Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana
Official Country Symbols
Patriotic symbols represent for all Dominicans a close connection with our
history and the fight for independence. The flag, the seal and the National
Anthem are symbols of the highest importance for the Dominican identity.
With quartered red and blue sections, separated by a white cross, the national
banner was lifted for the first time in the Cibao on March 4, 1844. Days before,
on February 27, national independence had been declared after 22 years of Haitian
The first national flag featured the same color distribution as the Haitian
flag: the blue sections above and the red below. Later, this distribution of
the sections was changed. The white cross, placed there as an expression of
freedom, has remained since the original design.
The first flags were made by various ladies of Dominican society, among them
María Trinidad Sánchez, María de Jesús Piña,
Isabel Sosa and Concepción Bona.
Constitutional reforms have recorded those changes made to the tricolor banner
over more than 150 years in existence.
The Dominican National Anthem
was originally written in 1883. Emilio Prud'Homme
wrote the lyrics and composer José Reyes put them to music.
The first version of Prud'Homme's verses was presented on August 16, 1883 in
the capital's weekly paper El Eco de la Opinión. 18 years had passed
since the country had restored its independence lost in the annexation to Spain
August 17, 1883, the hymn debuted in a soirée for the national press
in the Logia Esperanza de Santo Domingo. The debut was just the beginning of
its popularity. For its authors, the piece had a precise objective: to heighten
Dominican national sentiment in a country was recently emerging from an annexation
period that revealed the strong ties many of its citizens had to Spain.
The consummation of the national anthem's composition occurred with the transporting
of the remains of the Founding Father of the country, Juan Pablo Duarte, from
Caracas, Venezuela, where he died in 1876. On February 27, 1884, during the
journey that brought the remains from the port of Santo Domingo to the cathedral,
the anthem was played.
Prud'Homme corrected the text in 1897 and produced a final version. On June
7 of the same year, the National Congress officially proclaimed the composition
to be the national anthem.
The dictator Ulises Heureaux, who saw Prud'Homme as an adversary, did not make
the Congressional resolution into law. It was May 30, 1934 when the President
of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, declared the piece
as the national anthem.
Article 97 of the Constitution states that "The National Anthem is the
musical composition approved by Law No. 700, on the date May 30, 1934, and is
invariable, unique and eternal."
El Escudo nacional
The national seal
Since its creation in 1844, the design of the seal was modified on multiple occasions by constitutions, laws and decrees. In 1913, the current seal was created.
In the center, it features a classic seal with a point at the bottom and is
closed on top by an upside-down triangle with the national colors. In the foreground,
there are six flagstaffs, with four gathered flags supporting an open Bible,
and above it, a cross.
On the left, there is a laurel branch to represent immortality, and to the
right a palm branch, a symbol of freedom. A red ribbon, which symbolizes Glory,
unites the branches and over it, a red banner that reads "Dios, Patria
y Libertad" (God, Country and Liberty).
Evolution of the seal
A trophy of weapons and a snake, a laurel branch and two cannons: these were
parts of the Dominican seal eliminated in the process of modification that brought
with it new criteria for authorities and influential thinkers.
The first coat of arms had two exterior laurel branches. Underneath, in an arc,
a snake was biting and swallowing its tail as a symbol of eternal evolution.
On a third draft, the Bible was shown, and behind it a collection of weapons
that included a lance and a rifle with bayonet; a saber and a bugle; and above
the book hung the Dominican flag. Two more Dominican flags were centered on
the second level, with a Frygian helmet at the intersection of the flagstaffs
as a symbol of liberty. A wide ribbon with the words "Dominican Republic"
on it occupied the lower portion and two cannons with their cannonballs were
featured on either side.
In the Constitution of November 6, 1844, the cannons were replaced. In 1848,
a laurel branch was replaced by a vine, which was then, in 1853, substituted
with a palm leaf. The same year, the central flag was succeeded by a cross,
and at the same time, the weapons and the serpent were removed and the crossed
flags were increased from two to four.
The undefined use of the original seal and its variations continued until 1913,
when the current design was officially approved. The Decree was issued by the
government of Monseñor Noüel. The same decree specified the colors
to be used: ultramarine and vermillion.