Military Wiki

Flag of Saint-Domingue
Imperial Coat of arms of the First French Empire of Saint-Domingue
Imperial Coat of arms of the First French Empire
Location of Saint-Domingue
Status Colony of France
Capital Santo Domingo
Common languages French, Spanish
Government Republic (1792-04); First Empire (1804-09)
• 1801–1802
Toussaint Louverture
• 1809
Gen. Dubarquier
• Peace of Basel
July 22 1795
• Reestablishment of Spanish rule
July 9 1809
76,192 km2 (29,418 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Captaincy General of Santo Domingo
España Boba

In the history of the Dominican Republic, the period of Era de Francia ("Era of France") occurred in 1795 when France acquired the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo, annexed it into Saint-Domingue and briefly came to acquire the whole island of Hispaniola by the way of the Treaty of Basel, allowing Spain to cede the eastern colony as a consequence of the French Revolutionary Wars. At the time, slaves led by Toussaint Louverture in Saint-Domingue (western colony) were in revolt against France. In 1801, Toussaint Louverture arrived in Santo Domingo, proclaiming the abolition of slavery on behalf of the French Republic and then captured Santo Domingo from the French, taking control of the entire island.

During this time, it was also referred to as the French Santo Domingo[3]


Shortly afterwards, Napoleon dispatched an army to subdue the island. Even after the Haitians had defeated the French, a small French garrison remained in the former Spanish colony. Slavery was reestablished and many of the émigré Spanish colonists returned. In 1802 an army sent by Napoleon under the command of Charles Leclerc, captured Toussaint Louverture and sent him to France as prisoner. His successors and yellow fever succeeded in expelling the French again from Saint-Domingue. The nation declared independence as Haiti in 1804. France went on to recover Spanish Santo Domingo.

In 1805, after crowning himself Emperor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines invaded, reaching Santo Domingo before retreating in the face of a French naval squadron. In their retreat through the Cibao, the Haitians sacked the towns of Santiago de los Caballeros and Moca, slaughtering most of their residents and helping to lay the foundation for two centuries of animosity between the two countries.

The French held on in the eastern part of the island until the Spanish inhabitants defeated them. The British Royal Navy assisted the Spanish because by this time Spain was no longer an enemy of Britain, but France was.

The expulsion of France commenced with the Battle of Palo Hincado on 7 November 1808. Gen. Juan Sánchez Ramírez, led an army of local and Puerto Rican soldiers, who took by surprise a garrison of the French Army under the command of Governor Gen. Louis Ferrand, who later committed suicide. The news of this defeat reached Gen. Dubarquier, who commanded the French garrison of 2000 soldiers in Santo Domingo. The Spanish laid siege to Santo Domingo on 27 November 1808, with the assistance of six British frigates and British troops under the command of General Hugh Lyle Carmichael. Santo Domingo returned to Spanish control by 9 July 1809. France's final capitulation took place on 11 July, ending the Spanish reconquest of Santo Domingo.

Governors (1801-1809)

  • 1801-1802 Toussaint Louverture
  • 1802-1803 Antoine Nicolas Kerverseau
  • 1803-1808 Louis Marie Ferrand
  • 1808-1809 L. Dubarquier


  1. Chartrand, René (1996). Napoleon’s Overseas Army (3rd ed.). Hong Kong: Reed International Books Ltd.. ISBN 085045-900-1. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. White, Ashli (2010). Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic. Baltimore, Maryland, U. S. A.: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8018-9415-2. 
  3. [1][2]

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