The History of Cabrera, Dominican Republic

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One of the most beautiful areas of the Dominican Republic, Cabrera, attributes its sustainability not only to the tourism but to its rich agricultural industry. The area’s main sources of income come from cattle, meat, milk, coconuts, fish and seafood, and rice. In addition, the town is also home to some of the world’s most attractive beaches (Playa Grande, El Diamante, Playa La Entrada, El Caletón de Carlo, El Caleton del Medio, and El Caletón Chiquito).

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The region of nearly 40,000 inhabitants was originally named Tres Amarras when it was founded in 1891 during the nation’s new republic period after the Dominican Restoration War (1863-1865) but was later renamed after Capotillo Battle hero General Manuel Jose Estrada Cabrera (1857-1924). Located 80 miles north of the nation’s capital of Santo Domingo, Cabrera has a national park reserve located in El Breton and several other nationally-protected lakes and parks. This peaceful and simple town thrived through conflicts in the country and slowly became an area of retreat for travelers.

The U.S. occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924. During this time, a very basic form of government was established, and American businessmen made investments in the island to promote economic stability. Once the Dominicans were able to regain control of the country after a period of civil unrest, the U.S. withdrew and a national army was formed, led by Rafael Trujillo (1891-1961).

Trujillo’s Rule and Economic Growth

Rafael Trujillo led the newly-formed Dominican army for several years after the U.S. returned control of the island. In 1930, he was elected and remained in power and the nation’s economy remained stable.  During Trujillo’s rule, the island had slowly developed into a vacation spot for tourists (despite the ruler’s less than pragmatic approach to politics), and many real estate projects were put in place, including the area surrounding Cabrera.

Cabrera: Old Dominica

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Cabrera is in one of the most secluded areas of the island, offering the unique simplicity of the Old Dominican Republic to visitors. Simple storefronts resembling the classic general store offer old world charm and modern convenience. Locals congregate regularly in the Parque de Cabrera (the central park in the city) for conversation and drink, and area farmers, fishermen, and cattlemen sell their goods  during the day. The town’s main religion is Christian Evangelical, but a recently renovated Catholic Church stands in the city center. Ongoing educational and community projects (building of schools and shops, vocational and technical classes, etc.) are primarily supported and funded by local citizens and charitable organizations to foster the town’s development, including a host of wonderful restaurants. The city is renowned for its friendliness and beauty, and remains one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations on the island