reales window above the front entrance
Casa Reales window above the front entrance.

The arched gothic style windows on the second floor was where the Royal Court was held. It gave a perfect view of the Sun Dial in the plaza. This is how the court knew the correct time to write on the official documents.

Reloj del Sol in front of Casa Reales
Reloj del Sol in front of Casa Reales

The Museum

Museo Casa Reales Coach and typical dress
Museo Casa Reales Coach and typical dress

Casa Reales Museo was created by President Balaguer and opened to the public on October 18, 1973. The museum is dedicated to everything related to the periods of discovery, conquest and colonization of the island and its relationship with the rest of the American continent.

Casa Reales Museo model of Columbus ship
Casa Reales Museo model of Columbus ship

This powerful building has many beautiful architectural styles. The huge ground floor windows keep the buildings fresh by letting the cool breezes flow through its luxurious stone and coral walls.

Casa Reales Museo one of the courtrooms
Casa Reales Museo one of the courtrooms.

There is a replica of a colonial courtroom and many exhibits in the museum including the coat of arms of Spain.

Underneath the stone staircase is a large globe of the world with a horse on his hind lags ready to leap. Here is written in Latin: Non sufficit orbis (The world is not large enough).

Casa Reales Museo suit of armor at the entrance
Casa Reales Museo suit of armor at the entrance.

The museum also houses Trujillo’s weapons collection.

Casa Reales Museo weapons collection
Casa Reales Museo weapons collection.

The beautiful interior courtyards are perfect for taking a breath of fresh air. The statue of Fray Alonso de Zuazohold looms in thge center of one of the pation and also you just might spot a peacock or two strutting around the large beautiful interior patio.

Casa Reales Museo peacock
Casa Reales Museo peacock.

Location, Hours and Cost

: Calle las Damas and the beginning of Las Mercedes The Plaza del Reloj Sol is in front and it is connected to Plaza España. Phone: 809-682-4202.

Entrance to the museum (2016) RD$20 for adults and RD$20 for children.

Hours: 9:00-5:00 – Closed on Mondays