The Dominican Restoration War or the Dominican War of Restoration (Spanish: Guerra de la Restauración, Guerra de Santo Domingo) was a guerrilla war between 1863 and 1865 in the Dominican Republic between nationalists and Spain, the latter of which had recolonized the country 17 years after its independence. The war resulted in the restoration of Dominican sovereignty, the withdrawal of Spanish forces, the separation of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo from Spain, and the establishment of a second republic in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Restoration War
Date16 August 1863 – 15 July 1865
(1 year, 10 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)

Dominican victory

Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Spain Kingdom of Spain
Commanders and leaders
15,000–17,000 51,000 Spanish
12,000 Dominican auxiliaries[1]
Casualties and losses
4,000 dead[1]
38 artillery pieces captured
10,888 killed or wounded in action[1]
20,000–30,000 dead from disease[1]
10,000 Dominican auxiliaries (battle casualties and disease deaths)[1]

During the period of the First Dominican Republic, the nation endured repeated attacks from Haiti, and annexation attempts from France, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States, all of which threatened national sovereignty. Also posing a threat to the nation was the dictatorial ways of the presidents who during those years alternated in power. Pedro Santana and Buenaventura Báez were the two prolific politicians competing during this time. At the end of his last term, Pedro Santana decided to annex the country to Spain; His idea was to end the permanent threats from Haiti, but also to remain in power, since in exchange he accepted the position of captain general of the new Spanish province of Santo Domingo.

Such a decision would unleash the Dominican Republic's second war of independence, which pitted the supporters of annexation to Spain against the independentistas or restorers (since their objective was to restore the First Republic). Leaders such as Gregorio Luperón, José María Cabral, Santiago Rodriguez Masago and Gaspar Polanco stood out as the most capable of the generals on the independence side. Founding fathers Juan Pablo Duarte and Matías Ramón Mella also fought on the patriot side. In the aftermath, the war would not bring stability; The continuous confrontations between the conservatives (led by Buenaventura Báez) and the liberals (like Luperón himself, who aspired to modernize and democratize the republican institutions) continued to destabilize and impoverish the country in the following decades.


General Pedro Santana had wrested the presidency from Buenaventura Báez, who had bankrupted the nation's treasury at great profit to himself. Faced with an economic crisis as well as the possibility of renewed attack from Haiti, Santana asked Spain to retake control of the country, after a period of only 17 years of independence. Spain was wary at first, but since the U.S. was occupied with its own civil war and thus unable to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, Spain felt it had an opportunity to reassert control in Latin America. On 18 March 18, 1861, the annexation was announced, and Santana became Governor-General of the newly-created province.[2]: 202–04 

Pedro Santana is sworn in as governor-general of the re-established Captaincy General of Santo Domingo.

However, this act was not well received by everyone. On 2 May 2, General José Contreras led a failed rebellion, and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez led an invasion from Haiti (who were officially neutral, but also concerned about Spain flexing its muscles in the area), but he was captured and executed on 4 July 4, 1861. Santana himself did not fare well under the new regime. He discovered that he was unable to wield the same amount of power under Spanish rule as he could as president of an independent nation, and resigned his post in January 1862.[3]

Spanish officials began to alienate the general population by instituting a policy known as bagajes, which required citizens to hand over any work animals to the Spanish military upon demand without any guarantee of compensation. That was especially problematic in the Cibao region in the north, where farmers depended on their animals for their livelihoods. A second factor was cultural: the new archbishop from Spain was appalled to find that a large number of Dominican couples were not married within the Catholic Church. That situation had come about by a small number of priests in the country, as well as poverty and the lack of roads and transportation to get to a church for marriage. With the best of intentions, Archbishop Bienvenido de Monzón wanted to rectify this situation within a short time, but his demands only irritated the local population, which had come to accept the current state of illegitimate births as normal.[2]: 205–208 

Economically, the new government also imposed higher tariffs on non-Spanish goods and ships and attempted to establish a monopoly on tobacco, thus alienating the merchant classes as well. By late 1862, Spanish officials were beginning to fear the possibility of rebellion in the Cibao region (anti-Spanish feelings were not as strong in the south).[2]: 208–10  Lastly, despite explicit statements to the contrary, rumors spread that Spain would re-institute slavery and ship black Dominicans to Cuba and Puerto Rico.[4]

Meanwhile, Spain had issued a royal order in January 1862 declaring its intent to regain the territories that Toussaint Louverture had taken for Haiti in 1794. In attempting to quell disturbances in Santo Domingo, Spanish troops had evicted Haitians living in these areas along the Haitian–Dominican border. Haitian President Fabre Geffrard gave up his position of neutrality and began to aid the Dominican rebels.[5]: 210–11 

Early uprisings of 1863

Spanish army official in Santo Domingo (1864).

