Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Overview
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

 archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

), with 48442 square kilometres (18,703.6 sq mi) and an estimated 10 million people.

Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

s inhabited what is now the Dominican Republic since the 7th century.
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Timeline

1492   Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

1844   The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti.

1844   The first constitution of the Dominican Republic is adopted.

1865   Restoration Day in the Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic regains its independence after 4 years of fighting against the Spanish Annexation.

1883   The first public performance of the Dominican Republic's national anthem, ''Himno Nacional''.

1922   In Washington D. C., Charles Evans Hughes signs the Hughes-Peynado agreement, that ends the occupation of Dominican Republic by the United States.

1924   American occupying forces leave the Dominican Republic.

1946   An earthquake of magnitude 8.0 hits northern Dominican Republic. 100 are killed and 20,000 are left homeless.

1959   A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba land in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposing Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. Save for four of them, all are killed and/or executed by Trujillo's army.

1960   The Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic are assassinated.

 
Encyclopedia
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

 archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

), with 48442 square kilometres (18,703.6 sq mi) and an estimated 10 million people.

Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

s inhabited what is now the Dominican Republic since the 7th century. Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 landed on it in 1492, and it became the site of the first permanent European settlement
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, namely Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, the country's capital and Spain's first capital in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. Santo Domingo can boast of many firsts in the Americas, including the first university
Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo
The Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo is the public university system in the Dominican Republic with its main campus in Santo Domingo and regional centers across the Republic...

, cathedral
Catedral de Santa María la Menor
The Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo is dedicated to St. Mary of the Incarnation. It is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, begun in 1512 and completed in 1540...

, and castle
Alcázar de Colón
The Alcázar de Colón, or Columbus Alcazar, located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is the oldest Viceregal residence in America, and forms part of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo World Heritage Site...

, the latter two in the Ciudad Colonial
Ciudad Colonial (Santo Domingo)
Ciudad Colonial is the first settlement made by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish explorers in the New World. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Colloquially known as "Zona Colonial" , Ciudad Colonial is part of the original Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and the origin...

 area, a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.

After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821 under the rule of a former colonial judge who maintained the system of slavery and limited rights for the mostly mulatto and black population. The ruler, José Núñez de Cáceres
José Núñez de Cáceres
José Núñez de Cáceres was a Dominican politician and writer. He was the leader of Dominican independence when Spain ruled the country and he was also the first person in the country to use literature as weapon of social protest and politics.- Early years :José Núñez de Cáceres y Albor was born on...

, intended that the Dominican Republic be part of the nation of Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. This short-lived republic included the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. The...

, but he was quickly removed by the Haitian government and "Dominican" slave revolts. Victorious in the Dominican War of Independence
Dominican War of Independence
The Dominican Independence War gave the Dominican Republic independence from Haiti in 1844. Before the war, the whole island of Hispaniola had been under Haitian rule for 22 years when Haiti occupied the newly independent state of Haití Español in 1822....

 in 1844, Dominicans experienced mostly internal strife, and also a brief return to Spanish rule, over the next 72 years. The United States occupation of 1916–1924, and a subsequent, calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez Lajara
Horacio Vásquez
Felipe Horacio Vásquez Lajara was a Dominican general and political figure. He served as the acting president of the Dominican Republic in 1899, and again between 1902 and 1903. Supporters of Vásquez were known as Horacistas, as opposed to Jimenistas, supporters of Vásquez's main rival, Juan...

, were followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina until 1961. The civil war of 1965, the country's last, was ended by a U.S.-led intervention, and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Antonio Balaguer Ricardo was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1960 to 1962, from 1966 to 1978, and again from 1986 to 1996.-Early life and introduction to politics:...

, 1966–1978. Since then, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, and has been led by Leonel Fernández
Leonel Fernández
Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna is a Dominican lawyer, academic, and the current President of the Dominican Republic since 2004. He held the same office from 1996 to 2000...

 for most of the time after 1996.

The Dominican Republic has the second largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Though long known for sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services. The country's economic progress is exemplified by its advanced telecommunication
Telecommunication
Telecommunication is the transmission of information over significant distances to communicate. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs, or audio messages via coded...

 system. Nevertheless, unemployment, government corruption, and inconsistent electric service remain major Dominican problems. The country also has "marked income inequality".

International migration affects the Dominican Republic greatly, as it receives and sends large flows of migrants. Haitian immigration and the integration of Dominicans of Haitian descent are major issues; the total population of Haitian origin is estimated at 800,000. A large Dominican diaspora exists, most of it in the United States, where it numbers 1.3 million. They aid national development as they send billions of dollars to their families, accounting for one-tenth of the Dominican GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

.

The Dominican Republic has become the Caribbean's largest tourist destination; the country's year-round golf courses are among the top attractions. In this mountainous land is located the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte is the highest peak in all the Caribbean islands. It lies in the Cordillera Central range, the greatest of the Dominican Republic's mountain chains. The Cordillera Central extends from the plains between San Cristóbal and Baní to the northwestern peninsula of Haiti, where it is known as...

, as is Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is a lake in the Dominican Republic and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island. It is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles...

, the Caribbean's largest lake and lowest elevation. Quisqueya, as Dominicans often call their country, has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) and great biological diversity.

Music and sport are of the highest importance in Dominican culture, with merengue
Merengue music
Merengue is a type of music and dance from the Dominican Republic. It is popular in the Dominican Republic and all over Latin America. Its name is Spanish, taken from the name of the meringue, a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar...

 as the national dance and song and baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 the favorite sport.

The Taínos


The Arawakan-speaking
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

 Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

s moved into Hispaniola, displacing earlier inhabitants, c. AD 650. They engaged in farming and fishing, and hunting and gathering. The fierce Caribs drove the Taínos to the northeastern Caribbean during much of the 15th century. The estimates of Hispaniola's population in 1492 vary widely, including one hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, and four hundred thousand to two million. Determining precisely how many people lived on the island in pre-Columbian times is next to impossible, as no accurate records exist. By 1492 the island was divided into five Taíno chiefdoms.

The Spanish arrived in 1492. After initially friendly relationships, the Taínos resisted the conquest, led by the female Chief Anacaona
Anacaona
Anacaona , also called the Golden Flower, was a Taíno cacica , sister of Bohechío, chief of Jaragua, and wife of Caonabo, chief of the nearby territory of Maguana, two of the five highest caciques who ruled the island of Hispaniola when the Spaniards settled there in 1492...

 of Xaragua and her ex-husband Chief Caonabo of Maguana, as well as Chiefs Guacanagarix, Guamá
Guamá
Guamá was a Taíno rebel chief who led a rebellion against Spanish rule in Cuba in the 1530s.After the death of Spanish governor Diego de Velázquez there was a series of indigenous uprisings...

, Hatuey
Hatuey
Hatuey was a Taíno Cacique from the island of Hispaniola who lived in the early sixteenth century. He has attained legendary status for leading a group of natives in a fight against the invading Spaniards, and thus becoming the second fighter against colonialism in the New World after Anacaona...

, and Enriquillo
Enriquillo
Enriquillo was a Taíno Cacique who rebelled against the Spaniards from 1519 to 1533. His father was killed while attending peace talks with the Spanish, along with eighty other regional chieftains under the direction of his aunt Anacaona in Jaragua. During the talks, Spanish soldiers set the...

. The latter's successes gained his people an autonomous enclave for a time on the island. Nevertheless, within a few years after 1492 the population of Taínos had declined drastically, due to smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 and other diseases that arrived with the Europeans, and from other causes discussed below. The decline continued, and by 1711 the Taínos numbered just 21,000. The last record of pure Taínos in the country was from 1864. Still, Taíno biological heritage survived to an important extent, due to intermixing. Census records from 1514 reveal that 40% of Spanish men in the colony had Taíno wives, and many present-day Dominicans have Taíno ancestry. Remnants of the Taino culture include their cave paintings, as well as pottery designs which are still used in the small artisan village of Higüerito, Moca
Moca, Dominican Republic
Moca is the capital of Espaillat province in the Dominican Republic.Moca is located 11 miles/18 kilometers away from the country’s second biggest city, Santiago De Los Caballeros. Moca is also known for its many great crops and friendly people....

.

Spanish rule



Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 arrived on Hispaniola on December 5, 1492, during the first of his four voyages
Voyages of Christopher Columbus
In the early modern period, the voyages of Columbus initiated European exploration and colonization of the American continents, and are thus of great significance in world history. Christopher Columbus was a navigator and an admiral for Castile, a country that later founded modern Spain...

 to America. He claimed the island for Spain and named it La Española. In 1496 Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher's brother, built the city of Santo Domingo, Europe's first permanent settlement in the "New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

". The Spaniards created a plantation economy on the island. The colony was the springboard for the further Spanish conquest of America and for decades the headquarters of Spanish power in the hemisphere. Christopher was buried in Santo Domingo upon his death in 1506.

The Taínos nearly disappeared, above all, from European infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s to which they had no immunity. Other causes were abuse, suicide, the breakup of family, starvation, enslavement, forced labor, torture, war with the Spaniards, changes in lifestyle, and miscegenation
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

. Laws passed for the Indians' protection (beginning with the Laws of Burgos, 1512–1513) were never truly enforced. Yet as stated above, the Taínos did survive. Some scholars believe that las Casas exaggerated the Indian population decline in an effort to persuade King Carlos
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 to intervene, and that encomenderos
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

 also exaggerated it, in order to receive permission to import more African slaves. Moreover, censuses of the time omitted the Indians who fled into remote communities, where they often joined with runaway Africans (cimarrones
Maroon (people)
Maroons were runaway slaves in the West Indies, Central America, South America, and North America, who formed independent settlements together...

), producing Zambo
Zambo
Zambo or Cafuzo are racial terms used in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires and occasionally today to identify individuals in the Americas who are of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry...

s. Also, Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s who were culturally Spanish were counted as Spaniards, some Zambos as black, and some Indians as Mulatto
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

s.

Santo Domingo's population saw a spectacular increase during the 18th century, as it rose from some 6,000 in 1737 to about 125,000 in 1790. Approximately, this was composed of 40,000 white landowners, 25,000 black or mulatto freedmen, and 60,000 slaves.

After its conquest of the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s and Incas
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

, Spain neglected its Caribbean holdings. French buccaneer
Buccaneer
The buccaneers were privateers who attacked Spanish shipping in the Caribbean Sea during the late 17th century.The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate...

s settled in western Hispaniola, and by the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick
Treaty of Ryswick
The Treaty of Ryswick or Ryswyck was signed on 20 September 1697 and named after Ryswick in the Dutch Republic. The treaty settled the Nine Years' War, which pitted France against the Grand Alliance of England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the United Provinces.Negotiations started in May...

, Spain ceded the area to France. France created the wealthy colony Saint-Domingue there, with a population 90% slave, and overall four times as populous (500,000 to 125,000) as the Spanish area at the end of the 18th century.

French rule


France came to own the island in 1795, when by the Peace of Basel
Peace of Basel
The Peace of Basel of 1795 consists of three peace treaties involving France .* The first of the three treaties of 1795, France made peace with Prussia on 5 April; , * The Second was with Spain on 22 July, ending the War of the Pyrenees; and*...

 Spain ceded Santo Domingo as a consequence of the French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

. At the time, Saint-Domingue's slaves, led by Toussaint Louverture, were in revolt against France. In 1801 they captured Santo Domingo, thus controlling the entire island; but in 1802 an army sent by Napoleon
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 captured Toussaint Louverture and sent him to France as prisoner. However, Toussaint Louverture's lieutenants, and yellow fever
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

, succeeded in expelling the French again from Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 the rebels made independent as the Republic of Haiti. Eastwards, France continued to rule Spanish Santo Domingo.

In 1808, following Napoleon's invasion of Spain
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

, the criollos
Criollo (people)
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

 of Santo Domingo revolted against French rule and, with the aid of Great Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (Spain's ally) and Haiti, returned Santo Domingo to Spanish control.

The Ephemeral Independence and Haitian occupation


After a dozen years of discontent and failed independence plots by various groups, Santo Domingo's former Lieutenant-Governor (top administrator), José Núñez de Cáceres
José Núñez de Cáceres
José Núñez de Cáceres was a Dominican politician and writer. He was the leader of Dominican independence when Spain ruled the country and he was also the first person in the country to use literature as weapon of social protest and politics.- Early years :José Núñez de Cáceres y Albor was born on...

, declared the colony's independence as Spanish Haiti, on November 30, 1821. He requested the new state's admission to Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Yeiter, commonly known as Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader...

's republic of Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. This short-lived republic included the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. The...

, but Haitian forces, led by Jean-Pierre Boyer, invaded just nine weeks later, in February 1822.

