History, A Period of Strife
Pedro Santana, year treaty, constitutional government, customs department, Spanish government
The first president was Pedro Santana, who served for three terms between 1844 and 1861. Both his administrations and the subsequent ones were characterized by popular unrest and frequent boundary disputes with Haiti. The internal strife was most clearly discernible in the two political groups that took root within the republic: One faction advocated return to Spanish rule and the other, annexation to the United States. For a brief period, from 1861 to 1863, the country, led by former President Santana, did return to Spanish rule, but a popular revolt between 1863 and 1864 and subsequent military reverses and U.S. intervention forced the Spanish government to withdraw its forces and to annul the annexation. The second Dominican Republic was proclaimed in February 1865. Political turmoil continued, however, through the rest of the 19th century.
Because of Dominican indebtedness to a number of European nations, some of which threatened intervention, the Dominican government signed a 50-year treaty with the United States in 1906, turning over to the United States the administration and control of its customs department. In exchange the United States undertook to adjust the foreign financial obligations of the Dominican government. Internal disorders during the ensuing decade finally culminated in the establishment of a military government by the U.S. Marines, who occupied the country on November 29, 1916. Control of the country was, however, gradually restored to the people, and by March 1924 a constitutional government had assumed control. Later that year the American occupation ended.
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