Since the end of 1862, the Spaniards sensed new possible anti-annexation uprisings; news had circulated of clandestine moments and meetings that showed the heated mood of the inhabitants of the Cibao region, as well as on the border with Haiti. However, the Spanish authorities did not plan any war strategy of the Spanish Army stationed in Santo Domingo, and in the weakness of those tbey considered to be enemies of public order, but never separatist revolutionaries.[6] In February 1863, the first uprisings and mutinies occurred that lit the revolutionary spark, (which would rage on over the next several years). On 3 February 1863, there was an uprising in the town of Neiba, led by Cayetano Velasquez, who at the head of 50 Dominicans, attacked the headquarters of the town's Arms of Command wielding clubs and machetes. The mutiny was quickly crushed without major consequences, but it confirmed the incipient emergence of a popular ideology of protest, which was merged with the elements of the ideology for the Dominican Restoration War.

Weeks later, on 21 February, a generalized rebellion erupted in Guayubin, which stretched its networks to Sabaneta, Monte Cristi, Las Matas, Puerto Plata, and Santiago. This uprising, planned to take place on 27 February, was brought forward hastily, since one of its leaders, (who was drunk at the time of the rebellion), irresponsibly betrayed movement in a cockfight. The insurgents achieved the capitulation of the governor of Guayubin, General Garrido, and on 22 February 1863, they entered the town triumphantly. There, they took some administrative measures and distributed among themselves the posts and military positions of the improvised revolutionary army. The uprising would then accumulated into the captures of Sabana and Monte Cristi. These actions forced the governor of Santiago, General José Hungria, to issue a military campaign and abandon his jurisdiction to confront the rebels. With his departure, the rebels seized the advantage. The inhabitants rose up arms against the Spanish regime, but were checked by Spanish forces, who were far superior in equipment and military experience. Alarmed by the situation, the government decreed martial law and the entire nation had entered a state of emergency. Within the first days of March, the rebellion was temporarily quelled and neutralized. During the trial, some of the leaders were sentenced to death, while others received lighter penalties. On 16 March 1863, the Captain General, convinced that the rebellion no longer held weight, decreed a general pardon for all the rebels involved in the events of February. Although, the leaders on the other hand, were executed on the orders of the government on 17 April 1863 in Santiago.

War of Restoration

The Cry of Capotillo

After many failed uprisings, the war would officially began after the Cry of Capotillo by Santiago Rodríguez Masagó

On August 16, 1863, a new group under the leadership of Santiago Rodríguez made a daring raid on Capotillo near Dajabón and raised the new Dominican flag on the Capotillo hill. This action, known as El grito de Capotillo, was the beginning of the war. Soon many more separatists joined him, causing the Spanish military leaders to rush to confront the rebels. The attack by the Dominican ranks was so violent and full of surprises for the Spanish troops that by the end of August the rebels had already taken control of Sabaneta, Guayubin, Monte Cristi, Moca, San Jose de las Matas, Dajabon, San Francisco de Macoris, Cotui and La Vega. Spanish casualties due to illness or war injuries were immense, and it was estimated that they did not have more than 3,000 soldiers in their ranks. The Spanish generals had to opt for withdrawal and reconcentrate in Puerto Plata, Santiago, Samana and Santo Domingo, which began to be fortified by order of the Captain General.

