|Independence Park c. 1940's|
The inhabitants of the Dominican Republic struggled to retain independence from Spain and France with slave rebellions being used by both empires to foment civil unrest and weaken the fledgling democracy. In 1916 the United States occupied the country to restore order until a new leader Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was elected in 1924. On September 13, 1945, the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary (Adrian Dominicans) were sent to teach in the Colegio Santa Domingo in Trujillo, the newly renamed capital city of the Dominican Republic. Additional Sisters were sent to teach in Escuela Paroquial in San Juan de la Maguana (1950) and Santa Catalina in Las Matas de Farfan (1952). Trujillo turned out to be a ruthless dictator and implemented anti-Haitian racist policies that led to the civil war in 1965.