Dominican Republic Samaná Peninsula referendum, 1873

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A referendum on leasing the Samaná Peninsula the United States for 99 years was held in the Dominican Republic on 19 February 1873.[1] The proposal was approved by 99.91% of voters, but was never implemented after President Buenaventura Báez was overthrown on 2 January 1874.[1]


The Dominican Republic originally became independent from Haiti in 1844.[2] However, in 1861 the country became part of Spain following an inflation crisis.[2] In 1865 the country became independent again following the Restoration War.[2] By 1870 the country had significant debts caused by the ongoing civil war.[2] President Báez planned on selling the Samaná Peninsula to the United States for $1.1 million, whilst US President Ulysses S. Grant wanted to annex the entire country.[2] A treaty was signed between the two countries on 29 November 1869.[2] The US would purchase the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million and would lease the Samaná Peninsula for $147,229.91 for 99 years.[2] Although the proposal was approved in a referendum in 1870, the United States Senate rejected the annexation on 30 June 1870 with a 28–28 vote.[3]

However, Báez still required the money, and wanted to continue with the Samaná Peninsula leasing deal on the same terms.[1] The Senate of the Dominican Republic agreed to the proposal on 28 December 1872. The plebiscite was later carried out in the form of a register, in which invalid or blank voters were not possible.


Choice Votes %
For 20,496 99.91
Against 19 0.09
Invalid/blank votes 0
Total 20,515 100
Registered voters/turnout
Source: Direct Democracy