Today, all of Dominican Republic is celebrating and rejoicing its 167-year old independence from Spain. Columbus arrived in 1492 making this the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. The Spanish occupied Dominican Republic for over 300 years followed by a Haitian occupation and a small period of U.S. occupation.
The Dominican Republic declared independence following the Haitian occupation on February 27, 1844. Over 70 years the country has endured outbreaks of civil war, political instability and economic chaos. Today it enjoys a democratic government and is recognized as one of the world’s top tourist destinations. There is a vibrant Dominican population in the U.S. that is celebrating with friends and family on this special day with ‘sancocho’ and other island favorites.
The U.S. government via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent their well wishes to the people of the Dominican Republic:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Dominican Republic as you celebrate the 167th anniversary of your independence this February 27.
Our countries have a strong foundation based on mutual interests and values. We are working through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative to reduce illicit trafficking, advance regional security and promote justice. We are strengthening democracy, spreading opportunity and promoting prosperity throughout the Americas through our Pathways to Prosperity Initiative. And we are expanding opportunity and trade with the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement.
Our two countries share ties of friendship, family and culture. As you celebrate on this anniversary of your independence, know that the United States stands with you and sends best wishes to all Dominicans for a peaceful and prosperous year ahead.