February 27 National Holiday of the Dominican Republic
In 1821, La Española reached its independence from the Spanish Crown in a peaceful way, with amicable transactions. This period is known in history as the Ephemeral Independence, since soon after, the Haitian army, lead by Jean-Pierre Boyer, invaded the Dominican territory, occupying the country for 22 years.
These were many years under a brutal regime; one that attempted to eliminate all customs including the Spanish language. The effects of the occupation felt stronger in the city of Santo Domingo, and it was here where the movement for independence was born.
In 1838, upon returning from his studies in Europe and convinced by the ideas of Liberalism taking over the old continent, Juan Pablo Duarte founded a secret organization called La Trinitaria, born with one only objective: the creation of an independent homeland, free from any foreign subjection or authority. Duarte found a large account of followers in his goal, including Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco Del Rosario Sánchez.
This movement grew rapidly, especially amongst youth, and spread itself to major cities of the country. Its widespread influence was largely due to the work of an artistic society called La Filantrópica, which led pro-independence ideas directly to the people through works of theatre.
After several alliances, La Trinitaria took advantage of the circumstances that accelerated the independence movements in the eastern part of the island, strongly determined to put an end to the oppressive ties.
Municipal elections were held on June 15, 1843, and won in its majority by members of La Trinitaria in the eastern sector of the country. This victory sharpened the struggle against Haitian ruling, making General Gérard and his troops begin the persecution of the members of La Trinitaria throughout the country. This persecution forced Juan Pablo Duarte to flee the country and settle in Venezuela.
The members of La Trinitaria, now lead by Francisco Del Rosario Sánchez, made alliances with the conservatives, signing ‘The 1844 Manifesto’, considered legitimate law until the publication of the Constitution of San Cristobal on November 6 that same year.
The night of February 27, 1844, everything was set in the city of Santo Domingo to free the country from Haitian ruling. The plan was to take possession of all forts in the old wall surrounding the city, as well as other strategic points of location. At 11 at night, at the Plaza of Mercy (currently known as Door of Mercy) a few less than those initially expected showed up, but as compromising as the situation seemed, Mella said “Let’s risk all for all”, firing his blunderbuss to the air. This shot marked the beginning of independence. The battle was short and on that same Tuesday, February 27, 1844, the Dominican Republic proclaimed itself an independent nation. On February 28, upon fencing La Fuerza (known today as the Ozama Fortress), Haitians had left their posts and, aware of defeat, General Desgrotte signed two letters, one addressed to the Consul and another to the revolutionaries. The response was swift, and a temporary board, constituted de facto on the previous night, replied:
“The deprivation of our rights, the humiliation and mismanagement of the Haitian government, has given us the firm and indestructible resolution to be free and independent, at the expense of our live and our best interests and no threat will be able to withdraw our will”. On that same night, the Haitian army conceded on a 10-point document.
The first Dominican flag was mad on this same day.