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Spanish reconquest of Santo Domingo

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Title: Spanish reconquest of Santo Domingo  
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Subject: España Boba, West Indies Campaign 1804–10, Invasion of Guadeloupe (1810), Invasion of Martinique (1809), Prostitution in the Dominican Republic
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Spanish reconquest of Santo Domingo

Siege of Santo Domingo
Part of the Napoleonic Wars
Date November 7, 1808 - July 9, 1809
Location Colony of Santo Domingo
Result Spanish and British victory


 United Kingdom
French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Gen. Juan Sánchez Ramírez
Comm. Hugh Lyle Carmichael
Gen. Louis Ferrand
Gen. Dubarquier
1700 regulars and militia
300 Puerto Rican tercios
6 frigates
2600 regulars
Casualties and losses
Unknown Heavy

The war for Spanish reestablishment in Santo Domingo, better known as the Reconquista, was fought between November 7, 1808 and July 9, 1809. In 1808, following Napoleon's invasion of Spain, the criollos of Santo Domingo revolted against French rule and their struggled culminated in 1809 with a return to the Spanish colonial rule for a period commonly termed España Boba.

Battle of Palo Hincado

The first battle took place in Palo Hincado on November 7, 1808, when Gen. Juan Sánchez Ramírez, leading an army of local and Puerto Rican soldiers, attacked by surprise a garrison of the French Army under the command of Governor Marie-Louis Ferrand, who committed suicide later after. Gen. Dubarquier heard the news and garrisoned 2000 soldiers in Santo Domingo.

The Battle for Santo Domingo

The Siege of Santo Domingo of 1808, was the second and final major battle and was fought between November 7, 1808 and July 11, 1809 at Santo Domingo, Colony of Santo Domingo. A force of Dominican and Puerto-Rican of 1850 troops led by Gen. Juan Sánchez Ramírez, with a naval blockaded by British Commander Hugh Lyle Carmichael, besieged and captured the city of Santo Domingo after an 8 months garrisoning of 2000 troops of the French Army led by General Dubarquier.

British Involvement

British Major General Hugh Lyle Carmichael departed Jamaica with the 2nd West Indian, 54th, 55th, and Royal Irish regiments to aid Britain’s newfound Spanish allies in reducing the isolated French garrison besieged in south-eastern Hispaniola. His convoy was escorted by Capt. William Price Cumby’s HMS Polyphemus, Aurora, Tweed, Sparrow, Thrush, Griffin, Lark, Moselle, Fleur de la Mer, and Pike. Carmichael disembarked at Palenque (30 miles west of Santo Domingo) on 28 June, hastening ahead of his army to confer with his Spanish counterpart— General Juan Sánchez Ramírez, commander of a Puerto Rican regiment and numerous local guerrillas—who for the past eight months had been investing the 1,200-man French garrison commanded by Brig. Gen. J. Dubarquier.

Despite 400 of the 600 Spanish regulars being sick, they advanced on 30 June at Carmichael’s behest to seize San Carlos Church on the outskirts of the capital and cut off communication between Santo Domingo and Fort San Jerónimo two miles west, while simultaneously securing a beach for Cumby’s supporting squadron. The demoralized French defenders had already requested an armistice and been rebuffed, repeating the suggestion on 1 July as the first British troops arrived overland (hampered by torrential rains). As negotiations progressed Carmichael maintained pressure by installing heavy siege batteries around the city and massing his forces for an assault.

French surrender

On 6 July the capitulation was finalized, Barquier pointedly surrendering to the British rather than to the Spaniards. The next day British troops occupied the city and Fort San Jerónimo, the French defenders being transported directly to Port Royal, Jamaica without loss of life on either side.



  • Marley, David. Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the PresentABC-CLIO (1998). ISBN 0874368375

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