The national anthem of the Dominican Republic, known as “Himno nacional de República Dominicana” or by its incipit “Valiant Quisqueyans” (Spanish: Quisqueyanos valientes), is a patriotic anthem that resonates with the soul of this vibrant Caribbean nation. Composed by José Rufino Reyes y Siancas and lyrically crafted by Emilio Prud’Homme, this anthem has a rich history that reflects the spirit of the Dominican people.
The lyrics of the Dominican Republic’s national anthem hold a unique distinction. Unlike many anthems that prominently feature the country’s name and demonym, the Spanish name “República Dominicana” and the term “dominicanos” are notably absent from the anthem. Instead, the anthem pays homage to the indigenous word for Hispaniola, “Quisqueya,” and its derivative, “quisqueyanos.” Interestingly, research suggests that these words may not directly originate from the original Arawak Taíno language, adding a layer of mystique to the anthem’s linguistic heritage.
In public renditions, the national anthem is typically performed up to the end of the fourth paragraph, symbolizing the unity and resilience of the Dominican people.
|Spanish original||English translation|
Quisqueyanos valientes, alcemos
Nuestro canto con viva emoción,
Y del mundo a la faz ostentemos
Nuestro invicto glorioso pendón.
¡Salve! el pueblo que, intrépido y fuerte,
A la guerra a morir se lanzó,
Cuando en bélico reto de muerte
Sus cadenas de esclavo rompió.
Ningún pueblo ser libre merece
Si es esclavo indolente y servil;
Si en su pecho la llama no crece
Que templó el heroísmo viril,
Mas Quisqueya la indómita y brava
Siempre altiva la frente alzará;
Que si fuere mil veces esclava
Otras tantas ser libre sabrá.
Que si dolo y ardid la expusieron
De un intruso señor al desdén,
¡Las Carreras! ¡Beller!, campos fueron
Que cubiertos de gloria se ven.
Que en la cima de heroíco baluarte
De los libres el verbo encarnó,
Donde el genio de Sánchez y Duarte
A ser libre o morir enseñó.
Y si pudo inconsulto caudillo
De esas glorias el brillo empañar,
De la guerra se vio en Capotillo
La bandera de fuego ondear.
Y el incendio que atónito deja
De Castilla el soberbio león,
De las playas gloriosas le aleja
Donde flota el cruzado pendón.
Compatriotas, mostremos erguida
Nuestra frente, orgullosos de hoy más;
Que Quisqueya será destruida
Pero sierva de nuevo, ¡jamás!
Que es santuario de amor cada pecho
Do la patria se siente vivir;
Y es su escudo invencible el derecho;
Y es su lema ser libre o morir.
¡Libertad! que aún se yergue serena
La Victoria en su carro triunfal,
Y el clarín de la guerra aún resuena
Pregonando su gloria inmortal.
¡Libertad! Que los ecos se agiten
Mientras llenos de noble ansiedad
Nuestros campos de gloria repiten
¡Libertad! ¡Libertad! ¡Libertad!
Let’s raise our song with vivid emotion,
And let’s show to the face of the Earth
Our unconquered, glorious banner.
Hail, the people who strong and intrepid,
Into war launched itself set to die
When in a warring challenge to the death
Its chains of slavery cut off.
No people deserves to be free
If it’s an indolent and servile slave;
If in its chest doesn’t grow the flame
that forged the virile heroism.
But Quisqueya the brave and indomitable
Always proudly her forehead will raise
For if she were a thousand times a slave
This many times will she be free.
And if fraud and cunning exposed her
To disdain of an intrusive man,
Las Carreras! Beler!…were fields
Which covered in glory were seen.
At the top of heroic bastion,
Word of the free was materialized,
Where the genius of Sanchez and Duarte
Taught to be free or to die.
And if an inconsiderate ruler
Could tarnish the glow of such glories,
The war banner of fire was seen
Waving over Capotillo.
And the fire that leaves stunned
The arrogant lion from Castile,
Pulls it away from the glorious beaches
Where the crossed banner floats.
Compatriots, let’s hold our
Forehead high, like never before;
For Quisqueya will be destroyed
But it will never again be enslaved.
That every chest is a shrine of love
Where one feels the homeland alive;
It is the law her invincible shield;
It is her motto be free or die.
Liberty that serenely stands up
Victory in her triumphal carriage.
The trumpet of war still resounds
Proclaiming her immortal glory
Freedom! Let the echoes agitate
While full of noble anxiety
Our battlefields of glory reverb these words –
Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
The genesis of the Dominican Republic’s national anthem can be traced back to the late 19th century when José Reyes was inspired by the Argentine National Anthem. Reyes, driven by a fervent desire to give his homeland its own musical identity, invited his friend Emilio Prud’Homme to pen the lyrics. The first version of Prud’Homme’s lyrics made its debut in 1883, and the anthem’s first public performance occurred shortly after in Santo Domingo.
Despite its instant popularity, the original lyrics faced criticism for historical inaccuracies. In 1897, Prud’Homme revised the lyrics, and these revisions have endured to the present day. However, the journey to official adoption was fraught with political obstacles. In 1897, the Dominican Congress approved “Himno Nacional” with the revised lyrics, but then-President Ulises Heureaux vetoed it due to political rivalries. It was not until 1934, after a tumultuous period in Dominican politics, that the anthem was officially adopted.
Q1: What are the key themes in the Dominican Republic national anthem?
The Dominican Republic national anthem touches on themes of identity, resilience, and unity. It celebrates the heritage of the Dominican people and their unwavering spirit.
Q2: Who composed the music for the Dominican Republic national anthem?
The music for the Dominican Republic national anthem was composed by José Rufino Reyes y Siancas, a talented musician with a deep love for his country.
Q3: Why was the national anthem delayed in its adoption?
The adoption of the national anthem was delayed due to political turmoil and objections by then-President Ulises Heureaux. It wasn’t officially adopted until 1934.
Q4: What is the significance of the term “Quisqueya” in the anthem’s lyrics?
“Quisqueya” is an indigenous word for Hispaniola, the island the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti. Its use in the anthem highlights the nation’s cultural roots.
The Dominican Republic’s national anthem, with its rich history and distinctive lyrics, stands as a testament to the spirit and resilience of the Dominican people. Rooted in the nation’s heritage, this anthem continues to inspire pride and unity among its citizens.
Through the talents of composer José Rufino Reyes and lyricist Emilio Prud’Homme, this musical masterpiece has transcended time, becoming a cherished symbol of the Dominican Republic’s identity and enduring legacy.