Local January 26, 2024 | 8:05 am

211th anniversary of the birth of Juan Pablo Duarte

Santo Domingo.- Today, January 26, the Dominican Republic celebrates the 211th anniversary of the birth of Juan Pablo Duarte Diez, an eminent ideologist, and the nation’s founder. This date serves as a reflection on the life and enduring national legacy left by Duarte. His unwavering commitment to independence culminated in the establishment of a free and sovereign Republic on February 27, 1844, liberating the nation from foreign influences.

Alongside fellow patriots, Duarte co-founded the clandestine society known as La Trinitaria, with the primary objective of breaking free from the Haitian regime that held the Dominican people in bondage.

Born in Santo Domingo on January 26, 1813, Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez, along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella, stands as one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. Duarte’s parents were Doña Manuela Diez, a Seibana with Spanish and Dominican heritage, and Juan José Duarte, a prosperous Spanish merchant. Early in his education, Duarte received instruction from his mother and later from a teacher named Montilla.

Religious education took precedence in his early learning, and by the age of six, Duarte could read and recite the entire catechism. While clerics Bonilla and Gutiérrez were his early teachers, he acquired fundamental knowledge in reading, writing, grammar, and arithmetic from Professor Manuel Aybar.

On July 16, 1838, Juan Pablo Duarte founded the Secret Society of La Trinitaria, joined by Juan Isidro Perez, Pedro Alexander Pina, Jacinto de la Concha, Felix Maria Ruiz, Jose Maria Serra, Benito Gonzalez, Philip Alfau, and Juan Nepomuceno Ravelo. In addition to La Trinitaria, they established The Philanthropic Society and The Dramatic Society for public activities and propaganda efforts through theatrical presentations. Duarte and his compatriots even joined the Dominican companies of the Haitian army to gain military knowledge.

Duarte played a pivotal role in leading the movement for independence in Santo Domingo, establishing himself as the primary political leader of the Dominicans. However, the revelation of La Trinitaria’s independence activities prompted President Herard to initiate a military occupation of the Dominican provinces, aiming to dismantle the separatist leadership.

In the face of adversity, Matías Ramón Mella and the Santana brothers were arrested and taken to Haiti, while Francisco del Rosario Sánchez managed to hide and spread false news of his death.

Juan Pablo Duarte passed away on July 15, 1876, in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1884, his remains were repatriated to Dominican soil by the government of Ulises Heureaux (Lilís), who, along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matias Ramón Mella, declared him the Father of the Nation.

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