Dominican Republic Timeline

1492

  • Christopher Columbus lands and names the island Hispaniola (Little Spain).

1496

  • First Western Hemisphere Spanish colony established at Santo Domingo

1697

  • Treaty of Ryswick awards western part of island (Haiti) to France and eastern part (Santo Domingo) to Spain

1822

  • Santo Domingo annexed by Haiti’s President Boyer

1844

  • After Boyer’s overthrow, Santo Domingo becomes independent and renamed the Dominican Republic.

1861-63

  • President Pedro Santana returns the Dominican Republic to Spanish rule.

1863-64

  • Spain withdraws from and annuls its annexation of the Dominican Republic following a popular revolt.

1865

  • The second Dominican Republic begins with a treaty giving the United States 50 years’ control over its customs department in exchange for the United States assuming the Republic’s debts.

1916-24

  • Occupation by U.S. military to put down internal disorder

1924

  • U.S. troops leave after constitutional government reestablished.

1930

  • General Rafael Trujillo gains total control after overthrowing the president.

1937

  • Trujillo orders military to massacre an estimated 13-20,000 Haitians living in Republic near the Haitian border.

1960

  • Organization of American States calls for breaking diplomatic relations with the Republic.

1961

  • Trujillo assassinated

1962

  • Juan Bosch, founder of the leftist Dominican Revolutionary Party, elected president in the first democratic elections for nearly four decades

1963

  • Bosch deposed in military coup and replaced by a three-man civilian junta

1965

  • Some 30,000 US troops invade the Dominican Republic following attempt to return Bosch to power.

1966

  • Joaquin Balaguer, a Trujillo protege and former leader of the Reformist Party elected president. Elected president in 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990 and 1994.

1996

  • Balaguer steps down after massive public demonstrations.

2004

  • Leonel Fernandez, former Dominican leader (1996-2000), reclaimed the presidency in vote that reflected frustration with the nation’s worst economic crisis in decades.

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