The Influence of the Flag of the Dominican Republic in Puerto Rico


Ramón Emerito Betances was born on April 8, 1827 in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico to a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother. On September 23, 1868 he was one of the two leaders of the first revolt for Puerto Rico’s independence. This event took place in the Puerto Rican town of Lares and is known as the “Grito de Lares.” The Repúblic of Puerto Rico was pronounced. Unfortunately, the Spanish authorities quickly subdued the revolt and put an end to the movement.

Before acheiving this, Betances went to the land of his father and arrived in Santo Domingo. The War of Restoration culminated in 1865 with the restoration of the Dominican Republic and that was a major influence on Betances. In addition, the Dominican government offer support and help to Betances as he made it known to Dominican leader Gregorio Luperón his intention to make Puerto Rico a free country. With Dominican help Betances went back to Puerto Rico and proclaimed the “Grito de Lares.”

An interesting aspect that caused an impression on Betances was becoming acquainted with the original flag of the Dominican Republic.

Ramón Emerito Betances
Map of Puerto Rico. Notice on the upper left underlined in red the town of Lares.
First flag of the Dominican Republic established on February 27, 1844. It was conferred by the Dominican women Concepción Bona and María Trinidad Sánchez.
On November 6, 1844 the new flag was adopted as the flag of the Dominican Republic. The original flag was subjected to the following modifications: a) invert the blue and red squares on the right and b) place the country’s coat of arms in the center. This has been the official flag of the Dominican Republic from November 6, 1844 to March 18, 1861. It was adopted again as a symbol of Dominicans on September 14, 1863 and was reestablished as the flag of the Dominican Republic with the restoration of the country on August 16, 1865.
The flag of the “Grito de Lares” in 1863. This was suppose to be the flag of the new Republic of Puerto Rico. The flag is nothing more than the first flag of the Dominican Republic with a star added to the upper right quadrant. Although the failure of the event meant that this flag never became the official flag of Puerto Rico, since then it remain a symbol of the “Grito de Lares” and of Ramón Emerito Betances. Today, many Puerto Ricans who are believers in the independence of Puerto Rico often fly this flag along with Puerto Rico’s current official flag. The flag is also flown on the anniversary of the “Grito de Lares” and on the anniversary of the birth of Ramón Emerito Betances.
In 1876, the Spanish government adopted this flag known as The Autonomous Puerto Rico flag. It remained the official flag of Puerto Rico while it was an overseas province of Spain, which ended with the invasion of the United States in 1898. The flag consist of the same fundamental shapes of the “Grito de Lares” flag (hence the Dominican flag too) with different colors. All four quadrants are red and the cross in the middle is yellow. In the center is the coat of arms of Puerto Rico. With a few modifications, the current coat of arms of Puerto Rico is mostly the same.
Current official flag of Puerto Rico, adopted during the occupation of the island by the United States. The difference between this flag and the one from Cuba is the inverse of the blue and red colors.