Juan Pablo Duarte
Born on January 26, 1813 in Santo Domingo, Juan Pablo Duarte is considered one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. In 1801, his parents left the Dominican Republic when Haitian troops, under the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture, took control of Santo Domingo. They fled to Puerto Rico and resided there until the Spanish regained control of part of the country in the War of Reconquista in 1809. Duarte loved to learn and at a young age was enrolled in one of the best schools in the Dominican Republic. In 1828, at the age of 15, his parents sent him to New York so he could get a better education. During the next four years he would also study in London, France and Spain. He returned to the Dominican Republic in 1832 at the age of 20 at a time when the country was being controlled by the Haitian government. Duarte strongly disliked the presence of Haitians in the country. He was very patriotic and began organizing the historical movement to refuse Haitian control.
In 1838 Duarte put together a group call La Trinitaria. It was a secret, patriotic society that was established to help undermine the Haitian occupation. He spoke about a lot of political doctrines he had studied in Spain such as liberalism, nationalism, and idealist socialism. The reformist group’s motto was, “Dios, Patria y Libertad.” This means God, Fatherland and Liberty and would later be incorporated into the national flag. Later on, Duarte and a few other men formed a group called La Filantrópica. This was a much more public group and they spread their ideas of liberation by putting on small theatrical performances. But these groups weren’t just all talk. In 1843, along with many followers and supporters, Duarte managed to overthrow the Haitian president Jean-Pierre Boyer, giving them a huge boost to their movement. But even with this great victory, the succeding president forced Duarte into exile so he fled to...
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