As Toussaint Louverture had done two decades earlier, the Haitians abolished slavery. But they also nationalized most private property, including all the property of landowners who had left in the wake of the invasion; much Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 property; as well as all property belonging to the former rulers, the Spanish Crown
Spanish monarchy
The Monarchy of Spain, constitutionally referred to as The Crown and commonly referred to as the Spanish monarchy or Hispanic Monarchy, is a constitutional institution and an historic office of Spain...

. Boyer also placed more emphasis on cash crop
Cash crop
In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for profit.The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family...

s grown on large plantations, reformed the tax system, and allowed foreign trade. But the new system was widely opposed by Dominican farmers, although it produced a boom in sugar and coffee production. All levels of education collapsed; the university was shut down, as it was starved both of resources and students, since young Dominican men from 16 to 25-years-old were drafted into the Haitian army. Boyer's occupation troops, who were largely Dominicans, were unpaid, and had to "forage and sack" from Dominican civilians. Haiti imposed a "heavy tribute" on the Dominican people. Many whites fled Santo Domingo for Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (both still under Spanish rule), Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, and elsewhere. In the end the economy faltered and taxation became more onerous. Rebellions occurred even by Dominican freedmen, while Dominicans and Haitians worked together to oust Boyer from power. Anti-Haitian movements of several kinds — pro-independence, pro-Spanish, pro-French, pro-British, pro-United States — gathered force following the overthrow of Boyer in 1843.

Independence



In 1838 Juan Pablo Duarte
Juan Pablo Duarte
Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez is one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. He was a visionary and liberal thinker who along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella is widely considered the architect of the Dominican Republic and its independence from Haitian rule in 1844...

 founded a secret society called La Trinitaria
La Trinitaria
La Trinitaria is a town and one of the 119 Municipalities of Chiapas, in southern Mexico.As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 59,686. It covers an area of 1840.7 km²....

, which sought the complete independence of Santo Domingo without any foreign intervention. Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez
Francisco Del Rosario Sánchez was a politician and founding father of the Dominican Republic. He is considered by Dominicans as the second leader of the 1844 Dominican War of Independence, after Juan Pablo Duarte and before Ramón Matías Mella. The Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella is...

, despite not being among the founding members of La Trinitaria, were decisive in the fight for independence. Duarte, Mella, and Sánchez are considered the three Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. On February 27, 1844, the Trinitarios (the members of La Trinitaria), declared the independence from Haiti. They were backed by Pedro Santana
Pedro Santana
Pedro Santana y Familias was a wealthy cattle rancher, soldier, politician and dictator of the Dominican Republic. He was born in the community of Hinche, which was part of the Colony of Santo Domingo. Currently, Hinche is a border town part of Haiti...

, a wealthy cattle rancher from El Seibo
El Seibo
El Seibo , alternatively spelt El Seybo, is a province of the Dominican Republic. Before 1992 it included what is now Hato Mayor province.-Municipalities and municipal districts:...

, who became general of the army of the nascent Republic. The Dominican Republic's first Constitution
Constitution of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has gone through 38 constitutions, more than any other country, since its independence in 1844. This statistic is a somewhat deceiving indicator of political stability, however, because of the Dominican practice of promulgating a new constitution whenever an amendment was...

 was adopted on November 6, 1844, and was modeled after the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

The decades that followed were filled with tyranny, factionalism, economic difficulties, rapid changes of government, and exile for political opponents. Threatening the nation's independence were renewed Haitian invasions occurring in 1844, 1845–49, 1849–55, and 1855–56.

Meanwhile, archrivals Santana and Buenaventura Báez
Buenaventura Báez
Buenaventura Báez Méndez was the President of the Dominican Republic for five nonconsecutive terms. He is known for attempting to annex the Dominican Republic to other countries on multiple occasions.-Early years:...

 held power most of the time, both ruling arbitrarily. They promoted competing plans to annex the new nation to another power: Santana favored Spain, and Báez the United States.

The voluntary colony and the Restoration republic


In 1861, after imprisoning, silencing, exiling, and executing many of his opponents and due to political and economic reasons, Santana signed a pact with the Spanish Crown and reverted the Dominican nation to colonial status, the only Latin American country to do so. His ostensible aim was to protect the nation from another Haitian annexation. But opponents launched the War of the Restoration
Dominican Restoration War
The Dominican Restoration War was a guerrilla war between 1863 and 1865 in the Dominican Republic between nationalists and Spain, who had recolonized the country 17 years after its independence...

 in 1863, led by Santiago Rodríguez, Benito Monción, and Gregorio Luperón
Gregorio Luperón
Gregorio Luperón , is best known for being a Dominican military and state leader who was the main leader in the restoration of the Dominican Republic after the Spanish annexation in 1863....

, among others. Haiti, fearful of the re-establishment of Spain as colonial power on its border, gave refuge and supplies to the revolutionaries. The United States, then fighting its own Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, vigorously protested the Spanish action. After two years of fighting, Spain abandoned the island in 1865.

Political strife again prevailed in the following years; warlords ruled, military revolts were extremely common, and the nation amassed debt. It was now Báez's turn to act on his plan of annexing the country to the United States
The Annexation of Santo Domingo
The Annexation of Santo Domingo was an attempt to annex “Santo Domingo” by an expansionist movement in 1870 during the Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, for the United States of America to acquire the Dominican Republic as a U.S. territory and given eventual statehood. This movement was preceded by...

, where two successive presidents were supportive. U.S. President Grant desired a naval base at Samaná and also a place for resettling newly freed Blacks
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

. The treaty, which included U.S. payment of $1.5 million for Dominican debt repayment, was defeated in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 in 1870 on a vote of 28–28, two-thirds being required.
Báez was toppled in 1874, returned, and was toppled for good in 1878. A new generation was thence in charge, with the passing of Santana (he died in 1864) and Báez from the scene. Relative peace came to the country in the 1880s, which saw the coming to power of General Ulises Heureaux
Ulises Heureaux
Ulises Heureaux Lebert was president of the Dominican Republic from 1 September 1882 to 1 September 1883, from 6 January to 27 February 1887 and again from 30 April 1889 until his assassination, maintaining power between his terms.-Early life:Heureaux, affectionately known as Lilís, was born in...

.

"Lilís", as the new president was nicknamed, enjoyed a period of popularity. He was, however, "a consummate dissembler", who put the nation deep into debt while using much of the proceeds for his personal use and to maintain his police state. Heureaux became rampantly despotic and unpopular. In 1899 he was assassinated. However, the relative calm over which he presided allowed improvement in the Dominican economy. The sugar industry was modernized, and the country attracted foreign workers and immigrants, both from the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 and the New
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

.

From 1902 on, short-lived governments were again the norm, with their power usurped by caudillo
Caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

s in parts of the country. Furthermore, the national government was bankrupt and, unable to pay Heureaux's debts, faced the threat of military intervention by France and other European creditor powers.

U.S. interventions and occupation


U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 sought to prevent European intervention, largely to protect the routes to the future Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

, as the canal was already under construction. He made a small military intervention to ward off the European powers, proclaimed his famous Roosevelt Corollary
Roosevelt Corollary
-Background:In late 1902, Britain, Germany, and Italy implemented a naval blockade of several months against Venezuela because of President Cipriano Castro's refusal to pay foreign debts and damages suffered by European citizens in a recent Venezuelan civil war. The incident was called the...

 to the Monroe Doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention...

, and in 1905 obtained Dominican agreement for U.S. administration of Dominican customs, then the chief source of income for the Dominican government. A 1906 agreement provided for the arrangement to last 50 years. The United States agreed to use part of the customs proceeds to reduce the immense foreign debt of the Dominican Republic, and assumed responsibility for said debt.

After six years in power, President Ramón Cáceres
Ramón Cáceres
Ramón Arturo Cáceres Vasquez was the 31st president of the Dominican Republic . Serving as vice president under Carlos Felipe Morales, Cáceres assumed the office in 1906...

 (who had himself assassinated Heureaux) was assassinated in 1911. The result was several years of great political instability and civil war. U.S. mediation by the William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

 and Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 administrations achieved only a short respite each time. A political deadlock in 1914 was broken after an ultimatum by Wilson telling Dominicans to choose a president or see the U.S. impose one. A provisional president was chosen, and later the same year relatively free elections put former president (1899–1902) Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra back in power. To achieve a more broadly supported government, Jimenes named opposition individuals to his Cabinet. But this brought no peace and, with his former Secretary of War Desiderio Arias maneuvering to depose him and despite a U.S. offer of military aid against Arias, Jimenes resigned on May 7, 1916.


Wilson thus ordered the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic. U.S. Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 landed on May 16, 1916, and had control of the country two months later. The military government established by the U.S., led by Rear Admiral Harry Shepard Knapp
Harry Shepard Knapp
Harry Shepard Knapp was a Vice Admiral of the United States Navy, Military Governor of Santo Domingo, and Military Representative of the United States in Haiti.-Biography:...

, was widely repudiated by Dominicans. U.S. naval
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 officers had to fill some cabinet posts, as Dominicans refused to serve in the administration. Censorship and limits on public speech were imposed. The guerrilla war against the U.S. forces was met with a vigorous, often brutal response.

But the occupation regime, which kept most Dominican laws and institutions, largely pacified the country, revived the economy, reduced the Dominican debt, built a road network that at last interconnected all regions of the country, and created a professional National Guard to replace the warring partisan units.

Opposition to the occupation continued, however, and after World War I it increased in the U.S. as well. There, President Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

 (1921–23), Wilson's successor, worked to end the occupation, as he had promised to do during his campaign. U.S. government ended in October 1922, and elections were held in March 1924.

The victor was former president (1902–03) Horacio Vásquez Lajara
Horacio Vásquez
Felipe Horacio Vásquez Lajara was a Dominican general and political figure. He served as the acting president of the Dominican Republic in 1899, and again between 1902 and 1903. Supporters of Vásquez were known as Horacistas, as opposed to Jimenistas, supporters of Vásquez's main rival, Juan...

, who had cooperated with the U.S. He was inaugurated on July 13, and the last U.S. forces left in September. Vásquez gave the country six years of good government, in which political and civil rights were respected and the economy grew strongly, in a peaceful atmosphere.

The Trujillo Era



In February 1930, when Vásquez attempted to win another term, opponents rebelled, in secret alliance with the commander of the National Army (the former National Guard), General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, by which the latter remained 'neutral' in face of the rebellion. Vásquez resigned. Trujillo then stood for election himself, and in May was elected president virtually unopposed, after a violent campaign against his opponents.

There was considerable economic growth during Trujillo's long and iron-fisted regime, although a great deal of the wealth was taken by the dictator and other regime elements. There was progress in healthcare, education, and transportation, with the building of hospitals and clinics, schools, and roads and harbors. Trujillo also carried out an important housing construction program and instituted a pension plan. He finally negotiated an undisputed border with Haiti in 1935, and achieved the end of the 50-year customs agreement in 1941, instead of 1956. He made the country debt-free in 1947, a proud achievement for Dominicans for decades to come.

This was accompanied by absolute repression and the copious use of murder, torture, and terrorist methods against the opposition. Moreover, Trujillo's megalomania
Megalomania
Megalomania is a psycho-pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence. 'Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs'...

 was on display in his renaming after himself the capital city Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

 to "Ciudad Trujillo" (Trujillo City), the nation's—and the Caribbean's—highest mountain Pico Duarte (Duarte Peak) to "Pico Trujillo", and many towns and a province. Some other places he renamed after members of his family. By the end of his first term in 1934 he was the country's wealthiest person, and one of the wealthiest in the world by the early 1950s; near the end of his regime his fortune was an estimated $800 million.

In 1937 Trujillo (who was himself one-quarter Haitian), in an event known as the Parsley Massacre
Parsley Massacre
In October 1937, Dominican President Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of the Haitian population living in the borderlands with Haiti. The violence resulted in the killing of 20,000On October 2, 1937, Trujillo had ordered 20,000 Haitian cane workers executed because they could not roll the "R"...

 or, in the Dominican Republic, as El Corte (The Cutting), ordered the Army to kill Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border. The Army killed an estimated 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians over six days, from the night of October 2, 1937 through October 8, 1937. To avoid leaving evidence of the Army's involvement, the soldiers used machete
Machete
The machete is a large cleaver-like cutting tool. The blade is typically long and usually under thick. In the English language, an equivalent term is matchet, though it is less commonly known...

s rather than bullets. The soldiers of Trujillo were said to have interrogated anyone with dark skin, using the shibboleth
Shibboleth
A shibboleth is a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important...

 perejil (parsley
Parsley
Parsley is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region , naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as an herb, a spice and a vegetable.- Description :Garden parsley is a bright green hairless biennial herbaceous plant in temperate...

