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Don Pedro Santana y Familias, 1st Marquis of Las Carreras (June 29, 1801 – June 14, 1864) was a wealthy cattle rancher, soldier, politician and dictator of the Dominican Republic. He was born in the city of Hincha (today Hinche), which was part of the Colony of Santo Domingo and at the time, the third largest city of the Spanish colony, with 12,000 inhabitants (1785 church census).[1] Currently, Hinche is located in Haiti. He was the first constitutional President of the Dominican Republic, and the first Marquess of Las Carreras.

Pedro Santana
1st President of the Dominican Republic
In office
November 14, 1844 – August 4, 1848
Vice President None
Preceded by Inaugural holder
Succeeded by Council of Secretaries of State
4th President of the Dominican Republic
In office
February 15, 1853 – May 26, 1856
Vice President Felipe Benicio Alfau Bustamante (1853)
Manuel de Regla Mota (1853-1856)
Preceded by Buenaventura Báez
Succeeded by Manuel de Regla Mota
8th President of the Dominican Republic
In office
August 31, 1858 – March 18, 1861
Vice President Benigno Filomeno de Rojas (1858-1861)
Preceded by José Desiderio Valverde
Succeeded by Annexation to Spain
1st Governor-General of Santo Domingo
In office
March 18, 1861 – July 20, 1862
Preceded by Himself as President
Succeeded by Felipe Ribero
Supreme Chief of the Dominican Republic
In office
May 30, 1849 – September 23, 1849
Preceded by Manuel Jimenes
Succeeded by Buenaventura Báez
Personal details
Born (1801-06-29)June 29, 1801
Hincha, Captaincy General of Santo Domingo (now part of Haiti)
Died June 16, 1864(1864-06-16) (aged 62)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Spouse(s) Micaela Antonia Rivera
Ana Zorrilla
Children Jorge Andre



His parents were Pedro Santana, an indigenous Mexican man, and Petronila Familias, a Canarian woman, both landowners in the border zone between Santo Domingo and Saint Domingue; this meant that Santana was a Mestizo.[2] Around 1805, Santana moved with his family to the Cibao valley, and later to El Seibo at the eastern part of the colony, where he eventually became a cattle rancher for two years.[2]

Military and political roleEdit

Santana was the Dominican Republic's president (although he ruled as a dictator) during the years 1844–48, 1853–56, and 1858–61 (when Spain annexed the Dominican Republic as Santana wished). Thereafter, Santana became governor, with the rank of Captain General of the territory. He held those titles until 1862.

Santana had great talent as a military leader, but was unable to leave his dictatorial personality on the battlefield. Though many historians criticise his rule as an economic disaster, Santana was meticulous in conducting public affairs, and obviously a great soldier.

Santana also fought with distinction in the Revolution of July 7, 1857, when Cibao placed their revolutionary army under his command. The Congress of the Dominican Republic awarded Santana the title of “Liberator of the Nation” on July 18, 1849 for his victory in the Battle of Las Carreras.

As a dictatorEdit

He is considered a brilliant military strategist, and was a key figure in the successful separation of the Dominican Republic from Haiti. But many[who?] historians think that some of his later actions barred him from becoming a genuine national hero.

  • After he drove the Haitian army out of the country in the Dominican War of Independence, he almost immediately moved to eliminate the very Independentists that fought alongside him. Santana felt that the new nation could not survive without being annexed to Spain, which the Trinitarian Independentists did not accept.
  • He relentlessly arrested or exiled members of La Trinitaria. The very first person that was forced out of the country was Juan Pablo Duarte, founding father of the new Dominican Republic.
  • Santana attacked María Trinidad Sánchez, the first heroine of the Republic and aunt of Francisco del Rosario Sánchez of the Founding Fathers of the nation. She and Concepción Bona made the first national flag. Santana imprisoned her, tortured her, and sentenced her to death when she refused to name "conspirators" against him in the newly independent republic. Exactly one year after the proclamation of Independence (February 27, 1845) María Trinidad Sánchez was executed by a firing squad. This made her the first (but not last) female martyr of the republic.[3]

Last yearsEdit

Pedro Santana died in the city of Santo Domingo on June 14, 1864, shortly after having been awarded the hereditary title of Marqués de las Carreras (28 March 1862), in recognition of his victory in the Battle of Las Carreras, by Queen Isabella II of Spain, and was buried in the Ozama Fortress next to the Torre del Homenaje.


  1. ^ Antonio Sánchez Valverde
  2. ^ a b Lugo Lovatón, Ramón (1953). "El Carácter de Pedro Santana" [Pedro Santana’s Personality] (PDF). Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación (in Spanish). Santo Domingo: Archivo General de la Nación. 78 (2). Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  3. ^ [1]

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Tomás Bobadilla
President of the Dominican Republic
Succeeded by
Council of Secretaries of State
Preceded by
Buenaventura Báez
President of the Dominican Republic
Succeeded by
Manuel de Regla Mota
Preceded by
José Desiderio Valverde
President of the Dominican Republic
Title next held by
Benigno Filomeno de Rojas
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Title created
Marquess of Las Carreras
16 June 1862 – 28 March 1864
Succeeded by