Town after town joined the rebellion, causing the numbers of the rebel army to skyrocket. The first news of these uprisings reached Spain, with the arrival of a war schooner in the port of Santiago de Cuba reporting on the events of Cibao. The Governor and the Commander of the Spanish Navy in Havana immediately informed the Minister of War and the Navy, and decided to send a battalion of 600 men, and an armed battery equipped with livestock and food, to Puerto Plata. Five days later, the Captain General of Cuba decided to send a battalion of hunters to reinforce the Spanish army in Santiago and Puerto Plata. After the actions of Capotillo, news of the Spanish defeats flooded the command and naval station of Puerto Plata. The imprisonment of the General Manuel Buceta and the fall of the city of Santiago. In such virtue from the naval station of Puerto Plata they proceeded to send a request for help to the Samana command and to the Captain General of Puerto Rico. By reading the military and naval documents of the Governments of Cuba and Puerto Rico, it is inferred that the first military strategy that the Spanish carried out was to reinforce the Puerto Plata roadstead and avoid at all costs that it fell into the hands of the rebels. On August 25, the steam lsubelfl, captained by Commander Casto Mendez Nunez, set sail from the port of Santiago de Cuba with a contingent of 600 men destined to reinforce Puerto Plata. Thanks to this shipment, despite repeated attacks, the Dominican restorers were unable to take this important and strategic port. At dawn on August 27, Puerto Plata was attacked by a group of more than 1,000 restaurateurs, who seized the government house, managing to surround the Spanish in the city fort. At night, ellsubelli anchored in Puerto Plata without the rebels noticing it. Commander Mendez together to the head of the expeditionary column, Colonel Arizon, decided to disembark the battalion and the armed battery that came in the steam, in order to support the army besieged in the fort. At Arizon's suggestion, the Spanish armies attacked night and suddenly to the insurgents; defeating them - not without difficulty - and forcing them to withdraw from Puerto Plata. In the action, Colonel Arizon was killed in battle. Although the Spanish commanders were encouraged by this triumph, they soon realized that within the general context of events, the victory was ephemeral and of little importance significance for the Spanish defense. The confrontation of Puerto Plata showed them that the Dominican uprisings took on the appearance of being a true revolution. Despite the fact that the restoration movement was concentrated in Cibao, it was very likely that it was extended throughout the entire Dominican Republic. The number of rebels was large and, although poorly armed, they had managed to cut off all Spanish communications, making it impossible not only to exchange information, but also to harm the supply of the troops and the sending of the necessary military reinforcements. Uncertainty, confusion and haste guided Spanish military decisions. In Havana, the authorities were informed of the clashes in Puerto Plata. They learned that even though the restoration army had been evicted, it had returned with more strength to confront the Spanish again. The Spanish troops were in danger and with the possibility of losing the square, since the number of men, supplies and ammunition was very scarce. Furthermore, it was known that Brigadier Buceta found himself with only 800 men protecting the city of Santiago, but very short of food and ammunition and completely surrounded by the Dominicans. The wounded and sick went on the rise and had to be taken to Cuba or Puerto Rico, alongside the rebel prisoners, delaying the distribution of men, provisions and ammunition, as well as the supply of coal from the same transport vessels.

Siege of Santiago

Illustration of the Battle of Santiago (1863).

When the Governor of Cuba learned of the events in Puerto Plata, he immediately ordered the sending of 200,000 rations of food, ammunition, cannons and rifles for the troops and more than 100 mules for transportation and loading. He ordered it without knowing for sure the true needs of the Spanish Army in Santo Domingo, doubting the solidity and continuity of the separatist actions and at the expense of the royal coffers of Cuba. The Madrid infantry battalion was sent from Puerto Rico, composed of 601 seats, armed, ammunition and fully equipped; In addition to a whole contingent of weapons, carbines, rifles, clothing, food and money, also at the expense of the royal coffers of Puerto Rico. But this military reinforcement sent from the neighboring islands could not contain the determination of the Dominican attack.

The first days of September 1863 were crucial for the restoration cause, since the Dominicans attacked and they took the city of Santiago. Afterwarfs, a force of 6,000 Dominicans besieged Fort San Luis and its 800 Spanish soldiers in Santiago. They enventually forced the Spanish to retreat from Cibao and retreat to Puerto Plata, Samana and Santo Domingo. Given the enormous number, Surprisingly, this numerical superiority of Dominicans who were enlisting in the Restoration Army, at Spanish casualties and the constant request for help from the bosses Spaniards in Santo Domingo, the Cuban authorities men and weapons did not give the Spaniards any ease. The Restoration Army was constantly gaining ground, were forced to increase military reinforcements to contain the Dominican forces from advancing through Puerto Plata, which was; the strategic point that allowed the Spanish, from the to Cibao, maintain contact with Puerto Rico, Havana, Santo Domingo and Samana. In that first fortnight of September, troops arrived from Cuba to Puerto Plata, an artillery section of Montana, a company of workers, an infantry battalion, a company of engineers, ammunition and provisions; and from San to taking advantage of the initial disorder of the Spanish Army that never hoped to fight a revolution, but a simple one. Juan was sent to Santo Domingo to the Puerto Rican battalion in an uprising against public order.

