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Dominican Republic Independence Day

Date Posted: 2002-02-15

Get ready for some good times of eating, drinking and dancing the night away: Feb. 27 is the Dominican Republicís Independence Day. This annual event is celebrated in the Dominican Republic with parades, costumes and floats, while the locals enjoy eating delicious food and drinking together. But you donít have to go halfway around the world to join in the festivities; Okinawa will also have its own celebrations on Feb. 23, marking the 158th anniversary of the day that this Caribbean country won its freedom from its colonial masters.

Spain, in the person of Christopher Columbus, became in 1492 the first European nation to establish a presence on the island now shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Santo Domingo, the capital city of the island that was then known as Hispanola, was built over a period of two years -- from 1496 to 1498. Soon after, it became a city of power and influence and the seat of the Spanish royal court in the New World.

The entire island remained under Spanish colonial control until 1697, when the western third -- present-day Haiti -- was ceded to France. In 1797, the entire island came under French control, but that did not last long. In 1804, a slave revolution led by Toussaint-LíOuverture, won independence for the western part of the island, but the eastern two-thirds, todayís Dominican Republic, did not benefit similarly. In 1808, Juan Sanchez Ramires won a decisive victory, returning control to Spain in 1809.

A revolt led by Jose Nunez de Caceres gained independence from Spain in 1821. The following year, the country fell under Haitiís political control for another 20 years. Finally, in 1844, a group led by Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramon Matias Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sanchez took control from Haiti and established the Dominican Republic as an independent country.

The period following was one of conflict and instability, and continued disputes left the country divided. The United States agreed in 1905 to assume collection of local customs duties in order to repay Dominican debts and in 1916 established a U.S. military government that was in place until 1924. In 1930 the country fell under the control of Gen. Rafael Trujillo, who was assassinated in 1961. His dictatorship, however, was the first time in many years that the country had a stable government and enjoyed economic stability. In 1962, Juan Bosch was democratically elected as leader of the country, but another civil revolt let to yet another U.S. military intervention. The country has enjoyed a democratic government since 1966.

Dominicans, locals and foreigners alike can all enjoy special Independence Day festivities on Okinawa. Following is more information on where you can go to celebrate this holiday occasion.

Dominican Independence Day Party
Date: 2/23 (Sat.) Start 8:00 p.m.
Venue: Latin Soul
Featuring: Kachimba 1551 (live)
Admission: ADV •2,500, at door •3,000
Special: Free food and drinks
For more information call 098-890-0938.

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