Juan Pablo Duarte

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Date Submitted: 08/29/2011 11:26 AM

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Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez (January 26, 1813 – July 15, 1876) is one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. He was a visionary and liberal thinker who along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella is widely considered the architect of the Dominican Republic and its independence from Haitian rule in 1844. His aspiration was to help create a self-sufficient nation established on the liberal ideals of a democratic government.

The highest mountain in the Caribbean is named Pico Duarte in his honor, as are Juan Pablo Duarte Square in New York City, and many other noteworthy landmarks, suggesting the historical importance that Dominicans have given to this man. His vision for the country was quickly undermined by the conservative elites, who sought to align the new nation with colonial powers and turn back to traditional regionalism. Nevertheless, his democratic ideals, although never fully fleshed-out and somewhat imprecise, have served as guiding principles, mostly in theory, for most Dominican governments. His failures made him a political martyr in the eyes of subsequent generations.

Duarte was born in Santo Domingo, Captaincy General of Santo Domingo during the period commonly called "The Era of Foolish Spain", or España Boba.

Duarte's father was Juan José Duarte, from Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain, and his mother was Manuela Díez Jiménez from El Seybo, Captaincy General of Santo Domingo. She was the daughter of a Spanish father and Dominican mother. In 1802 Duarte and Jiménez emigrated from Santo Domingo to Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. They were evading the imposition of French rule over Santo Domingo. This transformation of the island's colonial experience became apparent the previous year, when Toussaint Louverture, governor of Saint Domingue (now Haiti), a colony of France located on the western third of Hispaniola, took control of Santo Domingo, located on the island's eastern two-thirds. At the time, France and Saint Domingue...