On 11 September 1863, Brigadier Primo de Rivera left Puerto Plata, heading towards Santiago to aid General Buceta, who was having trouble facing the rebels. In fact, since the beginning of the month, Buceta had been engaging with the revolutionaries at the San Luis Fortress. He led a force of 900 armed forces, 4 artillery pieces, 50,000 carbine cartridges, 18,000 rifles, and food rations for four days. But without the use of mules, the transfer of the cargo rested on the shshoulders of the soldiers. Having to prepare for combat and unable to endure the heat, the soldiers resorting to throwing the food to relieve themselves. This forced the officers to widthdraw back to Puerto Plata. This retreat resulted in about 180 wounded soldiers, and in Santiago, another 200 soldiers, who were unable to carry out the order, took refuge in a church.

Restoration government

Jose Antonio Salcedo, first head of the restoration government
Matías Ramón Mella, Minister of War and Vice President.
Gaspar Polanco, one of the leading Generals of the Restoration forces

On the same day of arrival, Colonel Cappa sailed to Santo Domingo to report the Dominican victory in Santiago. This victory left the Dominican forces free land for their advantage. The rebels established a new government the following day, and signed the National Act of Independence. With José Antonio Salcedo as self-appointed president, and immediately denounced Santana, who was now leading the Spanish forces, as a traitor.[5]: 212  Salcedo attempted to engage the U.S. for assistance but was rebuffed.[7]: 18  Once the restorative government was established in Santiago, on September 14, 1863, the southern and eastern guerrilla centers had to be strengthened, but the patriots knew that they were at a disadvantage in terms of supplies and capacity in the face of the annexationist reinforcements that arrived from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Because the Spanish were superior in numbers, weapons and discipline, they applied guerrilla warfare, this time suggested by the Minister of War of the Restoration Government, Matías Ramón Mella, and avoided frontal attacks and “pitched battles of their own,” of the regular armies.” Mella's instructions given in October 1863 indicated that "... our troops must, whenever possible, fight sheltered in the mountains and on the terrain" and they should be "led by officers from academies, since many restaurateurs did not know the basic rules of combat." the war for not having gone to military schools,” says Domínguez based on his research.

In a notice, dated 26 January 1864, addressed by the Provisional Restoration Government to generals José Antonio Salcedo, Eusebio Manzueta, Gaspar Polanco and Aniceto Martínez, it was confirmed that they should only use the tactics established in the aforementioned Instructions for the guerrilla war, whose faithful execution had given victory to the restorers. Despite this, according to historian Emilio Rodriquez Demorizi, some leaders were deviating from them, so their exact compliance because:[8]

"(..) as long as Dominicans continue to observe the guerrilla warfare tactics, as was done at the beginning, they will be invincible even if Spain sends 50,000 men here, but that at the time when the Dominicans move away from it and want to adopt the European tactic or the Spanish army, will be infallibly defeated."

Spain had a difficult time fighting the rebels. Over the course of the war, they would spend over 33 million pesos and suffer over 10,000 casualties (much of it due to yellow fever[7]: 19 ).

New military advances

Military campaigns began in Cibao, Northwest Line, Center and South and in almost all of them the tactic of guerrilla warfare was used, except on two occasions. The first, when Salcedo and General Gregorio Luperón wanted to change it to that of positions and were defeated by the Dominican general annexationist Antonio Abad Alfau in the Sabana combat del Vigía, on the restorative canton of San Pedro, an action which extended to Battle of Arroyo Bermejo. The second, when Gaspar Polanco attacked in Monte Cristi, on 24 December 1864, to the well-entrenched Spaniards. These guerrilla tactics used in the campaigns of the South and Center Cibao, Northeast and East, forced Marshal José de La Gándara to concentrate his troops in San Carlos, Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata and Samaná, after the decline of Santana due to his military failure in Guanuma. Monte Plata, El Seibo and Higüey. The commander's attempts Spanish, with more than 4,000 men under his command, to crush the restoration movement in the South were frustrated with the attacks of the Dominicans in Nigua, Fundación. Sabana Grande, Nizao, Yaguate. Azua, San Juan, Las Matas, Barahona and Neyba. On his march through the wild fields of the Southwest, La Gándara only found destroyed and abandoned crops, empty and burned towns.