) to tell Haitians from Dominicans when necessary; the 'r' of perejil was of difficult pronunciation for Haitians. As a result of the massacre, the Dominican Republic agreed to pay Haiti US$750,000, later reduced to US$525,000.

On November 25, 1960 Trujillo killed three of the four Mirabal sisters
Mirabal sisters
The Mirabal sisters were four Dominican political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Three of the sisters were assassinated by unknown persons...

, nicknamed Las Mariposas (The Butterflies). The victims were Patria Mercedes Mirabal (born on February 27, 1924), Argentina Minerva Mirabal (born on March 12, 1926), and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal (born on October 15, 1935). Minerva was an aspiring lawyer who was extremely opposed to Trujillo's dictatorship since Trujillo had begun to make rude sexual advances towards her. The sisters have received many honors posthumously, and have many memorials in various cities in the Dominican Republic. Salcedo, their home province, changed its name to Provincia Hermanas Mirabal (Mirabal Sisters Province). The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Women's activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women since 1981. On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women...

 is observed on the anniversary of their deaths.

For a long time, the US and the Dominican elite supported the Trujillo government. This support persisted despite the assassinations of political opposition, the massacre of Haitians, and Trujillo's plots against other countries. The US believed Trujillo was the lesser of two or more evils. The U.S. finally broke with Trujillo in 1960, after Trujillo's agents attempted to assassinate the Venezuelan president, Rómulo Betancourt
Rómulo Betancourt
Rómulo Ernesto Betancourt Bello , known as "The Father of Venezuelan Democracy", was President of Venezuela from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1959 to 1964, as well as leader of Accion Democratica, Venezuela's dominant political party in the 20th century...

, a fierce critic of Trujillo. Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961.

Post-Trujillo


In February 1963, a democratically elected government under leftist Juan Bosch
Juan Bosch
Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño was a politician, historian, short story writer, essayist, educator, and the first cleanly elected president of the Dominican Republic for a brief time in 1963. Previously, he had been the leader of the Dominican opposition in exile to the dictatorial regime of Rafael...

 took office but was overthrown in September. In April 1965, after 19 months of military rule, a pro-Bosch revolt broke out. Days later, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, concerned that Communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 might take over the revolt and create a "second Cuba", sent the Marines, followed immediately by the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and other elements of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps in Operation Powerpack. "We don't propose to sit here in a rocking chair with our hands folded and let the Communist set up any government in the western hemisphere", Johnson said. The forces were soon joined by comparatively small contingents from the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

. All these remained in the country for over a year and left after supervising elections in 1966 won by Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Antonio Balaguer Ricardo was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1960 to 1962, from 1966 to 1978, and again from 1986 to 1996.-Early life and introduction to politics:...

, who had been Trujillo's last puppet-president.

Balaguer remained in power as president for 12 years. His tenure was a period of repression of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 and civil liberties, ostensibly to keep pro-Castro or pro-communist parties out of power. His rule was further criticized for a growing disparity between rich and poor. It was, however, praised for an ambitious infrastructure program, which included large housing projects, sports complexes, theaters, museums, aqueducts, roads, highways, and the massive Columbus Lighthouse, completed in a subsequent tenure in 1992.

1978 to present


In 1978, Balaguer was succeeded in the presidency by opposition candidate Antonio Guzmán Fernández
Antonio Guzmán Fernández
Silvestre Antonio Guzmán Fernández was a Dominican businessman and a politician. He was the 46th President of the Dominican Republic, from 1978 to 1982.- Early life :Antonio Guzmán was born in the town of La Vega...

, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party
Dominican Revolutionary Party
The Dominican Revolutionary Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic. It has a moderate centrist position, social democratic in name. The party's distinctive color is white....

 (PRD). Another PRD win in 1982 followed, under Salvador Jorge Blanco
Salvador Jorge Blanco
José Salvador Omar Jorge Blanco was a politician, lawyer and a writer. He was the 48th President of the Dominican Republic, from 1982 –1986. He was a Senator running for the PRD party...

. Under the PRD presidents, the Dominican Republic experienced a period of relative freedom and basic human rights. Balaguer regained the presidency in 1986, and was re-elected in 1990 and 1994, this last time just defeating PRD candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez
José Francisco Peña Gómez
José Francisco Peña Gómez was a politician from the Dominican Republic. He was the leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party , a three-time candidate for president of the Dominican Republic and former Mayor of Santo Domingo...

, a former mayor of Santo Domingo. The 1994 elections were flawed, bringing on international pressure, to which Balaguer responded by scheduling another presidential contest in 1996. This time Leonel Fernández
Leonel Fernández
Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna is a Dominican lawyer, academic, and the current President of the Dominican Republic since 2004. He held the same office from 1996 to 2000...

 achieved the first-ever win for the Dominican Liberation Party
Dominican Liberation Party
The Dominican Liberation Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic, and has a centrist position.The party has been elected into office thrice now with Leonel Fernández as President of the Dominican Republic in the 1996, 2004 and 2008 elections, though losing in 2000...

 (PLD), which Bosch founded in 1973 after leaving the PRD (also founded by Bosch). Fernández oversaw a fast-growing economy, with growth averaging 7.7% per year, a drop in unemployment, and stable exchange and inflation rates.

In 2000 the PRD's Hipólito Mejía
Hipólito Mejía
Rafael Hipólito Mejía Domínguez is a Dominican politician and former President of the Dominican Republic...

 won the election. This was a time of economic troubles, and Mejía was defeated in his re-election effort in 2004 by Fernández, who won re-election in 2008. Fernández and the PLD are credited with initiatives that have moved the country forward technologically, such as the construction of the Metro Railway
Santo Domingo Metro
The Santo Domingo Metro is a rapid transit system in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The Santo Domingo Metro is part of a major "National Master Plan" to improve transportation in Santo Domingo as well as the rest of the nation. The first line was planned to relieve traffic...

 ("El Metro"). On the other hand, his administrations have also been accused of corruption.

Geography


The Dominican Republic is situated on the eastern part of the second-largest island in the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

, Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

. It shares the island roughly at a 2:1 ratio with Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. The country's area is reported variously as 48,442 km² (by the embassy in the United States) and 48,730 km² (by the U.S. CIA), making it the second largest country in the Antilles
Antilles
The Antilles islands form the greater part of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. The Antilles are divided into two major groups: the "Greater Antilles" to the north and west, including the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico; and the smaller "Lesser Antilles" on the...

, after Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. The country's capital and greatest metropolitan area, Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, is located on the southern coast. The country lies between latitudes 17°
17th parallel north
The 17th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 17 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 20°N
20th parallel north
The 20th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 20 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 68°
68th meridian west
The meridian 68° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 72°W
72nd meridian west
The meridian 72° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

There are many small offshore islands and cay
Cay
A cay , also spelled caye or key, is a small, low-elevation, sandy island formed on the surface of coral reefs. Cays occur in tropical environments throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans , where they provide habitable and agricultural land for hundreds of thousands of people...

s that are part of the Dominican territory. The two largest islands near shore are Saona
Saona Island
Saona Island is a tropical island located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of the Dominican Republic, near La Altagracia Province. It is a government protected nature reserve and is part of East National Park...

, in the southeast, and Beata, in the southwest. To the north, at distances of 100–200 km (62.1–124.3 mi), are three extensive, largely submerged banks
Bank (topography)
A bank, sometimes referred to as a fishing bank, is an area on the continental shelf which is shallow compared to its surrounding area, such as a shoal or the top of an underwater hill. Somewhat like continental slopes, ocean banks slopes can upwell as tidal and other flows intercept them,...

, which geographically are a southeast continuation of the Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

: Navidad Bank
Navidad Bank
Navidad Bank is an area in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Dominican Republic and southeast of the Territory of Turks & Caicos. It is separated from Silver Bank by the wide Navidad Bank Passage. It is a shallow underwater area composed of coral and sand that almost reaches the ocean's surface, but...

, Silver Bank
Silver Bank
Silver Bank is an area in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Dominican Republic and southeast of the Territory of Turks & Caicos. It covers an area of 1680 km² . It is separated from Mouchoir Bank in the west by Silver Bank Passage, and from Navidad Bank in the east by Navidad Bank Passage...

, and Mouchoir Bank
Mouchoir Bank
Mouchoir Bank, in Spanish also called Banco de Pañuelo Blanco is located southeast of the Turks islands and is geographically a continuation of the Bahamas. It is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its EEZ. Much of its north side is awash in two groupings of coral reef. A 1.8 m...

. Navidad Bank and Silver Bank have been officially claimed by the Dominican Republic.

The country's mainland has four important mountain ranges. The most northerly is the Cordillera Septentrional ("Northern Mountain Range"), which extends from the northwestern coastal town of Monte Cristi
San Fernando de Monte Cristi
San Fernando de Monte Cristi is the capital of Monte Cristi Province, Dominican Republic.It is located in the northwest of the country in the coastal lowlands, close to the border with Haiti.- History :...

, near the Haitian border, to the Samaná Peninsula in the east, running parallel to the Atlantic coast. The highest range in the Dominican Republic — indeed, in the whole of the West Indies — is the Cordillera Central
Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic
The Cordillera Central is the highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic and in all of the West Indies. Connected to the Massif du Nord in Haiti, it gradually bends southwards and finishes near the town of San Cristóbal on the Caribbean coastal plains. Because of its altitude, cool...

("Central Mountain Range"). It gradually bends southwards and finishes near the town of Azua
Azua de Compostela
Azua de Compostela, also known simply as Azua, is a municipality of the Azua province in the Dominican Republic. It is the capital of Azua province, and is located 100 kilometres west of the national capital, Santo Domingo....

, on the Caribbean coast. In the Cordillera Central are found the four highest peaks in the Caribbean: Pico Duarte (3098 metres (10,164 ft)) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

), La Pelona (3094 metres (10,151 ft)), La Rucilla (3049 metres (10,003 ft)) and Pico Yaque (2760 metres (9,055 ft)).

In the southwest corner of the country, south of the Cordillera Central, there are two other ranges. The more northerly of the two is the Sierra de Neiba, while in the south the Sierra de Bahoruco is a continuation of the Massif de la Selle in Haiti. There are other, minor mountain ranges, such as the Cordillera Oriental ("Eastern Mountain Range"), Sierra Martín García, Sierra de Yamasá and Sierra de Samaná.

Between the Central and Northern mountain ranges lies the rich and fertile Cibao
Cibao
Cibao, usually referred as "El Cibao", is a region of the Dominican Republic located at the northern part of the country.The Taíno word Cibao, meaning "place where rocks abound", was originally applied to the central mountain range, and used during the Spanish conquest to refer to the rich and...

 valley. This major valley is home to the city of Santiago
Santiago de los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros is a city in the Dominican Republic. Founded in 1495 during the first wave of European colonization of the New World, today Santiago is the second largest metropolis in the Dominican Republic, located in the north-central region of the Republic known as Cibao valley...

 and most of the farming areas in the nation. Rather less productive is the semi-arid San Juan Valley, south of the Central Cordillera. Still more arid is the Neiba Valley, tucked between the Sierra de Neiba and the Sierra de Bahoruco. Much of the land in the Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is a lake in the Dominican Republic and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island. It is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles...

 Basin is below sea level, with a hot, arid, desert-like environment. There are other smaller valleys in the mountains, such as the Constanza
Constanza, Dominican Republic
-History:The name of Constanza has its origin in the legend the daughter of a local taino cacique whom lived in the valley. In 1852, the British explorer and consul Sir Robert Hermann Schomburgk mentions the existence of a farm in the valley of Constanza. The town was formally founded in 1894...

, Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa is a town and the second largest municipality in La Vega Province, Dominican Republic.- History :In 1805, during the Haitian invasion of the Cibao, survivors from the massacres of Santiago de los Caballeros and La Vega escaped to the mountains of the Cordillera Central and settled in the...

, Villa Altagracia
Villa Altagracia
Villa Altagracia is a municipality of the San Cristóbal province in the Dominican Republic. Within the municipality there are three municipal districts : La Cuchilla, Medina and San José del Puerto....

, and Bonao
Bonao
Bonao is the capital of Monseñor Nouel province, Dominican Republic. It is located in the center of the country, to the northwest of the national capital Santo Domingo.The city is known as "Villa De Las Hortensias" - the town of hortensias...

 valleys.

The Llano Costero del Caribe ("Caribbean Coastal Plain") is the largest of the plains in the Dominican Republic. Stretching north and east of Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, it contains many sugar plantations in the savannah
Savannah
Savannah or savanna is a type of grassland.It can also mean:-People:* Savannah King, a Canadian freestyle swimmer* Savannah Outen, a singer who gained popularity on You Tube...

s that are common there. West of Santo Domingo its width is reduced to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) as it hugs the coast, finishing at the mouth of the Ocoa River. Another large plain is the Plena de Azua ("Azua Plain"), a very dry region in Azua Province
Azua Province
Azua is a province of the Dominican Republic.-Municipalities and municipal districts:The province as of June 20 2006 is divided into the following municipalities and municipal districts within them:...

