This is the sesquicentennial of the execution of Dominican Republic independence hero Francisco del Rosario Sanchez.
The biggest name in the Dominican Republic’s successful separation from Haiti is generally reckoned to be liberal visionary Juan Pablo Duarte, but he’d been exiled to Venezuela by 1843.
In his absence, the republican cause coalesced around the 26-year-old Sanchez — who was saluted as chief of the government junta by the rebels whose February 27, 1844* seizure of Ozama Fortress commenced the victorious Dominican War of Independence. This makes him kinda-sorta the first head of state for his country.
This circumstance returned Duarte from exile, but the latter lost the ensuing presidential election to rancher Pedro Santana, who steered the country towards Spanish annexation as a hedge against Haitian recapture. Santana re-exiled Duarte, and booted Sanchez as well. Ironically, he had to take refuge in Haiti.
If the evil seek pretexts to sully my conduct, we respond with a charge saying loudly, but without boasting, that I am the Dominican flag.
His attempt to invade the Dominican Republic to prevent the Spanish takeover quickly foundered, and within weeks of his capture he was shot at San Juan de la Maguana.**
Just a couple of years later, a different revolt achieved the same objective. Their successors in the independent Dominican Republic continue to honor Francisco del Rosario Sanchez as one of the nation’s foremost visionaries.
His son, Gen. Juan Francisco Sanchez, went on to become the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
* February 27 is the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day.
** He was the second member of his family executed by Pedro Santana: a province of the Dominican Republic is named for his sister, the independence movement’s first female martyr.