DUARTE PROVINCE.

The principle town of this mountainous province is San Francisco de Macoris, a ranching area and dairy center that is also known for its great number of rich “Dominican Yorks”—Dominicans who went to the U.S. to make big bucks (many illegally)—who have built incredible mansions in and around the city.

There is a scientific reserve called Loma Quita Espuela, and the surrounding mountains have many beautiful vistas and freshwater swimming holes in the rushing rivers, but the region is basically undeveloped to date.

Geographic Location

San Francisco de Macorís borders the following: to the north, Maria Trinidad Sanchez province; to the south, Pimentel municipality; to the east, Castillo municipality; and to the west, Salcedo province.

History.

Small circles of farmers and merchants, who showed no interest for the exterior world that surrounded them, comprised its first inhabitants. That peaceful life was interrupted when the town attracted ambitious men and fugitives from political and social persecution. Human conglomerates, that later grew into populations, began to take shape in this way. The measures taken so that this village, made up by the group of dwellers located in Sabana de San Francisco, would be promoted to city were directed by the Kings of Spain through a noble official named Frias, from La Vega. This did not happen until 1778. The growing city was named San Francisco de Macoris, and was assigned as a community of La Vega, later of Moca. Its development was slow and its inhabitants were concerned only with breeding in the vast plains that were ideal for this type of activity.

When the Haitian invasion took place in 1822, the people were till in a lethargic state of scarce development and thus the Haitians did no place armed posts, which they did in all important cities. It is because of this that during the period of the Haitian invasion there arrived many well-prepared workers and farmers; some fleeing from Haitian abuse and others from the patriotic acts that were not tolerated by the invaders.

This is how illustrious people that would handle the commerce and the installation of small manufacturing industries arrived. San Francisco de Macorís was one of the first towns to support the independence struggle in 1844, an action that was catalyzed by Don Manuel Castillo Alvarez, uncle of forefather Ramón Matías Mella. Later on, when a date had been set for the Annexation to Spain, on March 18, 1861, San Francisco de Macoris was opposed to hoisting the Spanish flag in the Plaza de Arms (Arms Plaza).

This resistance provoked various acts of bloodshed. During the end of the Trujillo Era, on January 1, 1959, an act of great importance to all Dominicans took place: the armed invasion that attempted to put an end to the dictatorship and which included the participation of arious citizens from San Francisco de Macoris, including Leandro Guzmán, Frank Grullón, Pipe Faxas, Juan de Dios Ventura Simó, Nino Rizek, Papi Olivier and Frank Sosa Duarte.

The presence of Macoris could be felt during the Revolution of April of '65, rooted in the ousting of Bosch. The direct intervention of 42,000 North American marines propelled the constitutional and fundamentalist forces, represented by the 14 de Junio (1J4), the Popular Dominican Movement (MPD) and the Popular Socialist Party (PSP), to move the war efforts towards other parts of the country, including San Francisco de Macoris. The armed uprising in this sector was programmed for June 15, 1965, but various factors produced great inconveniences that eliminated the possibility of any military success in the attempt to seize the "Fortaleza" (fortress) and the Police station, which were targets of the rebel attack.

This attempt was drowned in blood by the troops of Colonel Perello Soto who murdered most of the revolutionaries including Chepe Sánchez, Abrahamcito Vargas and Pasito Polanco.

The celebration of the patron saint festivities that end on the week of the 26th of July every year in honor of Santa Ana is accompanied by "bailes de palo" (stick dances) and songs of socio-religious content that are highly esteemed by the public.