.

A few other small coastal plains are in the northern coast and in the Pedernales Peninsula.

Four major rivers drain the numerous mountains of the Dominican Republic. The Yaque del Norte
Yaque del Norte River
The Yaque Del Norte River is the longest river in the Dominican Republic. The river rises in the centre of the country to the south of Santiago city in Santiago province. The river runs roughly due north, through Santiago, before turning west-north-west through the Cibao Valley. It enters the...

 is the longest and most important Dominican river. It carries excess water down from the Cibao Valley and empties into Monte Cristi Bay, in the northwest. Likewise, the Yuna River
Yuna River
The Yuna River is in the Dominican Republic. The river flooded in 2000 and 2004 causing loss of life and livelihood. The river is the second longest river in the Dominican Republic measuring at 209 km long....

 serves the Vega Real and empties into Samaná Bay, in the northeast. Drainage of the San Juan Valley is provided by the San Juan River, tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Yaque del Sur, which empties into the Caribbean, in the south. The Artibonito
Artibonite River
The Artibonite River is a 320 km long river in Haiti . It is the longest as well as the most important river in Haiti and the longest on the island of Hispaniola. Forming part of the international border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the river's sources are in the Cordillera Central in...

 is the longest river of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 and flows westward into Haiti.

There are many lakes and coastal lagoon
Lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...

s. The largest lake is Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is a lake in the Dominican Republic and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island. It is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles...

, a salt lake
Salt lake
A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water which has a concentration of salts and other dissolved minerals significantly higher than most lakes . In some cases, salt lakes have a higher concentration of salt than sea water, but such lakes would also be termed hypersaline lakes...

 at 40 metres (131 ft) below sea level, the lowest point in the Caribbean. Other important lakes are Laguna de Rincón or Cabral, with freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

, and Laguna de Oviedo, a lagoon with brackish water
Brackish water
Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water, as in estuaries, or it may occur in brackish fossil aquifers. The word comes from the Middle Dutch root "brak," meaning "salty"...

.

Climate



The climate of the Dominican Republic is mostly tropical
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

. The annual average temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). At higher elevations, the temperature averages 18 °C (64.4 °F) while near sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 the average temperature is 28 °C (82.4 °F). Low temperatures of 0 °C (32 °F) are possible in the mountains while high temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) are possible in protected valleys. January and February are the coolest months of the year, while August is the hottest month. Some snowflakes can fall in rare occasions on the top of the Pico Duarte.

The wet season
Wet season
The the wet season, or rainy season, is the time of year, covering one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region occurs. The term green season is also sometimes used as a euphemism by tourist authorities. Areas with wet seasons are dispersed across portions of the...

 along the northern coast lasts from November through January. Elsewhere, the wet season stretches from May through November, with May being the wettest month. Average annual rainfall is 1500 millimetres (59.1 in) countrywide, with individual locations in the Valle de Neiba seeing averages as low as 350 millimetres (13.8 in) while the Cordillera Oriental averages 2740 millimetres (107.9 in). The driest part of the country lies in the west. Tropical cyclone
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

s strike the country every couple of years, with 65 percent of the impacts along the southern coast. Hurricanes are most likely between August and October. The last time a category 5 hurricane struck the country was Hurricane David
Hurricane David
Hurricane David was the fourth named tropical cyclone, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 1979 Atlantic hurricane season. A Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, David was among the deadliest hurricanes in the latter half of the 20th century, killing...

 in 1979.

Environmental issues


Bajos de Haina
Bajos de Haina
Bajos de Haina, also known simply as Haina , is a town and municipality in the San Cristóbal , of the Dominican Republic. In 1993 the population was estimated at 68,261, but recent estimates in 2005 claimed the population was as high as 140,175...

, 12 miles (19 km) west of Santo Domingo, was included on the Blacksmith Institute
Blacksmith Institute
Founded in 1999, Blacksmith Institute is an international non-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating life-threatening pollution in the developing world. Blacksmith identifies and cleans up the world's worst polluted places, focusing on communities where children are most at risk. Based in...

's list of the world's 10 most polluted places, released in October 2006, due to lead poisoning
Lead poisoning
Lead poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems...

 by a battery recycling
Battery recycling
Battery recycling is a recycling activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries being disposed as municipal solid waste. Batteries contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, their dumping has raised concern over risks of soil contamination and water pollution.-Battery recycling by...

 smelter closed in 1999. Cleanup of the site began in 2008, but children continue to be born with high lead levels, causing learning disabilities
Learning disability
Learning disability is a classification including several disorders in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors...

, impaired physical growth and kidney
Kidney
The kidneys, organs with several functions, serve essential regulatory roles in most animals, including vertebrates and some invertebrates. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and...

 failure.

Provinces and municipalities



The Dominican Republic is divided into 31 provinces
Provinces of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is divided into thirty–one provincias , while the national capital, Santo Domingo, is contained within its own Distrito Nacional ....

. Santo Domingo, the capital, is designated Distrito Nacional
Distrito Nacional
The Distrito Nacional is a subdivision of the Dominican Republic enclosing the capital Santo Domingo. It is not within any of the provinces, but is itself counted as a province. Before October 16, 2001, the Distrito Nacional was much larger, including what is now known as Santo Domingo Province....

 (National District). The provinces are divided into municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 (municipio
Municipio
Municipio and Município are terms used for country subdivisions. They are often translated as municipality.-Overview:...

s
; singular municipio). They are the second-level political and administrative subdivisions
Administrative division
An administrative division, subnational entity, or country subdivision is a portion of a country or other political division, established for the purpose of government. Administrative divisions are each granted a certain degree of autonomy, and are required to manage themselves through their own...

 of the country.


* The national capital is the city of Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, in the Distrito Nacional (DN).


Name and symbols


Some of the important symbols include the flag
Flag of the Dominican Republic
The flag of the Dominican Republic, as described by Article 96 of the Dominican Constitution, features a centered white cross that extends to the edges and divides the flag into four rectangles—the top ones are blue and red, and the bottom ones are red and blue...

, the coat of arms
Coat of arms of the Dominican Republic
The coat of arms of the Dominican Republic features a shield in similarly quartered colors as the flag, supported by a bay laurel branch and a palm frond ; above the shield, a blue ribbon displays the national motto: Dios, Patria, Libertad...

, and the national anthem, titled Himno Nacional. The flag has a large white cross that divides it into four quarters. Two quarters are red and two are blue. Red represents the blood shed by the liberators. Blue expresses God's protection over the nation. The white cross symbolizes the struggle of the liberators to bequeath future generations a free nation. An alternate interpretation is that blue represents the ideals of progress and liberty, whereas white symbolizes peace and unity amongst Dominicans. In the center of the cross is the Dominican coat of arms, in the same colors as the national flag. The coat of arms pictures a red, white and blue flag-draped shield with a Bible and cross; the shield is surrounded by an olive branch (on the left) and a palm branch (on the right). A blue ribbon above the shield reads, "Dios, Patria, Libertad" (meaning "God, Fatherland, Liberty"). A red ribbon under the shield reads, "República Dominicana" (meaning "Dominican Republic"). Out of all the flags in the world, the depiction of a Bible is unique to the Dominican flag.

The national flower
Floral emblem
In a number of countries, plants have been chosen as symbols to represent specific geographic areas. Some countries have a country-wide floral emblem; others in addition have symbols representing subdivisions. Different processes have been used to adopt these symbols - some are conferred by...

 is the Bayahibe Rose
Pereskia quisqueyana
Pereskia quisqueyana, commonly known as the Bayahibe Rose, is a species of cactus that is endemic to the Dominican Republic. Its natural habitats include subtropical or tropical dry forests. It is critically endangered due to habitat loss....

 and the national tree is the West Indian Mahogany
Swietenia mahagoni
Swietenia mahagoni, commonly known as the West Indies Mahogany, is a species of Swietenia native to southern Florida, USA, The Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. It is the species from which the original mahogany wood was produced....

. The national bird is the Cigua Palmera or Palmchat
Palmchat
The Palmchat is a small, long-tailed passerine bird, the only species in the genus Dulus and the family Dulidae. It is thought to be related to the waxwings, family Bombycillidae, and is sometimes classified with that group...

 ("Dulus dominicus").

For most of its history (up to independence) the colony was known as Santo Domingo, the name of its present capital, and its patron saint, Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic , also known as Dominic of Osma, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán was the founder of the Friars Preachers, popularly called the Dominicans or Order of Preachers , a Catholic religious order...

. The residents were called "Dominicanos" (Dominicans), which is the adjective form of "Domingo", and the revolutionaries named their newly independent country "La República Dominicana". At present, the Dominican Republic is one of two nations worldwide (along with the Central African Republic) with only a demonym
Demonym
A demonym , also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality. A demonym is usually – though not always – derived from the name of the locality; thus, the demonym for the people of England is English, and the demonym for the people of Italy is Italian, yet, in english, the one...

-based name. In the national anthem of the Dominican Republic (Himno Nacional) the term 'Dominican' never appears. The author of its lyrics Emilio Prud'Homme
Emilio Prud'Homme
Emilio Prud'Homme was a Dominican lawyer. Prud'Homme was the author and composer of the Dominican National Anthem. He is also attributed with helping establish a national identity, for what was at the time a nascent republic....

 consistently uses the poetic term Quisqueyano
Quisqueyano
Quisqueyano is a word sometimes used to denote a person of Dominican descent. It is derived from the Taino name for the island of Hispaniola, Quisqueya....

s
, that is, "Quisqueyans".

Holidays

Date Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

Non-working day.
January 6 Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 day of the Epiphany
Epiphany (Christian)
Epiphany, or Theophany, meaning "vision of God",...

Movable.
January 21 Dia de la Altagracia
Día de la Altagracia
Día de la Altagracia, or Altagracia Day, is a day commemorating "Our Lady of Altagracia", patronal image and protector and of the people of the Dominican Republic. It is a feast day and annual public holiday on January 21. "Our Lady of Altagracia" is a portrait of the Virgin Mary painted in the...

Non-working day. Patroness Day
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 (Catholic).
January 26 Duarte
Juan Pablo Duarte
Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez is one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. He was a visionary and liberal thinker who along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella is widely considered the architect of the Dominican Republic and its independence from Haitian rule in 1844...

's Day
Movable. Founding Father.
February 27 Independence Day Non-working day. National Day
National Day
The National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler . Often the day is not called "National Day"...

.
(Variable date) Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

Working days, except Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

.
A Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 holiday.
May 1 Labour Day
Labour Day
Labour Day or Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for...

Movable.
Last Sunday of May Mother's Day
Mother's Day
Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and celebrating motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, yet most commonly in March, April, or May...

(Variable date) Catholic Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi (feast)
Corpus Christi is a Latin Rite solemnity, now designated the solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ . It is also celebrated in some Anglican, Lutheran and Old Catholic Churches. Like Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of Christ the King, it does not commemorate a particular event in...

Non-working day. A Thursday in May or June
(60 days after Easter Sunday).
Last Sunday of July Father's Day
Father's Day
Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June but it is also celebrated widely on other days...

August 16 Restoration Day
Dominican Restoration War
The Dominican Restoration War was a guerrilla war between 1863 and 1865 in the Dominican Republic between nationalists and Spain, who had recolonized the country 17 years after its independence...

Non-working day.
September 24 Virgen de las Mercedes Non-working day. A Patroness Day
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 (Catholic)
November 6 Constitution Day
Constitution Day
Constitution Day is a holiday to honor the constitution of a country. Constitution Day is often celebrated on the anniversary of the signing, promulgation or adoption of the constitution, or in some cases, to commemorate the change to constitutional monarchy:...

Movable.
December 24 Christmas eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

December 25 Christmas Day
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

Non-working day.

Notes:
  • Non-working holidays are not moved to another day.
  • If a movable holiday falls on Saturday, Sunday or Monday then it is not moved to another day. If it falls on Tuesday or Wednesday, the holiday is moved to the previous Monday. If it falls on Thursday or Friday, the holiday is moved to the next Monday.

Population


The population of the Dominican Republic in 2007 was estimated by the United Nations at 9,760,000, which placed it number 82 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 5% of the population was over 65 years of age, while 35% of the population was under 15 years of age. There were 103 males for every 100 females in the country in 2007. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2006–2007 is 1.5%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 10,121,000.

