Today the Dominican Republic commemorates the 154th anniversary of its Restoration “Restauración” War. This war took place to gain back our sovereignty after being handed to Spain by Pedro Santana, only 17 years after the country had proclaimed its Independence of the Haitian domain.
The Dominican Restoration War lasted from 1863 – 1865 in the Dominican Republic between nationalists and Spain. On August 16, 1863, a new group under the leadership of Gregorio Luperón and Santiago Rodríguez made a daring raid on the hill of Capotillo, in the Dajabón province, and hoisted the Dominican flag. This action, known as the Grito de Capotillo (Cry of Capotillo), was the beginning of the war. It ended with a Dominican victor and the withdrawal of Spanish forces from the country.
Dominicans claimed their Independence once again, a day remembered every year on August 16th as “el día de la Restauración Dominicana” (the Day of the Dominican Restoration). There are two monuments in the Dominican Republic raised in honor of this date which we encourage you to visit if you have the opportunity.
One is very popular and well known, the Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración in Santiago, located in one of the highest points in the city. It was originally built during the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in 1944 with the name of “Trujillo’s Monument to Peace” and after his assassination the goverment changed the name to “Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración” (Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration) dedicated to the heroes of the Dominican Restoration War. In 1997, the city of Santiago had under its care the maintenance and conservation of the monument, as well as the gardens, green areas and surrounding streets, reopening the monument to the public – which included the the Museum of Restoration.
The second monument is located in Dajabon, in a mountainous area, a short distance from Loma de Cabrera. Designed in 1983 by prominent architect Rafael Calventi as a ‘historic sanctuary’ and built in 1986 during the government presided by Salvador Jorge Blanco, this monument was designed to honor the memory of those who fought for our freedom. In all honesty, I had never heard of this monumental complex, but after researching for this article I have found it to be quite fascinating due to its architecture. It has several areas including a gallery with illustrations of the war, a mural of the renowned plastic artist Prats Ventós, a sculpture by Ramiro Matos González, and throughout the monument you can see the names of the various restoration heroes etched on the walls. I have added this monument to my list of places to go and visit I hope that you do too!
This year, the date falls on a Wednesday giving the majority of us a break of our work week so lets use either to rest, spend time with family and friends, or even do some internal tourism!
*Pictures of monuments from panoramio.com