Local January 25, 2016 | 7:59 am

Dominicans pay homage to Founding Father Juan Pablo Duarte

Santo Domingo.– Today, a holiday in the DominicanRepublic, marks the birthday of Juan Pablo Duarte, founding father ofthe Dominican nation. He was born on 26 January 1813.

During his early years Duarte studied in Spain (1828-1833). Uponhis return to his homeland, he found that young Dominicans wereresentful of Haitian rule. In response to this unrest, he and severalother patriots organized a secret society, La Trinitaria, to worktoward independence and to stimulate liberalism.

His first attempt to oust the Haitians in 1843 collapsed, and hefled the country; but his followers succeeded in overthrowing theHaitians the next year. In February 1844 Duarte returned, and theDominican Republic proclaimed its independence.

It was not Duarte’s followers, however, who ultimately triumphed,but a local caudillo (military dictator), Pedro Santana. The defeatedDuarte was exiled and took up residence in Caracas.

He left Caracasfor the Dominican Republic only once, during the War of Restoration(1864) against Spain, after which he was sent on a diplomatic missionfor one year. Juan Pablo Duarte died in 1876.

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