It was estimated by the Dominican government that the population density in 2007 was 192 per km² (498 per sq mi), and 63% of the population lived in urban areas. The southern coastal plains and the Cibao Valley are the most densely populated areas of the country. The capital city, Santo Domingo, had a population of 3,014,000 in 2007. Other important cities are Santiago de los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros is a city in the Dominican Republic. Founded in 1495 during the first wave of European colonization of the New World, today Santiago is the second largest metropolis in the Dominican Republic, located in the north-central region of the Republic known as Cibao valley...

 (pop. 756,098), La Romana (pop. 250,000), San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the Dominican Republic.-Demographics:...

, San Francisco de Macorís
San Francisco de Macorís
San Francisco de Macorís is a city in the Dominican Republic. It is also the capital of the Duarte Province. It has had a very active role in the shaping of Dominican history, as it is known as one of, if not the most, politically active cities in the country. It is located in the northeast portion...

, Puerto Plata
San Felipe de Puerto Plata
San Felipe de Puerto Plata, often referred to as simply Puerto Plata, is the capital of the Dominican province Puerto Plata.The city is famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located east of San Felipe de Puerto Plata. There are a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city.The only...

, and La Vega
Concepción de La Vega
La Vega, or Concepción de La Vega is the largest city and municipality of the central Dominican Republic and the third of the whole country...

. Per the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 2.3%.

Ethnicity



The ethnic composition of the Dominican population is 73% multiracial, 16% white, and 11% black. The multiracial population is primarily a mixture of European and African, but there is as well a significant Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 element in the population; research published in 2010 showed that 15% of Dominicans have Taíno ancestry. There is also a large Haitian
Demographics of Haiti
Although Haiti averages approximately 255 people per square kilometer , its population is concentrated most heavily in urban areas, coastal plains, and valleys. About 80-85% of Haitians are of predominantly West African descent. The remainder of the population is primarily mulattoes. There are...

 minority. Other ethnic groups in the country include West Asians
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

—mostly Lebanese
Lebanese people
The Lebanese people are a nation and ethnic group of Levantine people originating in what is today the country of Lebanon, including those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state....

, Syrians
Demographics of Syria
Syrians today are an overall indigenous Levantine people. While modern-day Syrians are commonly described as Arabs by virtue of their modern-day language and bonds to Arab culture and history...

 and Palestinians
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

. A significant presence of East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

ns, primarily ethnic Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 and Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

, can also be found. Europeans are represented mostly by Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

, German Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

, Italians
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

, Swiss, Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

, British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

, Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

, Danes, and Hungarians. There is also a sizeable expatriate community of U.S. citizens residing in the country.

A system of racial stratification
Casta
Casta is a Portuguese and Spanish term used in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries mainly in Spanish America to describe as a whole the mixed-race people which appeared in the post-Conquest period...

 was imposed on Santo Domingo by Spain, as elsewhere in the Spanish Empire. Its effects have persisted, reaching their culmination in the antihaitianismo
Antihaitianismo
Antihaitianismo is a racist bias against Haitians and descendants of Haitians by Dominicans.- Description :Antihaitianismo can be traced back to a policy of racial segregation instituted by the Spaniards in the colony of Captaincy General of Santo Domingo .Human Rights Watch has stated in their...

 of the Trujillo regime, as the dictator used racial persecution and nationalistic fervor against Haitians. In October 2007, a U.N. envoy found that racism against blacks in general, and Haitians in particular, is rampant in every segment of Dominican society. According to a study by the CUNY
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

 Dominican Studies Institute, about 90% of the contemporary Dominican population has West African ancestry to varying degrees. However, most Dominicans do not self-identify as black, in contrast to people of West African ancestry in other countries. A variety of terms are used to represent a range of skin tones, such as moreno/a (brown), canelo/a (red/brown) ["cinnamon"], indio/a (Indian), blanco/a oscuro/a (dark white), and trigueño/a (literally "wheat colored", or olive skin).

Ramona Hernández, director of the Dominican Studies Institute at City College of New York
City College of New York
The City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...

 asserts that the terms were originally a defense against racism: "During the Trujillo regime, people who were dark skinned were rejected, so they created their own mechanism to fight it." She went on to explain, "When you ask, 'What are you?' they don't give you the answer you want ... saying we don't want to deal with our blackness is simply what you want to hear."

Religion



The Dominican Republic is 68.9% Roman Catholic, 18.2% Evangelical, 10.6% with no religion, and 2.3% other. However, other sources place the irreligious ratio at 7% and nearly 10%. Recent immigration, as well as proselytizing, has brought other religions, with the following shares of the population: Spiritist: 2.2%, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1.1%, Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

: 0.10%, Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

: 0.1%, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

: 0.02%, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

: 0.01%, Chinese Folk Religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

: 0.1%.
The nation has two patroness saints: Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Our Lady Of High Grace) and Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady Of Mercy).

The Catholic Church began to lose popularity in the late 19th century. This was due to a lack of funding, of priests, and of support programs. During the same time, the Protestant evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 movement began to gain support. Religious tension between Catholics and Protestants in the country has been rare.

There has always been religious freedom throughout the entire country. Not until the 1950s were restrictions placed upon churches by Trujillo. Letters of protest were sent against the mass arrests of government adversaries. Trujillo began a campaign against the church and planned to arrest priests and bishops who preached against the government. This campaign ended before it was even put into place, with his assassination.

During World War II, a group of Jews escaping Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 fled to the Dominican Republic and founded the city of Sosúa
Sosúa
Sosúa is a small town in the Puerto Plata province of the Dominican Republic. Located approximately from the Puerto Plata International Airport , the town is accessed primarily by Camino Cinco, or Highway 5, which runs much of the length of the country's North coastline...

. It has remained the center of the Jewish population since.

Languages



The Dominican Republic is entirely Spanish speaking. Schools are based on a Spanish educational model, with English being taught as a secondary language in most private schools, it is also being taught in public school as well. Haitian Creole is spoken by the population of Haitian descent. There is a community of about 8,000 speakers of Samaná English
Samaná English
Samaná English is a variety of the English language spoken by about 8,000 people in the Samaná Peninsula, Dominican Republic. The speakers of Samaná English are the descendants of African freed persons, who came from West Africa beginning in 1824 when they were forced to learn the forms of the...

 in the Samaná Peninsula. They are the descendants of formerly enslaved African Americans who arrived in the nineteenth century. Tourism, American pop culture, the influence of Dominican American
Dominican American
A Dominican American is any American who has origins in the Dominican Republic.Immigration records of Dominicans in the United States date from the late 19th century, and New York City has had a Dominican community since the 1930s...

s, and the country's economic ties with the United States motivate other Dominicans to learn English.

Education


Primary education is officially free and compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 14, although those who live in isolated areas have limited access to schooling. Primary schooling is followed by a two-year intermediate school and a four-year secondary course, after which a diploma called the bachillerato (high school diploma) is awarded. Relatively few lower-income students succeed in reaching this level, due to financial hardships and limitation due to location. Most of the wealthier students attend private schools, which are frequently sponsored by religious institutions. Some public and private vocational schools are available, particularly in the field of agriculture, but this too reaches only a tiny percentage of the population.

Crime



The Dominican Republic has become a trans-shipment point for Colombian drugs destined to Europe as well as the United States and Canada. Money laundering via the Dominican Republic is favored by Colombian drug cartels for the ease of illicit financial transactions. In 2004 it was estimated that 8% of all cocaine smuggled into the United States had come through the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic responded with increased efforts to seize drug shipments, arrest and extradite those involved, and combat money-laundering.

The often light treatment of violent criminals has been a continuous source of local controversy. In April 2010, five teenagers ages 15 to 17 (including 2 females) shot and killed two taxi drivers and killed another five by forcing them to drink drain cleaning acid. On September 24, 2010, the teens were sentenced to only 3–5 year prison terms, despite the protests of the taxi drivers' families.

Health


In 2007 the Dominican Republic had a birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

 of 22.91 per 1000, and a death rate of 5.32 per 1000.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic in 2003 stood at an estimated 1.7 percent, with an estimated 88,000 HIV/AIDS-positive Dominicans. A mission based in the United States is helping to combat AIDS in the Dominican Republic. Dengue is endemic to the country, and there are cases of malaria.

The practice of abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 is illegal in all cases in the Dominican Republic, a ban that includes conceptions following rape, incest, and in situations where the health of the mother is in danger. This ban was reiterated by the Dominican government in a September 2009 provision of a constitutional reform bill.

Immigration


In the 20th century, many Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s (primarily from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

), Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

, and, to a lesser degree, Koreans settled in the country as agricultural laborers and merchants. The Chinese, who were fleeing the Chinese Communist
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 (PLA), found work in mines and building railroads. The current Chinese Dominican population totals 50,000. The Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 community is rising at an increasing rate. Estimates are at 3,400. Japanese immigrants, who mostly work in the business districts and markets, are at an estimate of 1,900 living in the country. The Korean presence is minor but evident, at a population of 500.

In addition, there are descendants of immigrants who came from other Caribbean islands, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua
Antigua
Antigua , also known as Waladli, is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la...

, St. Vincent
Saint Vincent (island)
Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island of the chain called Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada. It is composed of partially submerged volcanic mountains...

, Montserrat
Montserrat
Montserrat is a British overseas territory located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. This island measures approximately long and wide, giving of coastline...

, Tortola
Tortola
Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local tradition recounts that Christopher Columbus named it Tortola, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove". Columbus named the island Santa Ana...

, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

. They worked on sugarcane plantations and docks and settled mainly in the cities of San Pedro de Macoris
San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the Dominican Republic.-Demographics:...

 and Puerto Plata. There is an increasing number of Puerto Rican
Puerto Rican people
A Puerto Rican is a person who was born in Puerto Rico.Puerto Ricans born and raised in the continental United States are also sometimes referred to as Puerto Ricans, although they were not born in Puerto Rico...

 immigrants, especially in and around Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

; they are believed to number around 10,000. Before and during World War II, 800 Jewish refugees moved to the Dominican Republic.

Illegal Haitian immigration



Haiti is a poorer country than the Dominican Republic. In 2003, 80% of all Haitians were poor (54% in abject poverty) and 47.1% were illiterate. The country of nine million people has a fast-growing population, but over two-thirds of the labor force lack formal jobs. Haiti's per capita GDP (PPP) was $1,300 in 2008, or less than one-sixth of the Dominican figure. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have migrated to the Dominican Republic, with some estimates of 800,000 Haitians in the country, while others put the Haitian-born population as high as one million. They usually work at low-paying and unskilled jobs in building construction, household cleaning, and in sugar plantations. There have been accusations that some Haitian immigrants work in slavery-like conditions and are severely exploited.

Children of illegal Haitian immigrants are often stateless
Statelessness
Statelessness is a legal concept describing the lack of any nationality. It is the absence of a recognized link between an individual and any state....

 and denied services, as their parents are denied Dominican nationality because they are deemed transient residents, due to their illegal or undocumented status, and the children, though often eligible for Haitian nationality, are denied it by Haiti because of a lack of proper documents or witnesses.

A large number of Haitian women, often arriving with several health problems, cross the border to Dominican soil during their last weeks of pregnancy to obtain much-needed medical attention for childbirth
Childbirth
Childbirth is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus...

, since Dominican public hospitals do not refuse medical services based on nationality or legal status. Statistics from a hospital in Santo Domingo report that over 22% of childbirths are by Haitian mothers.

In 2005 Dominican President Leonel Fernández criticized collective expulsions of Haitians as having taken place "in an abusive and inhuman way". After a UN delegation issued a preliminary report stating that it found a profound problem of racism and discrimination against people of Haitian origins, Dominican Foreign Minister
Foreign minister
A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...

 Carlos Morales Troncoso
Carlos Morales Troncoso
Carlos Morales Troncoso is a Dominican politician who currently serves as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic since 2004.-Family background:...

 issued a formal statement denouncing it and asserting that "Our border with Haiti has its problems, this is our reality and it must be understood. It is important not to confuse national sovereignty with indifference, and not to confuse security with xenophobia
Xenophobia
Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

".

Emigration


The first of three, late-20th century emigration waves began in 1961, after the assassination of dictator Trujillo, due to fear of retaliation by Trujillo's allies, and political uncertainty in general. In 1965, the United States began a military occupation of the Dominican Republic to end a civil war. Upon this, the U.S. eased travel restrictions, making it easier for Dominicans to obtain U.S. visas. From 1966 to 1978, the exodus continued, fueled by high unemployment and political repression. Communities established by the first wave of immigrants to the U.S. created a network that assisted subsequent arrivals. In the early 1980s, underemployment, inflation, and the rise in value of the dollar all contributed to a third wave of emigration from the island nation. Today, emigration from the Dominican Republic remains high. In 2006, there were approximately 1.3 million people of Dominican descent in the US, counting both native- and foreign-born. There is also a growing Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico
Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico
There's been movement of people from the territory of the Dominican Republic to its eastern neighbor Puerto Rico, and vice versa, since colonial times, but Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico has risen sharply in recent decades, with tens of thousands of arrivals since 1961...

