Coordinates : 19°00′N 70°40′W / 19.000°N 70.667°W /
República Dominicana (Spanish )
Flag Coat of arms
MOTTO: "Dios, Patria, Libertad" (Spanish)
"God, Homeland, Freedom"
ANTHEM: Quisqueyanos Valientes
and largest city
19°00′N 70°40′W / 19.000°N 70.667°W / 19.000;
ETHNIC GROUPS (1960 A)
* 72.9% Mixed
* 16.1% White b
* 10.9% Black
* 0.1% Yellow
Unitary presidential republic
• VICE PRESIDENT
Margarita Cedeño de Fernández
• UPPER HOUSE
• LOWER HOUSE
Chamber of Deputies
• FROM SPAIN (EPHEMERAL )
December 1, 1821
• FROM HAITI (OFFICIAL )
February 27, 1844 (not recognized by
Haiti until November 9,
• FROM SPAIN (RESTORATION)
August 16, 1863 (recognized on March 3, 1865)
• FROM THE UNITED STATES (OCCUPATION)
July 12, 1924
48,442 km2 (18,704 sq mi) (128th )
• WATER (%)
• 2016 ESTIMATE
10,075,045 (88th )
• 2010 CENSUS
197/km2 (510.2/sq mi) (65th )
GDP (PPP )
$174.180 billion (72nd )
• PER CAPITA
$17,096 (76th )
$76.850 billion (67th )
• PER CAPITA
$7,543 (74th )
high · 99th
Peso (DOP )
Caribbean (UTC −4:00 )
DRIVES ON THE
+1-809, +1-829, +1-849
ISO 3166 CODE
* Race was dropped from the census after 1960.
Arabs as well.
* A covenant was signed between two commissions from both countries
on July 26, 1867, but it did not enter into force because it was not
approved by the Senate of Haiti.
Sources for area, capital, coat of arms, coordinates, flag,
language, motto and names:
For an alternate area figure of 48,730 km2, calling code 809 and
The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Spanish : República Dominicana ) is a
sovereign state occupying the eastern five-eighths of the island of
Hispaniola , in the
Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean
region. The western three-eighths of the island is occupied by the
Haiti , making
Hispaniola one of two
Saint Martin , that are shared by two countries. The
Republic is the second-largest
Caribbean nation by area
Cuba ) at 48,445 square kilometers (18,705 sq mi), and third by
population with approximately 10 million people, of which
approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo
Domingo, the capital city.
Christopher Columbus landed on the Western part of Hispaniola, in
what is now Haiti, on December 6, 1492. The island became the first
seat of Spanish colonial rule in the
New World . The Dominican people
declared independence in November 1821 but were forcefully annexed by
their more powerful neighbor
Haiti in February 1822. After the 1844
victory in the Dominican War of
Independence against Haitian rule the
country fell again under Spanish colonial rule until the Dominican War
of Restoration of 1865.
Republic experienced mostly internal strife (Second
Republic ) until 1916. A
United States occupation lasted eight years
between 1916 and 1924, and a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year
Horacio Vásquez Lajara was followed by the dictatorship
of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina until 1961. A civil war in 1965,
the country's most recent, was ended by another U.S. military
occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín
Balaguer from 1966 to 1978. Since then, the Dominican
moved toward representative democracy and has been led by Leonel
Fernández for most of the time since 1996.
Danilo Medina , the
Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012,
winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent, ex-president
Hipólito Mejía .
Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America
and is the largest economy in the
Caribbean and Central American
region. Though long known for agriculture and mining, the economy is
now dominated by services. Over the last two decades, the Dominican
Republic have been standing out as one of the fastest-growing
economies in the
Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of
5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3
and 7.0%, respectively, the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the
first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its
trend of rapid economic growth .
Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing and
tourism. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low
inflation (under 1% on average in 2015), job creation, as well as high
level of remittances . The Dominican
Republic has a stock market,
Bolsa de Valores de la Republica Dominicana (BVRD) . and advanced
telecommunication system and transportation infrastructure.
Nevertheless, unemployment, government corruption, and inconsistent
electric service remain major problems. The country also has "marked
income inequality." International migration affects the Dominican
Republic greatly, as it receives and sends large flows of migrants.
Mass illegal Haitian immigration and the integration of Dominicans of
Haitian descent are major issues. A large Dominican diaspora exists,
mostly in the
United States , contributes to development, sending
billions of dollars to Dominican families in remittances.
Republic is the most visited destination in the
Caribbean. The year-round golf courses are major attractions. A
geographically diverse nation, the Dominican
Republic is home to both
the Caribbean's tallest mountain peak,
Pico Duarte , and the
Caribbean's largest lake and point of lowest elevation, Lake
Enriquillo . The island has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8
°F) and great climatic and biological diversity. The country is also
the site of the first cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress built
in the Americas, located in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone , a World
Heritage Site . Music and sport are of great importance in the
Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and
music, and baseball as the favorite sport.
