1900 to 1915: A time of 'relative' stability - but a period during which the government still
failed to resolve financial 'problems'.
1916: In order to resolve the financial crisis, and reclaim debts it was owed, the US
began a period of occupation that lasted 8 years.
1924: The U.S. withdrew and free elections bought Horacio Vasquez to power.
Initially Vasquez's Presidency seemed a 'Golden'Period' in Dominican history. The country made great advances and huge investments were made in building and development.
History of the Dominican Republic - Horacio Vasquez
1930: Vasquez, having lost the faith of the electorate, was overthrown by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, and hence the infamous 'Trujillo Era' began.
1930: The Capital city, Santo Domingo suffered severe Hurricane damage. Trujillo
embarked on a significant rebuilding program.
History of the Dominican Republic -
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina
1937: Trujillo embarked on 'Hitleresque' genocide of Haitians living in and near the border to the Domincan Republic. The killing of 10 - 20,000 men, women and children horrified the rest of the world and undermined (the hitherto positive) Republic relations with the US. Nonetheless Trujillo retained his position and continued to rule with a rod of iron.
1947: The trappings of the Presidency were bestowed upon Rafael Trujillo's brother Hector Bienvenido Trujillo Molina. But, effectively, he was just a 'puppet' President as Rafael Trujillo remained to real 'Power nehind the throne'.
to 1960:A harsh and often cruel leader Rafael Trujilo used 'secret police' to keep the
people under strict control. Though a period of dread for many ordinary Dominicans, financially the
Dominican Republic was well managed. Trujillo undertook many public building and works projects, and
achieved considerable improvements in education standards. Also, for the first time in over a century
foreign debt was repaid.
1961: On May 30th Rafael Trujillo was assassinated, with the alleged assistance of the CIA,finally ending the 'Era'.
History of the Dominican Republic - Dr.Joaquin Balaguer
Thus began another period of political turbulence. Trujillo's vice-president, Dr. Joaquin Balaguer embarked on his first brief tenure as President. Lack of popular support and squabbling between the Trujillo family, members of which had returned from exile to try and seize power, amongst other occurrences including a short-lived military coup, resulted in a year of turmoil.
1962: At the end of this year the first free election for nearly four decades were held
1963: In February, after spending over 32 years in exile, the founding father of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), Dr. Juan Bosch Gavino came to power.
History of the Dominican Republic - Juan Bosch
1963:In September a military coup displaced Bosch and made Emilio de los Santos
President of the Dominican Republic.
to 1965: Bosch and his supporters, foremost amongst which was General Elias
Wessin y Wessin, continued to cause substantial civil disturbances. De los Santos was
hence displaced by a US military occupation that remained on Dominican soil, to the
considerable resentment of many Dominicans, until the last quarter of the year.
1966: Now head of the Partido Reformista Sociale Christiano (PRSC) Dr. Joaquin Balaguer was again elected to power in June.
1970: Balaguer was elected for a further term as President.
1973: Balaguer declared a state of national emergency to counter an attempted
guerilla invasion supporting Bosch. This unsuccessful attempt to take power led to
Bosch going into hiding.
1974: Dominican's once more re-elected Balaguer, but then once again his only serious opponent had withdrawn as the election drew near.
History of the Dominican Republic - Silvestre Antonio Guzman Fernandez
1978: In the first openly contested election for many years Silvestre Antonio Guzman Fernandez of the PRD, was elected to power.
to 1982:Although a highly regarded presidential incumbent, towards the end of
Guzman's tenure he was beset by media scandal over alleged financial irregularities and the pressure led to
his suicide. Consequently the Vice-President Jacobo Majluta Azar was installed as President of the Dominican Republic for the remaining 43 days of the term.
History of the Dominican Republic - Jacobo Majluta Azar
1982: Salvador Jorge Blanco was nominated to run as PRD candidate in the elections of this year (Majluta supposedly being judged too old, though he would have been only 48!), and was subsequently elected President.
History of the Dominican Republic - Salvador Jorge Blanco
1983: Longstanding unrest amongst the poorer sections of the electorate led to
demands for reform and resulted in "The Peasants Revolt".
1985: The Dominican Republic was once again in a parlous financial state and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) had to provide necessary support.
1986: Three former Presidents all stood as candidates in the election held in this year, namely - Balaguer, Bosch and Majluta. In this instance, once again, Balaguer was the victor.
1990: In the elections of this year Balaguer gained yet another term.
History of the Dominican Republic - Dr.Joaquin Balaguer
1994: In a hotly contested election Balaguer ultimately defeated PRD candidate Pena Gomez. Several recounts of the votes gave Balaguer the Presidency with a majority of under 1%. The apparent electoral irregularities of this year led to reform of the system
and enforced an early subsequent election.
1996: The aging Balaguer stepped aside for a new PRSC candidate, Peynardo.
Contesting the election was Pena Gomez (PRD) once again, and a candidate for the
Partido Liberacion Dominicano (PLD), Leonel Fernandez Reyna. The electoral reforms
required a clear winner to achieve 51% of the vote, this did not happen in the first
round. Although Pena Gomez attracted 48% of the initial vote, once the weakest
candidate (Peynardo with only 15%) dropped out, Leonel Fernandez garnered
virtually all of this support in the second round and was subsequently declared
History of the Dominican Republic - Leonel Fernandez Reyna
2000: After a strong start to his term as President, attempting to deal with endemic corruption in the system, Leonel Fernandez's enthusiasm for change, and his support wavered. Consequently Hipolito Mejia, a candidate who had curried favour with the massive body of 'poorer' voters in the Dominican Republic, came to power.
History of the Dominican Republic - Hipolito Mejia
to 2004: After the positive steps made during Leonel Fernadez's first tenure, the Mejia term saw a dramatic down-turn in the economic progress of the Dominican
Republic. Revelations about massive bank fraud undermined public confidence, as
well as reversing previously positive economic growth.
2004: Leonel Fernandez was re-elected President in August this year, carrying with him the hopes that the he can once more re-invigorate the Dominican economy and counter the ever present spectre of institutional mismanagement and fraud.
President Leonel Fernandez Reyna
2008: During the Mejía administration, the constitution was changed to again allow the immediate re-election of presidents.
Although President Fernandez party ostensibly did not support such a reversion in re-election policy it actually enabled the President to stand, and seek re-election in 2008.
Leonel Fernández won the PLD primary election with almost three quarters of the vote against his former Chief of Staff and confidant, Danilo Medina.
Having defeated six other candidates, Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna was declared the victor of the 2008 election. He achieved 53% of the vote against 40% for the PRD candidate (former president Mejía's closest aide) Miguel Vargas, and 4% for the PRSC's candidate, Amable Aristy.
President Leonel Fernández Reyna was sworn in for his third term, with the traditional ceremony at the National Congress, on 16 August 2008. His current term is due to end in 2012.
First Lady Margarita de Fernandez, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Fernandez, President Obama (Source: Wikipedia. Photograph taken by Whitehouse staff in course of duty.)
History of the Dominican Republic
A modern political and presidential time line 1844 - 2004
As The Season of Good-will and Generosity Approaches... ;-)
We are still working towards making this website 'ad free', but we need a TINY bit of help!
The button below will allow you to to make a small payment directly ($1 or £1) to Al G Smith (manager of the Visiting-the-Dominican-Republic website). Simply choose your preferred currency. Thanks very much.
HELP US reach our objective?:
Just click the images below to start exploring the wealth of information about the Dominican Republic featured on site:
How much do you need to retire to the DR in comfort?...