After the destruction of Santiago, the Spaniards marched towards Puerto Plata. Throughout their march, they were attacked by the Dominicans, resulting in a loss of 1,200 killed and wounded among the Spanish troops.[9] Upon reaching Puerto Plata, they joined forces with the garrison in the fort, leaving the town vulnerable to pillaging by the rebels.

Rumors circulated that the Spanish troops suffered from a lack of tents. Dysentery and malaria took a significant toll on the troops, especially native Spanish soldiers, with reports suggesting up to 1,500 per month lost to disease.

Defeat in Montecristi

Battle of Monte Cristi

In May 1864, the Spanish made significant progress along the northern coast, capturing the town of Monte Cristi, which was fortified with forts and trenches.[10] In October 1864, the New York Times reported that more than 12,000 Spanish soldiers had perished during the conflict.[11]

On December 4, 1864, southern forces, commanded by José María Cabral, defeated the Spanish in a battle in Neiba. That marked the first time that the Dominicans had emerged victorious against the Spanish in a conventional battle.[12]

Conclusion of the war

La Gándara attempted to broker a ceasefire with the rebels. He and Salcedo agreed to discuss peace terms, but in the middle of negotiations, Salcedo was overthrown and assassinated by the disaffected group of Restoration commanders, led by Gaspar Polanco. Polanco was concerned that Salcedo was taking negligent actions against the Spanish authorities, made numerous costly military mistakes and was planning to recall former pro-annexation president Buenaventura Báez, whom the rebels hated as much as they hated the Spanish for his actions before Santana's July 1857 coup.[5]: 216–217  Although Báez had initially opposed Spanish annexation, once it began he lived in Spain on a government subsidy and had the honorary rank of field marshal in the Spanish Army. It was not until near the end of the war that he returned to the Dominican Republic.[7]: 21 


Monument to the Dominican War of Restoration

Although many Dominican cities were destroyed and agriculture (apart from tobacco) across the country halted during the war years, the War of Restoration brought a new level of national pride to the Dominican Republic. On the other hand, in local politics, leadership during the war was concentrated in the hands of a few regional caudillos, or strongmen, who could command the loyalty of the regions and were more intent on bettering themselves and their followers than the nation as a whole. That system of political power persisted until the late 20th century.[13]

Gregorio Luperon monument in Puerto Plata.

Dominican politics remained unstable for the next several years. Pimentel was president for only five months before he was replaced by José María Cabral. Cabral in turn was ousted by Buenaventura Báez in December 1865, but retook the presidency in May 1866. His negotiations with the United States about the possible sale of land around Samaná Bay proved to be so unpopular that Báez was able to regain the presidency once more in 1868.[7]: 21–24  In intra-island relations, the war marked a new level of co-operation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Until then, Haiti had considered the island of Hispaniola to be "indivisible" and had attempted to conquer the eastern half several times. The war forced Haiti to realize that goal was essentially unattainable, and it was instead replaced by years of border disputes between the two countries.[14]


The Dominican Restoration War (1863–1865) was an authentic war of national liberation of a popular nature waged among the peasant masses. This represented a continuation of the liberal ideals of the revolutionary group, La Trinitaria. August 16 is commemorated a national holiday in the Dominican Republic, as well as the day the Dominican president is sworn into office every four years.[15] This gives Dominican Republic the distinction of being one of the few countries in the world to win its independence more than once.


