The Dominican Republic celebrates 169 years of independence on February 27.
The country was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and named La Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic Independence Day is credited to Juan Pablo Duarte, a political leader who founded the secret society La Trinitaria on July 16, 1838, which ultimately freed the country from Haitian rule in 1844.
Duarte is known as the Dominican Republic’s founding father. Over the years, the French, Spanish and Haitians fought for rule of the Dominican Republic. Duarte’s first attempt to free the country from Haitian President Jean-Pierre Boyer in 1843 failed. He was jailed and later fled the country. The following year other leaders within the secret society were successful in overthrowing Haitian rule. The country was renamed the Dominican Republic and February 27, 1844 was declared its independence day.
Secretary of State John Kerry issued this statement on the Dominican Republic Independence Day.
“On behalf of President Barack Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the Dominican Republic on the celebration of the 169th anniversary of Dominican independence this February 27.
The United States and the Dominican Republic have a strong relationship based on historic ties and mutual interests. Our citizens’ security, governance, economic growth, health and education are regional challenges that we address as partners. Last year’s launch of Alerta Joven highlighted our joint commitment to youth opportunity and cooperation in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The Dominican Republic was also the first Caribbean nation to sign a joint statement on global supply chain security to increase and facilitate trade, and I look forward to further collaboration on these and other issues.
The United States stands with the people of the Dominican Republic as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence. May peace, prosperity and social equity frame the year ahead.”
Facts about the Dominican Republic
Here’s some interesting facts about the Dominican Republic.
- The Dominican Republic is home to roughly nine million people. The country’s capital and the largest city is Santo Domingo de Guzman, which has over 2.9 million residents.
- The island nation’s official language is Spanish and their currency is the peso.
- More than 90 percent of Dominicans claim Roman Catholic as their religion. Many of its devotees practice Santeria, a mix of Catholicism with African cultural influences.
- The country’s national bird is the palmchat.
- The Dominican Republic’s national flower is the Caoba.
- The Dominican Republic’s national sport is baseball.
Take a look at Google’s 2012 Doodle for the Dominican Republic Independence Day.