The Athletic Crusade: Sport and American Cultural Imperialism

By Gerald R. Gems | Go to book overview

8
Sport and Economic
Retaliation in the
Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic had been a Spanish colony for three centuries before gaining its independence in 1844. American Protestants had begun settlements on the northeastern part of the island at Samana Bay twenty years before independence. The U.S. government desired the same location for a naval base by the mid-nineteenth century. The country fell under Spanish colonial rule again between 1861 and 1865 before the United States recognized its independence in 1866. Haiti, which won its independence from France in an 1804 slave revolt, occupied the western third of the shared island of Hispaniola and posed a constant threat to Dominicans, who sought a U.S. protectorate. The U.S. Senate rejected President Ulysses Grant’s annexation attempt in 1870, but that hardly dimmed American intentions for a Caribbean naval station.1

Cubans settled on the island, bringing their love of baseball to the Dominicans in 1891. English-speaking blacks from the

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