For some historians, the real independence of the nation and the mobilization of an entire people who resisted returning to the oppression of the former imperial master was found in the Restoration War of the Dominican people. Historian Roberto Cassá maintains that “the main difference between the Restoration and national Independence is the intervention of the people as active subjects. Furthermore, the breakup occurs with respect to Spain.” The participation of the people gave a different meaning to this event; and, without a doubt, once more breaking ties with the former oppressor was a memorable event. However, it cannot be ignored the fact that the Dominicans of the time also had in their memory the imagery of an unjust Haitian government. Historian Frank Moya Pons traces the relationship between Haitians and Dominicans, back to the era of Haitian domination, an occupation that lasted from 1822 until 1844.[16] According to Juan Bosch, it was the most outstanding event in the history of the nation, while at the same time it underlines the lack of knowledge of this event among the Dominicans themselves. According to Bosch, “the gigantic, heroic collective effort and military exploits waged by the men and women who participated in it are unknown.” The incursion of the people into the revolutionary scenario is highly significant, since it allowed the development of a “language of resistance” and “solidarity” in the Caribbean. The concept of “language of resistance” is used by historian Anne Eller in her research, and through the “scenario of this language” that she relates, it allows us to learn about specific characters and episodes of the Dominican Restoration War. In the article, The branches of the tree of freedom: The Restoration War in the Dominican Republic and Haiti (2015), its author –Anne Eller– recounts the existence of a man, known by the name of Manuel de Frías – who was of a “certain age” and a livestock laborer – and highlights the fact that it is through this character that the “rumor” of the reestablishment of slavery spread and how, eventually, this triggered a series of events that would result in the “revolutionary effect.” Eller also highlights the leading role of Dominican women in this war scenario. In Eller's words, “depositions from multiple trials reveal that it was often women who spread news of the coming insurrection; “They went from house to house […] calling on their neighbors to flee to the countryside.”[16]

Reaffirmation of the Dominican identity

The image of a people with a leading role in the war has permeated the discourses of several historians, a scenario that has promoted, in turn, the development of stories aimed at the evident presence of a specifically Dominican identity. Other interpretations that we are interested in highlighting are those of the historians Emilio Cordero Michel and Francisco Antonio Avelino. The first refers to this event as “a true revolutionary process of popular origin that markedly brought together national, social and racial liberation objectives in the most beautiful feat of the 19th century.” For his part, Antonio Avelino argues that: “the War of the Restoration was the beginning of the procedural end of the collective conception of national identity as the Dominicans of the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century came to feel it and imagine its identity.”[17] At the end of the Restoration War, and in the middle of the negotiation process between the restoration provisional government and the annexationist Spanish government, a dialogue narrated by General Gregorio Luperón in his Autobiographical Notes took place. In them, Luperón says, that General José de La Gándara expressed himself about the Dominican soldier saying that he had “admirable aptitude for fatigue, due to his strength, agility and robustness, and although brave and skilled in handling the machete, he shone above everything in personal combat, and for that reason he was a terrible adversary, but since he lacked the qualities that discipline gives, since he lacked the solidity that gives the union and the faith that his fellow soldiers inspire, because even if he felt brave, he did not know if his comrades would be brave at the same time on the right occasion and to the necessary degree.”[17] Luperón responded by telling him that this was true, that it was “true, because the disciplinary soldiers were almost all with the Spanish army, and the patriotism of the Dominican people had to organize their heroic defense in the midst of the fight, under lead and shrapnel.” For Gándara he said the following:[17]

the Dominican, without distinction of color or race, is individually a good man of war; brave and sober, hardened and accustomed to fatigue, he does not fear dangers and has almost no needs. Most of these individual advantages disappear from the moment they form part of a large body: without discipline, without instruction, without trust in their leaders, whose ignorance in the matters of war they are unaware of, they cannot be considered troops for regular combat (... ). Endowed with great physical resistance, with great knowledge of the localities; Practical in walking through their impenetrable forests and agile and sagacious like the Indians, they are tireless in the war of small parties, with which they ceaselessly harass the marches of the columns and convoys. Flanking being impossible in most cases, the enemy guerrillas offend our troops with complete impunity from points chosen in advance, shooting when it suits them and fleeing through the thick of the forest to choose another convenient point to repeat the aggression. Many times, hidden in the mountains under the trunk of a fallen tree or sheltered in its thick branches, they see a column marching ten paces away that they do not even suspect of its existence, and the reckless straggler who separates himself twenty from the last gathered force, "He is a sure victim of his machete."

