The HonoreeWhen Sebastián Lemba was a young man in southern Africa, slave traders captured him around 1525. His owner took him to France and Spain and eventually to Hispaniola, an island now shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Lemba and other enslaved Africans rose up against the Spanish colony around 1532.
The rebels eventually escaped to the mountainous interior of the island and for several years fought against the Spanish. Other freedom seeking enslaved Africans joined their group. Ultimately, on September 25, 1547, Lemba was captured. Today, Dominicans revere Lemba as a national hero, and a statue of him stands outside of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano (Museum of the Dominican People) in the capital city, Santo Domingo.
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west.
During the start of the 19th century Haiti became independent from France after a series of slave revolts in 1804. Afterwards the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, the predecessor of the Dominican Republic, also became independent from Spain in 1821.
Since 1804 many wars, massacres, border disputes, and stand-offs have occurred between the two countries. Haiti would eventually become the poorest country in the region, while the Dominican Republic developed into one of the largest economies of Latin America.