The late 1700s the island saw a change for the worse as the Haitians
began to revolt (1791) and many of the wealthy landowners in the east, including
in Santo Domingo, fled the island. This revolt, primarily between the slaves in
the French section of the island (Haiti) and the wealthy French landowners and France,
led to Spain attempting to seize the entire island. This move failed though and
in 1795 France took control of the entire island, including what is today the Dominican Republic.
Under French rule consistency was lacking. First the slaves
were freed, then the government clamped down and allowed few freedoms, and finally
the people revolted and the Haitians declared independence,
while destroying many cities in the eastern half of the island. Then the
Spanish residents on the island's eastern half rose up against the French
and in 1808 overthrew the French and took Santo Domingo, with some assistance from
the British, ending French rule and placing the eastern
half of the island back under Spanish rule.
The Spanish showed little interest in their returned colony
as the land became somewhat chaotic and ungoverned. In 1821 the region declared
independence as Spanish Haiti, but this only provoked the nation of
Haiti to invade and take the entire island. Under Haitian rule, the culture
of the ethnic Spanish was suppressed as the language, dress, religion, and many
customs were suppressed or outlawed. It also ended slavery on the island and represented
a major shift in power from primarily white Spaniards to primarily black slave descendants.
In 1844 the people on the eastern half of the island revolted and gained independence
from Haiti. During the first decade or so after declaring
independence the people of the east fought the Haitians, while the government continuously
used these battles as excuses to gain more and more power, essentially creating
a dictatorship. However this power also led to regular coups and elections, which
continuously shifted power from person to person.
After these disastrous battles and power struggles, the people requested and received
annexation from Spain, again making them a colony of their
former master in 1861. However, this temporary peace was marred by those who now
wanted independence and wars again continued as rebels fled to Haiti in order to
resupply and prepare. However, these rebels were isolated from each other and when
together never seemed to agree, so it seems like a failed effort until 1865 when
Spain restored the country's independence.
After independence the country was in ruins and there was no cohesiveness in the
political realm. From this point until the early 1900s the country suffered coup
after coup and military battles throughout the country. However, the country also
began to gain revenues from sugarcane production and many sugarcane producers in
the region struggled due to their own domestic affairs. This industry helped the
country as it demanded better roads, ports, communication, and infrastructure.
With growth also came increasing debts though and soon numerous foreign countries
were demanding repayment. In 1905 the United States
guaranteed the debts would be repaid, but in exchange the U.S. government received
over half of the Dominican Republic's customs
duties income. This didn't settle domestic arguments and political chaos as
the country was struck by battle after battle. Due to this and the agreement the
country had with the United States, the U.S. entered in 1916 to restore order. This
order was resented by the people and in 1922 the U.S. withdrew from the country.
In 1924 the country was taken over by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who gained nearly
the entire vote through threats, bribes, and intimidation. Trujillo established
a strong handed dictatorship based on economic growth. He also thought highly of
himself as every success was credited to him. He also took over private enterprises
and personally controlled over 50% of the economy by the 1950s. His rule finally
ended in 1961 when he was assassinated.
From Trujillo's death until 1965 the country again broke down into chaos. This
led to the request for U.S. assistance
and the U.S. again came in and controlled the country for nearly two years. This
operation helped foreign nationals escape, while waiting out the ensuing civil war.
From 1966 until the late 1980s the country's political stability slowly leveled
off as power was shifted from party to party, however the economy also shifted dramatically
and took some severe downswings, preventing sustainable progress. The political
situation deteriorated in 1990s when the elections were said to have been rigged,
an event that again occurred in 1994.
In 1996 the Dominican Republic's political
situation finally stabilized as elections have truly been free, however this again
hasn't improved the economy as much of the country remains impoverished the
currency can't seem to remain stable.