Antiqua Print Gallery Abortive US purchase of the Dominican Republic
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Abortive US purchase of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic (Spanish: República Dominicana) is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are occupied by two countries, Saint Martin being the other. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean island nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 km² and an estimated 9.5 million people. Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (the latter of partly African ancestry), despite not being among the founding members of La Trinitaria, were decisive in the fight for independence. Duarte and they are the three Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. On February 27, 1844, the Trinitarios (Trinitarians), declared the independence from Haiti. They were backed by Pedro Santana, a wealthy cattle rancher from El Seibo, who became general of the army of the nascent Republic. The Dominican Republic's first Constitution was adopted on November 6, 1844, and was modeled after the United States Constitution.
The decades that followed were filled with tyranny, factionalism, economic difficulties, rapid changes of government, and exile for political opponents. Threatening the nation's independence were renewed Haitian invasions occurring in 1844, 1845-49, 1849-55, and 1855-56.
Meanwhile, archrivals Santana and Buenaventura Báez held power most of the time, both ruling arbitrarily. They promoted competing plans to annex the new nation to another power: Santana favored Spain, and Báez the United States.

The voluntary colony and the Restoration republic

In 1861, after imprisoning, silencing, exiling, and executing many of his opponents and due to political and economic reasons, Santana signed a pact with the Spanish Crown and reverted the Dominican nation to colonial status, the only Latin American country to do so. His ostensible aim was to protect the nation from another Haitian annexation. But opponents launched the War of the Restoration in 1863, led by a group of men including Santiago Rodríguez and Benito Monción, among others. General Gregorio Luperón distinguished himself at the end of the war. Haitian authorities, fearful of the re-establishment of Spain as colonial power on their border, gave refuge and supplies to Dominican revolutionaries. The United States, then fighting its own Civil War, vigorously protested the Spanish action. After two years of fighting, Spain abandoned the island in 1865.
Political strife again prevailed in the following years; warlords ruled, military revolts were extremely common, and the nation amassed debt. In 1869 it was the turn of Báez to act on his plan of annexing the country to the United States. In 1869, Báez signed a treaty with President Ulysses S. Grant, selling the country to the United States for $150,000 plus a payment of 1.5 million dollars for Dominican debt repayment. It was supported by Secretary of State William Seward, who hoped to establish a Navy base at Samana. But the United States Senate refused approval on June 30, 1870, on a vote of 28-28, two-thirds being required. One reason for President Grant's support was providing a home where U.S. freedmen could live free of harassment by Southern whites.
In 1869, Báez signed a treaty with President Ulysses S. Grant, selling the country to the United States for $150,000. Supported by Secretary of State William Seward, who hoped to establish a Navy base at Samana, in 1871 it was defeated in the U.S. Senate through the efforts of abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner.[

(Source Wikipedia)