.

Culture



The culture and people of the Dominican Republic, like its Spanish Caribbean
Spanish Caribbean
The Spanish Caribbean refers to the Spanish-speaking areas in the Caribbean Sea, namely Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The phrase, thus, excludes countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, and the Lesser Antilles...

 neighbors, is a blend of the cultures of the Spanish colonists, African slaves, and Taíno natives. European, African and Taíno cultural elements are most prominent in food, family structure, religion and music. Many Arawak/Taíno names and words are used in daily conversation and for many foods native to the Dominican Republic.

Cuisine


Dominican cuisine is predominantly Spanish, Taíno, and African. The typical cuisine is quite similar to what can be found in other Latin American countries, but many of the names of dishes are different. One breakfast dish consists of eggs and mangú
Mangú (dish)
Mangú is a Dominican traditional side dish served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In Cuba, and parts of Africa it is known as fufu.- Etymology :...

(mashed, boiled plantain), a dish that the Dominican Republic shares with Cuba and Puerto Rico. For heartier versions, mangú is accompanied by deep-fried meat (Dominican salami, typically) and/or cheese. Similarly to Spain, lunch is generally the largest and most important meal of the day. Lunch usually consists of rice, meat (such as chicken, beef, pork, or fish), beans, and a side portion of salad. "La Bandera" (literally "The Flag") is the most popular lunch dish; it consists of meat and red beans on white rice. Sancocho
Sancocho
Sancocho is a traditional soup in several Spanish and Latin American cuisines. Variations represent popular national dishes in the Canary Islands of Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela...

is a stew often made with seven varieties of meat.

Meals tend to favor starches and meats over dairy products and vegetables. Many dishes are made with sofrito
Sofrito
Sofrito is a combination of aromatic ingredients which have been cut in very small pieces, and slowly sauteed or braised in cooking oil for 15-30 minutes....

, which is a mix of local herbs used as a wet rub for meats and sautéed to bring out all of a dish's flavors. Throughout the south-central coast, bulgur
Bulgur
Bulgur is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. In the United States it is most often made from white wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Bulgaria...

, or whole wheat, is a main ingredient in quipes or tipili (bulgur salad). Other favorite Dominican foods are chicharrón, yuca
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

, casabe
Tapioca
Tapioca is a starch extracted Manihot esculenta. This species, native to the Amazon, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and most of the West Indies, is now cultivated worldwide and has many names, including cassava, manioc, aipim,...

, pastelitos
Cuban pastry
Cuban pastries are baked puff pastry-type pastries filled with sweet or savory fillings....

(empanada
Empanada
An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin America, Southern Europe and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing...

s), batata
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

, yam
Yam (vegetable)
Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea . These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania...

, pasteles en hoja
Pasteles
Pasteles are a traditional dish in several Latin American countries. In Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean coast of Colombia, and Panama, it is similar to a tamale. In Central American cuisine, it more closely resembles a British pasty or an Italian calzone.In...

, chimichurris
Chimichurris
Chimichurris are a traditional snack dish served in the Dominican Republic. It is made from a pork sausage, , which is sliced, grilled and served on a pan de agua and garnished with chopped cabbage. Salsa rosa is also added...

, tostones
Tostones
Tostones or patacones are a popular side dish in many Latin American countries. The dish is made from sliced green plantains cut either length-wise or width-wise and are twice fried...

. Some treats Dominicans enjoy are arroz con dulce
Rice pudding
Rice pudding is a dish made from rice mixed with water or milk and sometimes other ingredients such as cinnamon and raisins. Different variants are used for either desserts or dinners. When used as a dessert, it is commonly combined with a sweetener such as sugar.-Rice pudding around the world:Rice...

(or arroz con leche), bizcocho dominicano (lit. Dominican cake), habichuelas con dulce
Habichuelas con dulce
Habichuelas con dulce is a sweet bean liquid dessert from the Dominican Republic that is especially popular around the Easter holiday. The beverage is part of the cuisine of the Dominican Republic and is traditionally garnished with galleticas de leche, "round milk cookies engraved with a cross and...

, flan
Flan
Crème caramel , flan , or caramel custard is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top...

, frío frío
Snow cone
Snow cones or snow balls are a variation of the shaved ice dessert commonly served throughout North America in paper cones or styrofoam cups...

(snow cones), dulce de leche
Dulce de leche
Dulce de leche is a thick,creamy, caramel-like milk-based sauce or spread.Literally translated, dulce de leche means "sweet from milk". It is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from caramelised sugar. It is a popular sweet in Latin America, where...

, and caña (sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

). The beverages Dominicans enjoy include Morir Soñando
Morir Soñando
Morir Soñando is a popular beverage of the Dominican Republic, usually made of orange juice, milk, cane sugar, and chopped ice. Sometimes vanilla extract is also added, or evaporated milk is used instead of regular milk. It is very similar to orange ice cream.-Ingredients:The recipe for Morir...

, rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

, beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, Mama Juana
Mama Juana
Mama Juana is a drink from the Dominican Republic that is concocted by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. The taste is quite similar to port wine and the color is a deep red...

, batida (smoothie), jugos naturales (freshly squeezed fruit juices), mabí
Mauby
Mauby and Dutch Caribbean islands of St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Saba, is a tree bark-based beverage grown, and widely consumed, in the Caribbean...

, coffee, and chaca (also called maiz caqueao/casqueado, maiz con dulce and maiz con leche), the last item being only found in the southern provinces of the country such as San Juan.

Music


Musically, the Dominican Republic is known for the creation of the musical style called merengue
Merengue music
Merengue is a type of music and dance from the Dominican Republic. It is popular in the Dominican Republic and all over Latin America. Its name is Spanish, taken from the name of the meringue, a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar...

, a type of lively, fast-paced rhythm and dance music consisting of a tempo of about 120 to 160 beats per minute (though it varies) based on musical elements like drums, brass, chorded instruments, and accordion, as well as some elements unique to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, such as the tambora and güira
Güira
A güira is a percussion instrument from the Dominican Republic, generally used in merengue, bachata, and its subgenres, that sounds like a maraca or hi-hat but in fact is a sheet of metal—in practice, often from a five gallon oil can—evenly perforated with a nail, shaped into a cylinder or...

. Its syncopated beats
Syncopation
In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced strong and weak but also powerful beats in a meter . These include a stress on a normally unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be...

 use Latin percussion
Latin percussion
The term Latin percussion refers to any number of a large family of musical percussion instruments used in Latin music, which in turn is a very loosely related group of musical styles, mainly from the Latin American region, and ultimately having roots or influences in African tribal...

, brass instruments, bass
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

, and piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 or keyboard
Musical keyboard
A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument, particularly the piano. Keyboards typically contain keys for playing the twelve notes of the Western musical scale, with a combination of larger, longer keys and smaller, shorter keys that repeats at the...

. Between 1937 and 1950 merengue music was promoted internationally by Dominicans groups like Billo's Caracas Boys, Chapuseaux and Damiron "Los Reyes del Merengue", Joseito Mateo, and others. Radio, television, and international media popularized it further. Some well-known merengue performers include Johnny Ventura
Johnny Ventura
Juan e Dios Ventura Soriano, better known as Johnny Ventura is a singer and band leader of merengue.- Early History :...

, singer/songwriter Juan Luis Guerra
Juan Luis Guerra
Juan Luis Guerra is a singer, songwriter and producer from the Dominican Republic who has sold over 30 million records, and won numerous awards including 12 Latin Grammy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Latin Billboard Music Awards...

, Fernando Villalona
Fernando Villalona
Fernando Villalona, the first artist named "El Mayimbe" , is a Dominican merengue singer whose popularity started to grow in the late 70s and has not declined ever since....

, Eddy Herrera
Eddy Herrera
Eddy Jose Herrera de los Rios, also known as Eddy Herrera, is a merengue singer and winner of more than seven Casandra Awards. Born on 30 April 1964 in the Dominican Republic, in the city of Santiago de Los Caballeros.-History :...

, Sergio Vargas
Sergio Vargas
For the Chilean football goalkeeper with the same name see Sergio Vargas Sergio Vargas is a Dominican merengue singer. He has been a member of the bands La Banda Brava and Los Hijos del Rey.- References :...

, Toño Rosario
Toño Rosario
Máximo Antonio del Rosario , commonly known as Toño Rosario, is a Grammy-award nominee Merengue musician born in the Dominican Republic.-Biography:Tono Rosario is a singer-songwriter, arranger and producer...

, Milly Quezada
Milly Quezada
Milagros Quezada Borbón, known simply as Milly Quezada, is a Latin Grammy-winning Dominican Merengue music singer. She is a singer in Latin America; especially in those Latin American countries bordered by the Caribbean Sea, and in the eastern seaboard region of the United States...

, and Chichí Peralta
Chichi Peralta
Chichi Peralta is a Singer, musician, arranger and producer, from the Dominican Republic.-Biography:Chichi Peralta was born on July 9, 1966 in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. His musical career began at the age of four, when he built his first drum...

. Merengue became popular in the United States, mostly on the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

, during the 1980s and 90s, when many Dominican artists, among them Victor Roque y La Gran Manzana, Henry Hierro, Zacarias Ferreira, Aventura, and Milly Jocelyn Y Los Vecinos, residing in the U.S. (particularly New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

) started performing in the Latin club scene and gained radio airplay. The emergence of bachata, along with an increase in the number of Dominicans living among other Latino
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

 groups in New York, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 have contributed to Dominican music's overall growth in popularity.

Bachata, a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and rural marginal neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic, has become quite popular in recent years. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original name for the genre was amargue ("bitterness", or "bitter music", or blues music), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. Bachata grew out of, and is still closely related to, the pan-Latin American romantic style called bolero
Bolero
Bolero is a form of slow-tempo Latin music and its associated dance and song. There are Spanish and Cuban forms which are both significant and which have separate origins.The term is also used for some art music...

. Over time, it has been influenced by merengue and by a variety of Latin American guitar styles.

Dominican rock
Dominican rock
Dominican rock, , is rock music created by Dominican groups and soloists. Originating in the 1980s with the start of Luis Dias band Transporte Urbano, successful bands such as Tribu Del Sol, Toque Profundo and Tabu Tek began to emerge...

 is also popular. Many, if not the majority, of its performers are based in Santo Domingo and Santiago.

Particularly among the young, hip-hop/rap has been growing in popularity in recent years. Also known as Rap del Patio ("backyard rap"), Dominican rap is created by Dominican crews and solo artists. Originating in the early 2000s with crews such as Charles Family, successful rappers such as Lapiz Conciente, Vakero, Toxic Crow, and R-1 emerged. The youth have embraced the music, sometimes over merengue, merengue típico, bachata, as well as salsa
Salsa music
Salsa music is a genre of music, generally defined as a modern style of playing Cuban Son, Son Montuno, and Guaracha with touches from other genres of music...

, and, most recently, reggaeton
Reggaeton
Reggaeton is a form of Puerto Rican and Latin American urban and Caribbean music. After its mainstream exposure in 2004, it spread to North American, European and Asian audiences. Reggaeton originated in Puerto Rico but is also has roots from Reggae en Español from Panama and Puerto Rico and...

. Dominican rap differs from reggaeton in the fact that Dominican rap does not use the traditional Dem Bow rhythm frequently used in reggaeton, instead using more hip hop-influenced beats.

Sports



Baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic. The country has a baseball league of six teams. Its season usually begins in October and ends in January. After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 (MLB) players. Ozzie Virgil, Sr.
Ozzie Virgil, Sr.
Osvaldo José Virgil broke the color barrier for Detroit in 1958. He served in the U.S. Marines from 1950 to 1952...

 became the first Dominican-born player in the MLB on September 23, 1956. A few of the others born in the Dominican Republic are: Julian Javier
Julián Javier
Manuel Julián Javier Liranzo , best known as Julián Javier [hoo-lee-AN hah-vee-ER], is a former Major League Baseball second baseman and right-handed batter. He played with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds...

, Pedro Martínez
Pedro Martínez
Pedro Jaime Martínez is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. He is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and 2004 World Series champion...

, Manny Ramírez
Manny Ramírez
Manuel "Manny" Arístides Ramírez Onelcida is a retired Dominican-American professional baseball outfielder. He was recognized for great batting skill and power, a nine-time Silver Slugger and one of 25 players to hit 500 career home runs. Ramirez's 21 grand slams are third all-time, and his 28...

