Chronology of Dominican History

Social, economic and political milestones of the Dominican Republic

4000 B.C. to 3500 B.C Indigenous people begin to populate the Antilles 

400 B.C. Occupation of the Antilles by agricultural groups of Arawak origin arrived from the Venezuelan coast. 

1000 – Development of the Taino culture in the Antilles.  

1492 – Christopher Columbus discovers the north coast of Santo Domingo.  

1494 – 1494 – The first mass is officiated and the first city council is set up in the New World, in La Isabela. 

1498 – The city of Santo Domingo on the eastern border of the Ozama River is founded. 

1499 – The first black slaves are introduced. 

1500 – Francisco de Bobadilla substitutes Columbus as governor of the island. 

1503 – Nicholas de Ovando takes possession as governor and supreme justice of the island. 

1509 – Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus, is named governor of the colony of Santo Domingo.  

1511 – The First Real Audiencia is established, a new political institution destined to restrain the power of the governor. 

1516 – The sugar industry develops. 

1519 – Rebellions of black and indigenous slaves begin.  

1524 – The Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo was designated, with jurisdiction in the Caribbean; the Atlantic coast of Central America and Mexico; and the north coast of South America, including all of what is now Venezuela and part of present-day Colombia. 

1541 – The Cathedral of Santo Domingo is consecrated as the First in the Americas. 

1697 – Spain recognizes the French occupation of the western part of the island.

1715 – Battle between Spaniards and French for La Española territory. 

1777 – Spain and France sign the Treaty of Aranjuez that delimited the border between the eastern and western colonial territories of the island of Santo Domingo. 

1821 – First Independence of the Dominican Republic (from Spain). 

1822 – Begins a period of 22 years of Haitian invasion in Dominican territory. 

1838 – Juan Pablo Duarte founds the secret society La Trinitaria, founder of national independence. 

1844 – Declaration of National Independence, proclaiming the Dominican Republic as a free, independent and sovereign nation. The Dominican flag is raised for the first time, in La Vega. In San Cristóbal the first Dominican Constitution is issued. 

1845 – The Supreme Court of Justice is established. 

1853 – The lighthouse of the port of Santo Domingo is put into operation. 

1864 – Death of General Pedro Santana, the first President of the Republic. 

1865 – The Restoration War ends. 

1866 – The first Dominican postal stamps are put into circulation. 

1876 ​​- Father of the Nation, Juan Pablo Duarte, dies in exile. 

1877 – The remains of Christopher Columbus are found in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. 

1883 – The Dominican National Anthem is performed for the first time in public. 

1884 – The remains of Juan Pablo Duarte are brought from Venezuela and buried in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. 

1889 – The “Listin Diario Marítimo” is founded, one of major newspapers in the country today, the “Listin Diario”. 

1895 – The electric lighting service is inaugurated in Santo Domingo. 

1902 – Military coup headed by Horacio Vásquez that expelled the president Juan Isidro Jiménez. 

1905 – Dies José Reyes, author of the music of the Dominican National Anthem. 

1911 – Murder of President Ramón Cáceres. 

1914 – For the first time an airplane overflies the city of Santo Domingo.

1916 – First United States military occupation. 

1922 – The Catholic cemetery of the city of Santo Domingo begins its services.

  • Signed in Washington, D.C. the agreement to end military occupation of the American troops, allowing the country to recover its sovereignty. 

1924 – Horacio Vásquez takes over the presidency. 

1928 – Inauguration of HIX, the first official radio station in the country. The Dominican National Anthem is broadcast for the first time. 

1929 – Signed the border treaty between the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti where the geographical border between the two countries is defined. 

1930 – Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina assumed the presidency, initiating a dictatorship that lasted 30 years.

  • The hurricane San Zenón destroys the city of Santo Domingo. 

1932 – The Dominican Academy of Language was inaugurated. 

1934 – Trujillo declares as official the Dominican National Anthem composed in 1883 by José Reyes and Emilio Prud’homme, by means of Law No. 700. 

1935 – A Border Agreement is signed between Dominican Republic and Haiti, which ends the old border conflict. 

  • The General Archive of the Nation is created. 

1936 – The name of Ciudad Trujillo is imposed to the capital of the Republic. 

1937 – First National Olympic Games are celebrated in the country. 

1940 – Trujillo creates the newspaper “La Nación” to serve as an ideological basis for his government. 

1941 – Celebration of the first concert of the National Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Reserve Bank of the Dominican Republic is created. 

1942 – The National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo is inaugurated.

  • For the first time the female vote is allowed in a presidential election in the country. 

1947 – Creation of the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic. 

