Heureaux, Ulises (1845–1889)

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Heureaux, Ulises (1845–1889)

Ulises Heureaux (b. 21 October 1845; d. 26 July 1889), Dominican military officer and dictator (1882–1889). Known as Lilís, Heureaux was born at Puerto Plata to a Haitian father and a mother from the Lesser Antilles. Although raised in poverty, Heureaux acquired a good knowledge of economics, public finance, French, and English. He distinguished himself in the War of Restoration (1863–1865), during which he became the close friend of the leader of the insurrection against Spain, General Gregorio Luperón.

After the restoration of Dominican independence, Heureaux became one of the outstanding leaders of the Partido Azul (Blue Party), on whose behalf he fought the Partido Rojo (Red Party) of the Dominican caudillo Buenaventura Báez. During Báez's notorious Regime of the Six Years (1868–1874), Heureaux successfully opposed the caudillo's forces in the south of the country. In 1876 he defended militarily the presidency of Ulises Espaillat. On orders of Luperón, Heureaux terminated the presidency of Cesareo Guillermo in 1879. He became minister of the interior and the police during the presidency of Archbishop Fernando Arturo de Meriño (1880–1882), whom he succeeded as president (1882–1884).

Heureaux became president again in 1887 and ruled the Dominican Republic as an iron-fisted dictator until his assassination on 26 July 1899 at Moca. The establishment of his dictatorship led to his complete break with Luperón, who was driven into exile in Puerto Rico. After decades of chaotic political strife, civil war, and fiscal irresponsibility, Heureaux's dictatorship provided the necessary climate for a great influx of foreign (especially U.S.) capital to the Dominican Republic and for the rapid development of the sugar industry. Heureaux's dictatorship served as a model for that of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.

See alsoBáez, Buenaventura; Sugar Industry; Trujillo Molina, Rafael Leónidas.


Jaime De Jesús Domínguez, La dictadura de Heureaux (1986).

Mu-Kien A. Sang, Ulises Heureaux (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Cassá, Roberto. Ulises Heureaux: el tirano perfecto. Santo Domingo: Tobogan, 2001.

Novas, José C. Lilís y los agentes del Tío Sam. Santo Domingo: Cocolo Editorial, 1999.

                                  Kai P. Schoenhals