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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    The Haitian domination

    Conquest and Colonization

    The sugar industry

    Contraband and pirates

    French occupation of the western side of the island

    War of reconquers

    Period of "España boba"

    The ephemeral independence

    The Haitian domination


    Key measures of the Boyer government.

    On the social and juridical levels:

    • Proclamation of political and social equality, that is, the elimination of slavery.
    • Modification of the property and land tenant system.  In this way, the eastern side of the island passed from Spanish control, based on communal lands and the multiple and irregular possession of land, to the French regime (which was also applied in Haiti), characterized by absolute private ownership of land guaranteed by titles produced by the State.
    • Incorporation of Dominican residents into the Congress of Haiti.
    • The creation of a Council of Notables for municipal administration.
    • Establishment of marriage as a civil act.
    • Classification of children as legitimate and natural (according to whether they were born in or outside of marriage).
    • Prohibition of games of chance and cock fights.  The latter were only allowed in the country on Saturday or Sunday.
    • Institution of obligatory, secular and free education.
    • Recruitment in the army of all youth from 16 to 25 years old.  This caused a loss of students for the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino and, therefore, it had to close its doors.
    • Prohibition of the use of the Spanish language in official documents.
    • Limitation of the celebration of traditional religious festivities.

    On the economic plane:

    •  Confiscation and distribution of: a) all lands that did not belong to individuals; b) moveable and immovable goods and all territories and their respective capital that were property of the Spanish Crown, as well as those that were property of the Catholic Church; c) all moveable and immoveable goods of the people that had emigrated before and after the unification.

    •  Obligation of all new land owners (who had a right to a minimum of  76.8 hectares) to dedicate the land to fruit cultivation for exportation and to fields necessary for their subsistence.

    •  Registration of all agricultural workers to the lands: they could not pursue any other activity without previous authorization.  Their children were also obligated to pursue agriculture and had to have special permission to go to school.  In the beginning, all that were not government officials or had a recognized profession had to pursue agriculture.

    •  Priority given to coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and indigo crops, which were to be exploited according to the French system of large plantations.

    •  Prohibition of pork raising or the establishment of cattle ranches in land areas of more than 380 hectares.

    •  Suspension of payment of the salaries that priests and members of the ecclesiastical council received from the State.
    •  Prohibition for Dominicans to engage in trade.  Only foreigners, Haitians and representatives of international trade houses could engage in the activity.  The Dominican that wanted to pursue trade had to become a Haitian citizen.

    Dominican reaction.  The Boyer declarations elicited rejection from the majority of the population in the eastern part of the island.  For one faction, the confiscation and distribution of land seemed limiting due to the communal tenancy of lands without exact limits, as well as the group of rights of possession, division, use, sale and participation that had been in effect since the colonial era made it difficult to determine the actual owners and the rights of each.  On the other had, the attempt to impose agriculture for exportation found opposition in the large landowners and small peasants that, for the majority, were accustomed to living from the cattle ranch, on subsistence farming and, to a lesser extent, from logging.

    The opposition to the Catholic Church, most affected by the confiscation of lands and goods, and the direct hit to the Archbishop Pedro de Valera, also had repercussions in the majority of the population, which saw in these and other measures (limitation of the celebration of religious festivities, prohibition of cock fighting and gambling, obligatory agricultural labor, no use of Spanish in official acts and documents, closure of the university and military recruitment of all young men) a group of policies that contradicted their nationalist sentiments.

    The grievance increased due to the economic measures and fiscal obligations imposed on the eastern half of the island to pay the sum of 150 million francs in compensation for the harm caused by the war for Haitian independence.  The fine was demanded by France solely from the inhabitants of the French part of the island of Santo Domingo.

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