, Jose Bautista
José Bautista
José Antonio Bautista is a Dominican professional baseball outfielder with the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. Though now primarily a right fielder, having been a utility player in the past, he has major league experience at six different positions...

, Hanley Ramírez
Hanley Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez is a shortstop in Major League Baseball for the Miami Marlins. Ramírez was named 2006 NL Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 2009, Ramírez won the NL batting title and is a three-time All-Star starter...

, David Ortiz
David Ortiz
David Américo Ortiz Arias , known as David Ortiz, nicknamed "Big Papi", is a Dominican American professional baseball player who is currently a free agent. Previously, Ortiz played with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox...

, Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols
José Alberto Pujols Alcántara , better known as Albert Pujols , is a Dominican-American professional baseball player, who is currently a free agent...

, Ubaldo Jiménez
Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jiménez García is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. He pitched the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies history on April 17, 2010, against the Atlanta Braves.-Colorado Rockies :...

, José Reyes
José Reyes
José Bernabé Reyes is a Dominican baseball shortstop.He is a four-time All-Star. He led the major leagues in triples in 2005, 2006, and 2008, and led the National League in stolen bases in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He was the NL batting champion in 2011...

, Juan Marichal
Juan Marichal
Juan Antonio Marichal Sánchez is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. Playing for the San Francisco Giants most of his career, Marichal was known for his high leg kick, pinpoint control and intimidation tactics, which included aiming pitches directly at the opposing batters'...

 (a Baseball Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

 member), and Sammy Sosa
Sammy Sosa
Samuel Peralta "Sammy" Sosa is a Dominican former professional baseball right fielder. Sosa played with four Major League Baseball teams over his career which spanned from 1989-2007....

. Felipe Alou has also enjoyed success as a manager, and Omar Minaya
Omar Minaya
Omar Teodoro Antonio Minaya y Sánchez is a former baseball executive who served as General Manager for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets.-Early life:...

 as a general manager.

In boxing, the country has produced scores of world-class fighters and several world champions. Basketball also enjoys a relatively high level of popularity. Al Horford
Al Horford
Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso is a Dominican professional basketball player who is a center and power forward for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association...

, Felipe Lopez
Felipe López (basketball)
Luis Felipe López is a retired Dominican professional basketball player.He starred in United States high school and university basketball. López then played for four seasons in the National Basketball Association , but with far less success...

, and Francisco Garcia
Francisco García
Francisco García is a Dominican professional basketball player who currently plays for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. A 6'7", 195-pound guard–forward from the University of Louisville, García was selected by the Kings in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft...

 are among the Dominican-born players currently or formerly in the National Basketball Association
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 (NBA). Olympic
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 gold medalist and world champion hurdler Félix Sánchez
Felix Sanchez
Félix Sánchez —nicknamed Super Felix, the Invincible and the Dictator— is a track and field athlete from New York City, United States who competes for The Dominican Republic...

 hails from the Dominican Republic, as does NFL
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 defensive end
Defensive end
Defensive end is the name of a defensive position in the sport of American and Canadian football.This position has designated the players at each end of the defensive line, but changes in formations have substantially changed how the position is played over the years...

 Luis Castillo.

The Dominican Republic also regards football (soccer) as its third most popular sport, after baseball and basketball. Volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

, which was introduced in 1916 by US marines, is controlled by the Dominican Volleyball Federation
Dominican Volleyball Federation
The Dominican Republic Volleyball Confederation is a non-profit organization which serves as the national governing body of volleyball in the Dominican Republic....

. Other sports include Tae Kwon Do, in which Gabriel Mercedes
Gabriel Mercedes
Yulis Gabriel Mercedes Reyes is a Dominican taekwondo practitioner and Olympic medalist. He won a silver medal in the – 58 kg class at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, after tying with Guillermo Pérez of Mexico, but losing by a judge's decision.-References:* *...

 is an Olympic silver medalist; and Judo
Judo
is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

.

Government and politics


The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 or democratic republic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, with three branches of power: executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

, legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, and judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

. The President of the Dominican Republic heads the executive branch and executes laws passed by the Congress
Congress of the Dominican Republic
The Congress of the Dominican Republic is the bicameral legislature of the government of the Dominican Republic, consisting of two houses, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Both senators and deputies are chosen through direct election...

, appoints the Cabinet, and is commander in chief of the armed forces
Military of the Dominican Republic
The Military of the Dominican Republic or Fuerzas Armadas de la República Dominicana consists of approximately 44,000 active duty personnel, about 40 percent of which are utilized for non-military operations, including security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, toll security,...

. The president and vice-president run for office on the same ticket and are elected by direct vote for 4-year terms. The national legislature is bicameral, composed of a Senate
Senate of the Dominican Republic
The Senate is the upper house of the Dominican Republic's bicameral National Congress. The lower house is the Chamber of Deputies....

, which has 32 members, and the Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic
The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of theDominican Republic's bicameral National Congress. The upper house is the Senate.It currently comprises 183 deputies who are elected for four-year terms...

, with 178 members. Judicial authority rests with the Supreme Court of Justice's 16-members. They are appointed by a council composed of the President, the leaders of both houses of Congress, the President of the Supreme Court, and an opposition or non–governing-party member. The Court "alone hears actions against the president, designated members of his Cabinet, and members of Congress when the legislature is in session."

The president appoints the governors of the 31 provinces. Mayors and municipal councils administer the 124 municipal districts and the National District (Santo Domingo). They are elected at the same time as congressional representatives.

The Dominican Republic has a multi-party political system. Elections are held every two years, alternating between the Presidential elections
Elections in the Dominican Republic
Elections in the Dominican Republic gives information on election and election results in the Dominican Republic.The Dominican Republic elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a four year term by the people. The Congress of the...

, which are held in years evenly divisible by four, and the Congressional and municipal elections, which are held in even-numbered years not divisible by four. "International observers have found that presidential and congressional elections since 1996 have been generally free and fair." The Central Elections Board (JCE) of 9 members supervises elections, and its decisions are unappealable.

There are many political parties and advocacy group
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

s and, new on the scene, civil organizations
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

. The three major parties are the conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 Social Christian Reformist Party
Social Christian Reformist Party
The Social Christian Reformist Party is a conservative, christian democratic, economic liberal and a populist party in the Dominican Republic formed by the union of the Partido Reformista and the Partido Revolucionario Social Cristiano...

 (Spanish: Partido Reformista Social Cristiano [PRSC]), in power 1966–78 and 1986–96; the social democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 Dominican Revolutionary Party
Dominican Revolutionary Party
The Dominican Revolutionary Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic. It has a moderate centrist position, social democratic in name. The party's distinctive color is white....

 (Spanish: Partido Revolucionario Dominicano [PRD]), in power in 1963, 1978–86, and 2000–04); and the originally leftist, increasingly conservative Dominican Liberation Party
Dominican Liberation Party
The Dominican Liberation Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic, and has a centrist position.The party has been elected into office thrice now with Leonel Fernández as President of the Dominican Republic in the 1996, 2004 and 2008 elections, though losing in 2000...

 (Spanish: Partido de la Liberación Dominicana [PLD]), in power 1996–2000 and since 2004.

The presidential elections of 2008
Dominican Republic presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in the Dominican Republic on 16 May 2008.A poll from late October 2007 gave the incumbent Leonel Fernández of the centre-right Dominican Liberation Party 42%, construction tycoon Miguel Vargas Maldonado of the centre-left Dominican Revolutionary Party 30% and Amable...

 were held on May 16, 2008, with incumbent Leonel Fernández winning with 53% of the vote. He defeated Miguel Vargas Maldonado, of the PRD, who achieved a 40.48% share of the vote. Amable Aristy, of the PRSC, achieved 4.59% of the vote. Other minority candidates, which includes former Attorney General Guillermo Moreno
Guillermo Moreno
Guillermo Moreno Garcia is a Dominican lawyer and politician.Moreno served as the Attorney General of the Distrito Nacional from 1996 to 1997, during Leonel Fernandez's first term as president. In the 2008 elections, Moreno was the presidential candidate for the leftist Movement for Independence,...

 from the Movement for Independence, Unity and Change
Movement for Independence, Unity and Change
The Movement for Independence, Unity and Change is a political formation in the Dominican Republic with a leftist-progressive platform. On the May 16th, 2006 parliamentary election it got 9,735 votes , but no seat. In the municipal elections held simulatenously, MIUCA had its best performance in...

 (Movimiento Independencia, Unidad y Cambio [MIUCA]) and PRSC former presidential candidate and defector Eduardo Estrella obtained less than 1% of the vote.

Economy


The Dominican Republic has the second largest economy (the largest, according to the U.S. State Department) in Central America and the Caribbean. It is an upper middle-income developing country
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

, with a 2007 GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 per capita of $9,208, in PPP
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 terms, which is relatively high in Latin America. In the trimester of January–March 2007 it experienced an exceptional growth of 9.1% in its GDP, which was actually below the previous year's 10.9% in the same period. Growth was led by import
Import
The term import is derived from the conceptual meaning as to bring in the goods and services into the port of a country. The buyer of such goods and services is referred to an "importer" who is based in the country of import whereas the overseas based seller is referred to as an "exporter". Thus...

s, followed by exports, with finance and foreign investment the next largest factors.

The Dominican Republic is primarily dependent on natural resources and government services. Although the service sector has recently overtaken agriculture as the leading employer of Dominicans (due principally to growth in tourism and Free Trade Zones), agriculture remains the most important sector in terms of domestic consumption and is in second place, behind mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

, in terms of export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

 earnings. The service sector in general has experienced growth in recent years, as has construction. Free Trade Zone earnings and tourism are the fastest-growing export sectors. Real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 tourism alone accounted for $1.5 billion in earnings for 2007. Remittances
Remittances
A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country. Note that in 19th century usage a remittance man was someone exiled overseas and sent an allowance on condition that he not return home....

 from Dominicans living abroad amounted to nearly $3.2 billion in 2007.

Economic growth takes place in spite of a chronic energy shortage, which causes frequent blackouts and very high prices. Despite a widening merchandise trade deficit
Balance of trade
The balance of trade is the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports of output in an economy over a certain period. It is the relationship between a nation's imports and exports...

, tourism earnings and remittances have helped build foreign exchange reserves
Foreign exchange reserves
Foreign-exchange reserves in a strict sense are 'only' the foreign currency deposits and bonds held by central banks and monetary authorities. However, the term in popular usage commonly includes foreign exchange and gold, Special Drawing Rights and International Monetary Fund reserve positions...

. The Dominican Republic is current on foreign private debt
Consumer debt
In economics, consumer debt is outstanding debt of consumers, as opposed to businesses or governments. In macroeconomic terms, it is debt which is used to fund consumption rather than investment...

.

Following economic turmoil in the late 1980s and 1990, during which the gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP) fell by up to 5% and consumer price inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 reached an unprecedented 100%, the Dominican Republic entered a period of growth and declining inflation until 2002, after which the economy entered a recession
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

.
This recession followed the collapse of the second-largest commercial bank
Commercial bank
After the implementation of the Glass–Steagall Act, the U.S. Congress required that banks engage only in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital market activities. As the two no longer have to be under separate ownership under U.S...

 in the country, Baninter
Banco Intercontinental
Banco Intercontinental was the second largest privately held commercial bank in the Dominican Republic before collapsing in 2003 in a spectacular fraud tied to political corruption...

, linked to a major incident of fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

 valued at $3.5 billion, during the administration of President Hipólito Mejía
Hipólito Mejía
Rafael Hipólito Mejía Domínguez is a Dominican politician and former President of the Dominican Republic...

 (2000–2004). The Baninter fraud had a devastating effect on the Dominican economy, with GDP dropping by 1% in 2003 as inflation ballooned by over 27%. All defendants, including the star of the trial, Ramon Baez Figueroa, were convicted. One subpoena was not delivered because the United States denied extradition.

According to the 2005 Annual Report of the United Nations Subcommittee on Human Development in the Dominican Republic, the country is ranked #71 in the world for resource availability, #79 for human development, and #14 in the world for resource mismanagement. These statistics emphasize national government corruption, foreign economic interference in the country, and the rift between the rich and poor.

Currency


The Dominican peso
Dominican peso
The Dominican peso, also called peso oro is the currency of the Dominican Republic. Its symbol is "$", with "RD$" used when distinction from other pesos is required; its ISO 4217 code is "DOP". Each peso is divided into 100 centavos , for which the ¢ symbol is used...

