United States occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916–24)
|United States occupation of the Dominican Republic|
|Part of the Banana Wars|
American marines during the occupation.
|United States||Dominican Rebels|
|Commanders and leaders|
| William B. Caperton
Harry Shepard Knapp
|United States Marine Corps
United States Navy
- This occupation should not be confused with the United States occupation of the Dominican Republic (1965–66).
The United States occupation of the Dominican Republic occurred from 1916 to 1924. It was one of the many interventions in Latin America undertaken by American military forces. On May 13, 1916, Rear Admiral William B. Caperton forced the Dominican Republic's Secretary of War Desiderio Arias, who had seized power from Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra, to leave Santo Domingo by threatening the city with naval bombardment.
Three days after Arias left the country, United States Marines landed and took control of the country within two months, and in November the United States imposed a military government under Rear Admiral Harry Shepard Knapp. The marines restored order throughout most of the republic, with the exception of the eastern region; the country's budget was balanced, its debt was diminished, and economic growth resumed; infrastructure projects produced new roads that linked all the country's regions for the first time in its history; a professional military organization, the Dominican Constabulary Guard, replaced the partisan forces that had waged a seemingly endless struggle for power.
Most Dominicans, however, greatly resented the loss of their sovereignty to foreigners, few of whom spoke Spanish or displayed much real concern for the welfare of the republic. A guerrilla movement, known as the gavilleros, enjoyed considerable support from the population in the eastern provinces of El Seibo and San Pedro de Macorís. Having knowledge of the local terrain, they fought against the United States occupation from 1917 to 1921. American naval forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened insurrection.[RL30172]  In 1921, the gavilleros were crushed due to the superior air power, firepower and counterinsurgency methods of the United States military.
After World War I, public opinion in the United States began to run against the occupation. Warren G. Harding, who succeeded Wilson in March 1921, had campaigned against the occupations of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In June 1921, United States representatives presented a withdrawal proposal, known as the Harding Plan, which called for Dominican ratification of all acts of the military government, approval of a loan of US$2.5 million for public works and other expenses, the acceptance of United States officers for the constabulary—now known as the National Guard (Guardia Nacional)—and the holding of elections under United States supervision. Popular reaction to the plan was overwhelmingly negative. Moderate Dominican leaders, however, used the plan as the basis for further negotiations that resulted in an agreement between U.S. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes and Dominican Ambassador to the United States Francisco J. Peynado on June 30, 1922, allowing for the selection of a provisional president to rule until elections could be organized. Under the supervision of High Commissioner Sumner Welles, Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos assumed the provisional presidency on October 21, 1922. In the presidential election of March 15, 1924, Horacio Vásquez Lajara, an American ally who cooperated with the United States government, handily defeated Peynado. Vásquez's Alliance Party (Partido Alianza) also won a comfortable majority in both houses of Congress. With his inauguration on July 13, control of the republic returned to Dominican hands.
Despite the withdrawal, there were still concerns regarding the collection and application of the country's custom revenues. To address this problem, representatives of the United States and the Dominican Republic governments met at a convention and signed a treaty, on December 27, 1924, which gave the United States control over the country's custom revenues. In 1941, the treaty was officially repealed and control over the country's custom revenues was again returned to Dominican Republic government. However this treaty created lasting resentment of the United States among the people of the Dominican Republic.
One major consequence that resulted from the occupation was the rise of Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo had received a commission as a second lieutenant in the US-created national guard in early 1919. Trujillo, a onetime thief, forger and pimp, received high marks from US military officers and eventually became the country's army chief of staff in 1928. Through the rigged election of 1930, Trujillo became the country's president. Though the US State Department saw Trujillo as a "a kind Frankenstein, brought to life by the US marines" and likely to spawn new insurrections, the US government warmed to him when his strong-arm tactics obviated the need for military intervention. Thanks to the beneficent US control of the country's customs, Trujillo could divert funds to his army for suppression of domestic dissent. Political corruption, military muscle, torture, murder, nepotism, commercial monopolies and raids on the country's national treasury enabled Trujillo to quiet his opponents and amass a fortune of $800 million.
USS Memphis wrecked at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she was thrown ashore by tidal waves on the afternoon of 29 August 1916.
See also 
- History of the Dominican Republic
- History of Haiti
- Parsley Massacre - Trujillo's Massacre of Haitians
- United States occupation of Haiti
- United States occupation of the Dominican Republic
- U.S. Library of Congress, Country Studies, http://countrystudies.us/dominican-republic/10.htm
- Calder, Bruce J. (1984). The impact of intervention: the Dominican Republic during the U.S. occupation of 1916-1924. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 223. ISBN 978-1-55876-386-9. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- American foreign relations: a history. Since 1895, Volume 2, pg. 163