January 26 – Duarte Day in the Dominican Republic

Posted on January 26, 2017

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean
island nation.
One of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic, Juan Pablo Duarte dreamed of independence from Haiti and of a liberal and democratic nation.

Born on this date in 1813, Duarte helped inspire the 1844 Dominican War of Independence, and he helped finance it, too. However, when the Dominicans succeeded in their efforts to set up an independent nation, Duarte found himself disagreeing with the republic's first president, Pedro Santana. As a matter of fact, Duarte found himself disagreeing with a lot of the elites who wanted to control the new nation.

After funding the fight for independence, Duarte was ruined financially. And after striving to found the nation, Duarte found himself exiled from it again and again. Santana was a tyrannical leader – he wanted to control people in a very un-democratic way – and other monied and powerful figures wanted to keep their power and traditions, thank you very much. So Duarte, with his idealism and liberal ideas, had to go.

Duarte even died in exile!

But Duarte was and is a hero and even a martyr in the eyes of Dominicans, and his democratic ideals have become a guiding principle for his nation.

Duarte Day is celebrated with wreaths and flowers laid on his tomb, and parades and other celebrations.

Pico Duarte is the highest spot in the entire Caribbean.

It's high enough, even, for occasional snow!

Duarte Square in New York City is not a square at all – it's a triangular-shaped park. Its full name is Juan Pablo Duarte Square.

 There is also a Juan Pablo Duarte Boulevard in New York City.

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