 (DOP, or RD$) is the national currency, although United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

s (USD) and euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

s (EUR) are also accepted at most tourist sites. The dollar is implicated in almost all commercial transactions of the Dominican Republic; such dollarization
Dollarization
Dollarization occurs when the inhabitants of a country use foreign currency in parallel to or instead of the domestic currency. The term is not only applied to usage of the United States dollar, but generally to the use of any foreign currency as the national currency.The biggest economies to have...

 is common in high inflation economies. The peso was officially at par with the dollar until the early 1980s, but has depreciated since then. The exchange rate, liberalized by 1985, stood at 2.70 pesos per dollar in August 1986, 14.00 pesos in 1993, and 16.00 pesos in 2000. Having jumped to 53.00 pesos in 2003, the rate was back down to around 31.00 pesos in 2004. As of November 2010 the rate was 1 DOP = 0.0273 USD, that is, 36.6 DOP per USD; 1 DOP = 0.020 euro (EUR, or €); and 1 DOP = 2.294 Japanese yen
Japanese yen
The is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound sterling...

 (JPY, or ¥).

Tourism



Tourism is fueling the Dominican Republic's economic growth. For example, the contribution of travel and tourism to employment is expected to rise from 550,000 jobs in 2008—14.4% of total employment or 1 in every 7 jobs—to 743,000 jobs—14.2% of total employment or 1 in every 7.1 jobs by 2018. With the construction of projects like Cap Cana
Cap Cana
Cap Cana is a resort located in the Eastern Dominican Republic known as Juanillo. The site was founded as a new and more ambitious touristic site with contributions from international investors and partners such as Ritz-Carlton, Sotogrande, and Donald Trump. The site has beaches, golf courses, and...

, San Souci Port in Santo Domingo, and Moon Palace Resort in Punta Cana
Punta Cana
Punta Cana is part of the newly created Punta Cana-Bávaro-Veron-Macao municipal district in La Altagracia, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. The area is best known for its beaches and balnearios, which face both the Caribbean and Atlantic, and it has been a popular tourist...

, the Dominican Republic expects increased tourism activity in the upcoming year. Ecotourism
Ecotourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism...

 has been a topic increasingly important in the nation, with towns like Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa is a town and the second largest municipality in La Vega Province, Dominican Republic.- History :In 1805, during the Haitian invasion of the Cibao, survivors from the massacres of Santiago de los Caballeros and La Vega escaped to the mountains of the Cordillera Central and settled in the...

 and neighboring Constanza
Constanza, Dominican Republic
-History:The name of Constanza has its origin in the legend the daughter of a local taino cacique whom lived in the valley. In 1852, the British explorer and consul Sir Robert Hermann Schomburgk mentions the existence of a farm in the valley of Constanza. The town was formally founded in 1894...

, and locations like the Pico Duarte, Bahia de Las Aguilas and others becoming more significant in efforts to increase direct benefits from tourism.

Services and transportation


Communications



The Dominican Republic has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, with extensive mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 and landline
Landline
A landline was originally an overland telegraph wire, as opposed to an undersea cable. Currently, landline refers to a telephone line which travels through a solid medium, either metal wire or optical fibre, as distinguished from a mobile cellular line, where transmission is via radio waves...

 services. Cable Internet
Cable internet
In telecommunications, cable Internet access, often shortened to cable Internet or simply cable, is a form of broadband Internet access that uses the cable television infrastructure. Like digital subscriber line and fiber to the premises services, cable Internet access provides network edge...

 and DSL are available in most parts of the country, and many Internet service provider
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

s offer 3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 wireless internet service. The reported speeds are from 256 kbit/s / 128 kbit/s for residential services, up to 5 Mbit/s / 1 Mbit/s for residential service. For commercial service there are speeds from 256 kbit/s up to 154 Mbit/s. (Each set of numbers denotes downstream/upstream speed
Cable internet
In telecommunications, cable Internet access, often shortened to cable Internet or simply cable, is a form of broadband Internet access that uses the cable television infrastructure. Like digital subscriber line and fiber to the premises services, cable Internet access provides network edge...

; that is, to the user/from the user.) Projects to extend Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 hot spots have been made in Santo Domingo. The country's commercial radio stations and television stations are in the process of transferring to the digital spectrum, via HD Radio
HD Radio
HD Radio, which originally stood for "Hybrid Digital", is the trademark for iBiquity's in-band on-channel digital radio technology used by AM and FM radio stations to transmit audio and data via a digital signal in conjunction with their analog signals...

 and HDTV
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 after officially adopting ATSC
ATSC
ATSC standards are a set of standards developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable, and satellite networks....

 as the digital medium in the country with a switch-off of analog transmission by September 2015. The telecommunications regulator in the country is INDOTEL (Instituto Dominicano de Telecomunicaciones).

The largest telecommunications company is Claro Codetel—part of Carlos Slim Helú
Carlos Slim Helú
Carlos Slim Helú is a Mexican business magnate and philanthropist who as of 2011 is the richest person in the world, for the second year in a row...

's América Móvil
América Móvil
América Móvil is a Mexican telecommunication company headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. It is the fourth largest mobile network operator in terms of equity subscribers, one of the largest corporations in Latin America, and the world. America Movil is a Fortune 500 company...

—which provides wireless, landline, broadband, and IPTV
IPTV
Internet Protocol television is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.IPTV services...

 services. Indotel reports that as of June 5, 2009 there are more than 8 million phone line subscribers (land and cell users) in the D.R., representing 81% of the country's population and a fivefold increase since the year 2000, when there were 1.6 million. The communications sector generates about 3.0% of the GDP. Indotel reports 6,807,831 prepaid and just under a million (994,027) post-pay (under-contract) cell user accounts. For fixed phone lines (non-cell) it reports 678,901 dedicated lines in use for residential services. For business lines it reports 266,341. For public phones/services it reports 13,639. As of the second quarter of 2008, there are no more analog lines in the trunk services by local providers. Indotel reports 2,439,997 Internet users in the country for the end of March 2009.

In November 2009, the Dominican Republic became the first Latin American country to pledge to include a "gender perspective" in every information and communications technology (ICT) initiative and policy developed by the government. The Dominican Republic is leading Latin American governments’ thinking around gender and technology as part of the regional eLAC2010 plan. The tool the Dominicans have chosen to design and evaluate all the public policies is the APC Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM).

Electricity



Electric power service has been unreliable since the Trujillo era, and as much as 75% of the equipment is that old. The country's antiquated power grid causes transmission losses that account for a large share of billed electricity from generators. The privatization of the sector started under a previous administration of Leonel Fernández. The recent investment in a "Santo Domingo-Santiago Electrical Highway" to carry 345 kV power, with reduced losses in transmission, is being heralded as a major capital improvement to the national grid since the mid-1960s.

During the Trujillo regime, electrical service was introduced to many cities; still, almost 95% of usage was not billed at all. Around half of the Dominican Republic's 2.1 million houses have no meters and so most do not pay or just pay a fixed monthly rate for their electric service.

Household and general electrical service is delivered at 110 volt
Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

s alternating at 60 Hz
Hertz
The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

; electrically powered items from the United States work with no modifications. The majority of the country has access to electricity. Tourist areas tend to have more reliable power, as do business, travel, healthcare, and vital infrastructure. The situation improved somewhat after 2006. Concentrated efforts were announced to increase efficiency of delivery to places where the collection rate reached 70%. The electricity sector is highly politicized. Some generating companies are undercapitalized and at times unable to purchase adequate fuel supplies.

Transportation



The Dominican Republic has three national trunk highways, which connect every major town in the country. These are DR-1
DR-1
DR-1 is a dual carriageway highway that forms part of the five designated national highways of the Dominican Republic. DR-1 provides a fast connection between Santo Domingo, the capital, on the southern coast, and the second city Santiago and the rest of the northerly Cibao region, one of the...

, DR-2
DR-2
DR-2 is the second numbered national highway in the Dominican Republic. Its common name is Carretera Sánchez in honor of Francisco del Rosario Sánchez one of the founding fathers and in the city of Santo Domingo it is known as Autopista 30 de Mayo. The highway serves as the main connection to the...

, and DR-3
DR-3
DR-3 is one of three main dual carriageway highways of the Dominican Republic, connecting Santo Domingo to the eastern cities of the republic. The highway begins at the Plaza de La Bandera, on the western side of Santo Domingo, and travels eastward through downtown Santo Domingo and continues east...

, which depart from Santo Domingo towards the northern (Cibao), southwestern (Sur), and eastern (El Este) parts of the country respectively. These highways have been consistently improved with the expansion and reconstruction of many sections. Two other national highways serve as spur (DR-5
DR-5
DR-5 is of one of the main highways in the Dominican Republic. The highway begins at a T-interchange with DR-1 in Villa Visonó in the small town of Navarrete located about 20 kilometers northwest of Santiago de los Caballeros. Initially...

) or alternate routes (DR-4
DR-4
DR-4 is the fourth numbered highway of the Dominican Republic. It starts from Santo Domingo eastwards to San Pedro de Macoris and then to the north to Hato Mayor del Rey and again eastwards ending in the San Rafael del Yuma ....

). In addition to the national highways, the government has embarked on an expansive reconstruction of spur secondary routes, which connect smaller towns to the trunk routes. In the last few years the government constructed a 106-kilometer toll road that connects Santo Domingo with the country's northeastern peninsula. Travelers may now arrive in the Samaná Peninsula in less than two hours. Other additions are the reconstruction of the DR-28 (Jarabacoa - Constanza) and DR-12
DR-12
DR-12 , better known as la Carretera de Constanza, is a signed highway in the Dominican Republic, part of the national highway system. DR-12 connects the main highway of the Republic, DR-1, with the middle sized town of Constanza. Recently renovated, DR-12 is the only connection to the fertile...

 (Constanza - Bonao). Despite these efforts, many secondary routes still remain either unpaved or in need of maintenance.

The Dominican government has put effort towards providing efficient public transportation with the construction of the Santo Domingo Metro
Santo Domingo Metro
The Santo Domingo Metro is a rapid transit system in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The Santo Domingo Metro is part of a major "National Master Plan" to improve transportation in Santo Domingo as well as the rest of the nation. The first line was planned to relieve traffic...

, the first mass transit system in the country, and second in the Caribbean and Central American nations, after the Tren Urbano
Tren Urbano
The Tren Urbano — or Urban Train in English — is a fully automated rapid transit that serves the metropolitan area of San Juan, which includes the municipalities of San Juan, Bayamón and Guaynabo. It is electrified by third rail at 750 V DC...

 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan , officially Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista , is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of...

. On February 27, 2008 president Leonel Fernández tested the system for the first time and free service was offered thereafter several times. Commercial service started on January 30, 2009. Several additional lines are currently being planned and line two is currently in advanced stages of construction. The Santiago light rail
Santiago light rail
The Santiago Light Rail is a planned light rail system within the City of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic and the Cibao International Airport...

 system is in planning stages and currently on hold.

There are two main bus transportation services in the Dominican Republic: one controlled by the government, through the Oficina Técnica de Transito Terrestre (OTTT) and the Oficina Metropolitana de Servicios de Autobuses (OMSA); and the other controlled by private business, among them, Federación Nacional de Transporte La Nueva Opción (FENATRANO) and the Confederacion Nacional de Transporte (CONATRA). The government transportation system covers large routes in metropolitan areas, such as Santo Domingo and Santiago.

Military


Congress
Congress of the Dominican Republic
The Congress of the Dominican Republic is the bicameral legislature of the government of the Dominican Republic, consisting of two houses, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Both senators and deputies are chosen through direct election...

 authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000. However, approximately 50% of those are used for non-military activities such as security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, highway toll stations, prisons, forestry work, state enterprises, and private businesses. The Commander in Chief of the military is the President. The principal missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The army, larger than the other services combined with approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

s, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region near Puerto Plata. The navy operates two major naval bases, one in Santo Domingo and one in Las Calderas on the southwestern coast, and maintains 12 operational vessels. In the Caribbean, only Cuba has a larger military force.

The armed forces have organized a Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and a Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP) to meet international security needs in these areas. The Secretary of the Armed Forces has also announced plans to form a specialized border corps (CESEF). Additionally, the armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug Directorate (DNCD).

The Dominican National Police force contains 32,000 agents. The police are not part of the Dominican armed forces, but share some overlapping security functions. Sixty-three percent of the force serve in areas outside traditional police functions, similar to the situation of their military counterparts.

See also


  • Caribbean Sea
    Caribbean Sea
    The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

  • Greater Antilles
    Greater Antilles
    The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

  • Hispaniola
    Hispaniola
    Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

  • International rankings of the Dominican Republic
    International rankings of the Dominican Republic
    - International rankings :...

  • List of people from the Dominican Republic

External links



Government Presidency of the Dominican Republic
  • Chief of State and Cabinet Members CIA The World Factbook
    The World Factbook
    The World Factbook is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official paper copy version is available from the National Technical Information Service and the Government Printing Office...

  • World Bank Dominican Republic

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