1949 – The National Zoological Park is inaugurated. 

1952 – La Voz Dominicana begins its activity, first television platform in the Republic. 

1955 – The Duarte Bridge on the Ozama River is inaugurated in the city of Santo Domingo. 

1957 – Reinauguration of the Alcázar de Colón after its restoration; had been built in 1510 as residence to the viceroys Diego Colón and his wife Maria de Toledo. 

1960 – Murder of the Mirabal Sisters, Patria, Minerva and María Teresa, by Trujillo. The day of their death was declared in 1999 by the UN as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. 

1961 – Rafael Leónidas Trujillo is assassinated and his dictatorship ends. 

1962 – The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) was created. 

1963 – A coup d’etat overthrows the Dominican president Juan Bosch. A triumvirate formed by Donald Reid Cabral, Manuel Tavárez Espaillat and Ramón Tapia Espinal assumes the presidency of the country. 

  • Assassination of Manuel Tavarez Justo, Dominican revolutionary and husband of the late Minerva Mirabal. 

1965 – Revolution of April: popular insurrection in Dominican Republic and the return of President Juan Bosch.

  • US invasion of the Dominican Republic. 

1966 – The National University Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) was founded. 

  • Joaquín Balaguer (PRSC) is the President. 

1969 – Color Visión becomes the first color television station in the country. 

1973 – Bosch resigns the PRD and founds the PLD. 

  • The National Theater is inaugurated. 

1977 – The Miss Universe international competition is celebrated in the country. 

1978 – Antonio Guzmán (PRD) becomes president. 

1979 – Hurricane David, of category 5, flogs the country leaving an important wake of death and destruction. 

1982 – President Antonio Guzmán commits suicide in the National Palace. Jacobo Magluta, once Vice President of the country, assumes the presidency for the rest of the period (few weeks). 

  • Salvador Jorge Blanco is elected president (PRD). 
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta visits the Dominican Republic. 
  • Frank Sinatra inaugurates the amphitheater of Altos de Chavón in La Romana. 

1985 – For the first time in the country the Premio Casandra are celebrated, currently called “Premios Soberanos”, recognizing the artists in the country in different categories. 

1986 – Joaquín Balaguer is elected president (PRSC). 

1987 – All the caves of the national territory are declared “Natural Patrimony of the Nation”. 

1990 – Colonial City of Santo Domingo is named World Heritage by UNESCO. 

1991 – Balaguer announces agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

1996 – Leonel Fernández is elected President (PLD). 

1998 – The powerful hurricane George caused significant damage to the country. 

  • José Francisco Peña Gómez (PRD) dies of cancer. 

2000 – Leonel Fernández inaugurates the Santo Domingo Cybernetic Park (PCSD) and the Technological Institute of Las Américas (ITLA).

  • Hipólito Mejía is elected president. 

2001 – Juan Bosch dies. 

2002 – Joaquín Balaguer dies. 

2003 – The country is shaken by a deep banking crisis due to the bankruptcy of one of its main commercial banks, BANINTER, followed by BANCREDITO and then the Mercantile Bank.

  • The Pan American Games are held in the city of Santo Domingo. 

2004 – Leonel Fernandez is elected president. 

  • The Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA) is signed. 
  • Athlete Félix Sánchez becomes the first Dominican to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games. 

2007 – Storms Noel and Olga scour the country leaving important human losses, displaced and physical damages mainly to agricultural plantations. 

2008 – Leonel Fernández is elected president.

  • The Metro of Santo Domingo is inaugurated. 
  • The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is signed between the European Union and CARIFORUM countries including the Dominican Republic. 

2010 – Constitutional reform is approved that eliminates presidential re-election and incorporates the Constitutional Court and the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE). 

  • Freddy Beras Goico, the most renowned television host, producer and comedian, dies. 

2012 – Danilo Medina is elected President of the Republic.

  • The National Development Strategy 2030 (END, for its acronym in Spanish) is approved.
  • Félix Sánchez wins gold medal in athletics at the London Olympics in the 400 meters. 

2013 – Dominican Republic wins the World Baseball Classic. 

  • The firstedition of the Premios Soberanos, once Premio Casandra, is held. 

2014 – Dedé Mirabal, the last survivor of the Mirabal Sisters, passes away. 

  • Oscar de la Renta, an outstanding Dominican fashion designer with a successful international career, passes away. 

2015 – Pedro Martinez, a former Dominican pitcher who played in the Major Leagues Baseball, eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young winner and 2004 World Series champion, is exalted to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame. 

2016 – Danilo Medina is elected president. 

  • UNESCO proclaims the Dominican merengue as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 
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