The truth is that the restoration war did not confront two armies, since on the one hand those who fought against the annexation were the Dominicans in a massive way, organized mainly in guerrillas, who faced one of the most ancient armies with insufficient and ancient weapons. powerful and best armed in the world, which was the Spanish army; but that disciplined and better armed army lacked something that the Dominicans, lying in their hammocks and concentrated in their cantons, had plenty of: courage, dignity, love of the land and their decision to live in their own, independent and sovereign and in the face of that, neither the weapons nor the bravery of the Spanish were of any use.[17] The annexation ended definitively with the departure of the Spanish troops on July 12, 1865. As the Captain General and Duke of Valencia said: "Spain, so powerful, lacked the energy “to tame a few hundred blacks.” gathered in Santo Domingo and yet, those blacks, poor and gathered, provided ragged, unarmed, barefoot, and lacking military knowledge soldiers; and even under these conditions, the Dominican guerrillas defeated the Spanish empire."[17]

Influece on Cuba and Puerto Rico

Beyond the meaning that this War has in the Dominican Republic, its importance in the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico has also been highlighted in historiography. Both Emilio Cordero Michel and Francisco Antonio Avelino argued in this regard. According to Antonio Avelino, “the War of the Restoration was the psychological incentive and the military strategy model for the Cuban War of Independence. Puerto Ricans also began their first independence movement in Lares” and, in that same line of argument, Cordero Michel argues that “it served as an example to the colonized peoples of Cuba and Puerto Rico, especially the former, who began their war of independence in 1868 using restorative tactics.” For her part, Anne Eller also expresses the “Antillean importance of the time.” Regarding Cuba and Puerto Rico, the historian highlights that, three years later, the rebellion would reach these territories that were still a colony of Spain; and, in addition, she mentions the origin of the “rebel flag” of Lares which, according to her, was designed by the Dominican leader Gregorio Luperón.[16]

Rise in Pan-caribbeanism

Ideas related to a union of the Antilles are documented in part of Caribbean historiography. Betances and Hostos expressed themselves around this ideology. In this regard, the historian Cordero Michel proposes that this pan-Antillanism, or confederation plan, emerged in January 1864 from the men of the Restoration – among whom he mentions Pedro Francisco Bonó, Ulises Francisco Espaillat, Gregorio Luperón, and others–, who were the ones who “launched the idea of a Dominican-Haitian confederation, first, and of the Antilles, later.” Finally, regarding the idea of union of the Antilles, it is understood that it was central to the discourses that were developed during the period of the Restoration War. In one opinion, the issue of the confederation plan for the Antilles has been “methodically” worked on by the historians we have studied. The issue of whether it arises from any specific point in the Caribbean is, perhaps, of little relevance here. However, we want to bring into view, already at the end of this writing, that scholars of the historical and literary writing of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean have observed ideas of the Antillean confederation, in The Pilgrimage of Bayoán de Hostos; a work that was published in the Metropolis in 1863, which coincides with the year in which the Restoration War broke out, and it alludes to the event: “you also sadden me, city fatal to America. "Time punishes the crimes that man forgets, and you are Santo Domingo, punished by time."

See also


  • Clodfelter, Micheal (2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786474707 .
  • de la Gándara y Navarro, General José, Annexion and War of Santo Domingo Volume I. El Correo Militar Printing Office, Madrid. 1884
  • de la Gándara y Navarro, General José, Annexion and War of Santo Domingo Volume II . Military Mail Printing Office, Madrid 1884
  • Monción, Benito. Historical Relationship: From Capotillo to Santiago CLIO no. 81. 1948. Page 33-39
  • Cassa, Roberto. Restoration Heroes . General Archive of the Nation. 2009
  • Bosh, Juan. The War of the Restoration. Santo Domingo. 1996
  • González Tablas, Ramon. History of domination and last war of Spain in Santo Domingo. Madrid. 1870
  • Archambault, Pedro Maria. History of the Restoration. La Librairie Technique et Economique. Paris. 1938
  • López Morillo, Adriano. Memories on the second reincorporation of Santo Domingo to Spain Volume I-III. Dominican Society of Bibliophiles. 1983
  • Emilio Rodriguez Demorizi. Heroes of the Restoration: biographical news. Caribbean Editor. 1963
  • Peña Blanco, Joaquín Guillermo. Annexation and War of Santo Domingo . EAS Publishing. Madrid. 2018
  • Luperon, Gregorio. Autobiographical Notes and Historical Notes. El Diario Editorial. 1939
  • Rodríguez-Objio, Manuel. Relationships. Trujillo City. 1951
  • Álvarez-López, Luis (2012). Five essays on the Hispanic Caribbean in the 19th century : Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1861–1898. Santo Domingo: Búho Editorial. ISBN 978-9945-074-67-3 .
  • Lamb Michel, Emilio . Characteristics of the Restoration War, 1863–1865. "Clio" 70 (164): Jun–Dec 2002, p. 39-78.
  • Moya Pons, Frank (2007). Markus Wiener Publishers, ed. History of the Caribbean: plantations, trade, and war in the Atlantic world(in English) (Illustrated edition). p. 370. ISBN 1558764151 .
  • Pérez Memén, Fernando (2008). Annexation and Restoration of the Republic: (ideas, mentalities and institutions). Friend of the Home. ISBN 9789945427332 .
  • Sang Ben, Mu-Kien Adriana (1997). An unfinished utopia: Expaillat and 19th- century Dominican liberalism. Santo Domingo: Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC). ISBN 9788489525542

