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Espaillat, Ulises Francisco (1823–1878)

Espaillat, Ulises Francisco (1823–1878)

Ulises Francisco Espaillat (b. 1823; d. 25 April 1878), president of the Dominican Republic (29 May-5 October 1876). A white criollo (creole) whose Spanish parents belonged to an old, well-established family, Espaillat was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, the main city in the fertile Cibao Valley in the north. A pharmacist by profession, he was an intellectual and a patriot who became involved in politics in an effort to stabilize and unify the country after the restauración from Spain in 1863. He served as vice president in the provisional governments of General José Antonio Salcedo (1863–1864) and General Gaspar Polanco (1864–1865).

Espaillat was an honest and liberal nationalist (author of the liberal constitution of 1858). Elected president in the spring of 1876 with the strong support of General Gregorio Luperón, Espaillat appointed the best people to his cabinet (Luperón was minister of war) and stressed honesty, a balanced budget, and the end of foreign entanglements. His financial reforms were unpopular and the military, used to regular pay-offs, opposed his efforts to create a professional army. Two former presidents, Buenaventura Baez (1856–1857, 1865–1866, and 1868–1873), and Ignacio María González (1874–1876) organized uprisings against him. The capital, Santo Domingo, fell to supporters of González in October 1876; Espaillat took refuge in the French embassy and in December returned to his home in the Cibao.

See alsoDominican Republic; Santo Domingo.


José Gabriel García, Compendio de la historia de Santo Domingo, 1865–1880, vol. 4 (1906).

Sumner Welles, Naboth's Vineyard: The Dominican Republic, 1844–1924, vol. 1 (1966), chap. 6.

Frank Moya Pons, Manual de historia dominicana (1978), pp. 384-387.

Additional Bibliography

Cassá, Roberto. Ulises Francisco Espaillat. Santo Domingo: Tobogan, 1999.

Sang, Mu-Kien Adriana. Una utopía inconclusa: Espaillat y el liberalismo dominicano del siglo XIX. Santo Domingo: Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, 1997.

                                        Larman C. Wilson

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