Additional bibliography

  • Acevedo Marrero, Ramón Luis. Critical anthology of Puerto Rican literature. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Cultural Editorial, 2007.
  • Avelino, Francisco A. Reflections on the Restoration War, Clío , Year 70. No. 164. Santo Domingo, June-December 2002.
  • Bedia Pulido, José Antonio. Hostos and Martí: Liberating Antillanism. Havana, Cuba: Center for Martian Studies, 2013.
  • Cassá, Roberto. Social and economic history of the Dominican Republic, Volume I. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2003.
  • Dominican Republic, cradle of Antilleanism, Clío , Year 71. No. 165. Santo Domingo, January-June 2003.
  • Córdova Iturregui, Félix.Bayoán in front of Madrid: Reflections on The Pilgrimage. Report: Symposium Relevance of the Thought of Eugenio María de Hostos in the 21st century. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Gaviota Publications, 2011.
  • Eller, Anne. The branches of the Tree of Liberty: the Restoration War in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Caribbean Studies. Vol. 43, No. 1 (January - June 2015).
  • Hoetink, Harry. The Dominican people, 1850-1900: notes for their historical sociology. Santiago, Dominican Republic: Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, 1985.
  • Hostos y Bonilla, Eugenio María de. The Bayoán pilgrimage. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, 2001.
  • Moya Pons, Frank. Caribbean History: Sugar and Plantations in the Atlantic World. Third edition in Spanish. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Editora Búho and Librería La Trinitaria, 2017.
  • San Miguel, Pedro L. The imagined island: History, identity and utopia in Hispaniola. Second revised edition. San Juan and Santo Domingo: Editorial Isla Negra and Editora Manatí, 2007

Further reading

  • Alvarez-Lopez, Luis (2009). The Dominican Republic and the beginning of a revolutionary cycle in the Spanish Caribbean 1861–1898. Lanham Maryland: University Press of America, Inc.
  • Bell, Ian (1981). The Dominican Republic. Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Kryzanek, Michael J and Howard J. Wiarda (1988). The Politics of External Influence in the Dominican Republic. New York: Praeger Publishers.
  • Peguero, Valentina (2004). The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, from the Captains General to General Trujillo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Rodman, Selden (1964). Quisqueya: A History of the Dominican Republic. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Welles, Summner (1928). Naboth's Vineyard: The Dominican Republic 1844–1924. New York: Payson & Clarke Ltd.


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  2. ^ a b c Moya Pons, Frank (May 1998). The Dominican Republic: a national history. Markus Wiener Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55876-192-6. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  3. ^ "War of Restoration in the Dominican Republic 1861–1865". Armed Conflict Events Database. Dupuy Institute. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
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  8. ^ Rodríguez Demorizi, Emilio. Diarias de la guerra [War Diaries] (in Spanish). pp. 107–108.
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  11. ^ "Later From Havana; From San Domingo The Insurgents willing to Release their Prisoners Earthquake at San Juan Famine at the Cape de Verde Islands". The New York Times. October 1, 1864.
  12. ^ Congress, United States (September 4, 1870). "The Congressional Globe". Blair & Rives – via Google Books.
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  14. ^ Miguel, Pedro Luis San (September 2005). The imagined island: history, identity, & utopia in Hispaniola. UNC Press Books. pp. 89–90. ISBN 978-0-8078-5627-7. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  15. ^ "Lifestyle Cabarete – What is Restoration Day?". Lifestyle Cabarete. August 12, 2015. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c "La Guerra de la Restauración en República Dominicana: Entre discursos de identidad y solidaridad". 23 March 2021. Retrieved 2024-05-02.
  17. ^ a b c d e "Guerra de guerrillas durante la Restauración: reafirmación de la dominicanidad". Acento (in Spanish). Retrieved 2024-05-03.