* 1 Names and etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Pre-European history
* 2.2 European colonization
* 2.3 French rule (1795–1809)
* 2.4 Reversion to
Unification of Hispaniola (1822–44)
* 2.8 Restoration republic
* 2.9 20th century (1900–30)
* 2.10 Trujillo Age (1930–61)
* 2.11 Post-Trujillo (1961–2000)
* 2.12 21st century
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 4 Government and politics
* 4.1 Political culture
* 4.2 Foreign relations
* 4.3 Military
* 4.4 Administrative divisions
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Currency
* 5.2 Tourism
* 6 Infrastructure
* 6.1 Transportation
* 6.2 Bus service
Santo Domingo Metro
* 6.4 Communications
* 6.5 Electricity
Water supply and sanitation
* 7 Society
* 7.1 Demographics
* 7.3 Languages
* 7.4 Population centres
* 7.5 Religion
* 7.6 20th century immigration
* 7.6.1 Haitian immigration
* 7.7 Emigration
* 7.8 Health
* 7.9 Education
* 7.10 Crime
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Architecture
* 8.2 Cuisine
* 8.3 Music and dance
* 8.4 Fashion
* 8.5 National symbols
* 8.6 Sports
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes and references
* 10.1 Bibliography
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
NAMES AND ETYMOLOGY
For most of its history, up until independence, the country was known
as SANTO DOMINGO — the name of its present capital and patron
Saint Dominic —and continued to be commonly known as such in
English until the early 20th century. The residents were called
Dominicanos (Dominicans), which is the adjective form of "Domingo",
and the revolutionaries named their newly independent country La
In the national anthem of the Dominican
Republic (Himno Nacional )
the term "Dominican" does not appear. The author of its lyrics, Emilio
Prud\'Homme , consistently uses the poetic term Quisqueyanos , that
is, "Quisqueyans". The word "Quisqueya" derives from a native tongue
of the Taino Indians and means "Mother of all Lands". It is often used
in songs as another name for the country. The name of the country is
often shortened to "the D.R."
Main article: History of the Dominican
Main article: Chiefdoms of
Hispaniola The five caciquedoms of
Hispaniola. The Pomier Caves are a series of 55 caves located
north of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic. They contain the
largest collection of 2,000-year-old rock art in the Caribbean.
Taíno moved into
Hispaniola from the north
east region of what is now known as South America, displacing earlier
inhabitants, c. AD 650. They engaged in farming and fishing and
hunting and gathering. The fierce Caribs drove the
Taíno to the
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 name for the entire island was either Ayiti or Quisqueya.
Spaniards arrived in 1492. After initially friendly
relationships, the Taínos resisted the conquest, led by the female
Anacaona of Xaragua and her ex-husband Chief Caonabo of Maguana,
as well as Chiefs
Hatuey , and
The latter's successes gained his people an autonomous enclave for a
time on the island. Within a few years after 1492 the population of
Taínos had declined drastically, due to smallpox , measles, and
other diseases that arrived with the Europeans, and from other causes
The first recorded smallpox outbreak in the
Americas occurred on
Hispaniola in 1507. 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
Santo Domingo were married to Taino women,
and some 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 .
Christopher Columbus arrived on
Hispaniola on December 5, 1492,
during the first of his four voyages to America. He claimed the land
Spain and named it La Española, because the diverse climate and
terrain reminded him of the country . In 1496
Bartholomew Columbus ,
Christopher's brother, built the city of Santo Domingo, Western
Europe's first permanent settlement in the "
New World ." 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.
The Taínos nearly disappeared, above all, from European infectious
diseases to which they had no immunity. Other causes were abuse,
suicide, the breakup of family, starvation, the encomienda system,
which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe, war with the
Spaniards, changes in lifestyle, and mixing with other peoples. Laws
passed for the Indians' protection (beginning with the Laws of Burgos,
1512–1513 ) were never truly enforced.
Some scholars believe that las Casas exaggerated the Indian
population decline in an effort to persuade King Carlos to intervene
and that encomenderos 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 ), producing Zambos .
Also, Mestizos who were culturally Spanish were counted as Spaniards,
some Zambos as black, and some Indians as Mulattoes . The
Alcázar of Colón , located in Santo Domingo, is the oldest Viceregal
residence in all of the Americas.
After its conquest of the Aztecs and Incas ,
Spain neglected its
Caribbean holdings. English and French buccaneers settled in
Hispaniola coast and, after years of struggles with the
Spain ceded the western coast of the island to
France with the
Treaty of Ryswick , whilst the Central Plateau remained under
France created a wealthy colony Saint-Domingue there,
while the Spanish colony suffered an economic decline.
The colony of
Santo Domingo saw a spectacular population increase
during the 17th century, as it rose from some 6,000 in 1637 to about
91,272 in 1750. Of this number approximately 38,272 were white
landowners, 38,000 were free mixed people of color, and some 15,000
were slaves. This contrasted sharply with the population of the French
colony of Saint-Domingue (present day Haiti) – which had a
population that was 90% enslaved and overall seven times as numerous
as the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo.
FRENCH RULE (1795–1809)
France came to own
Hispaniola in 1795 when by the Peace of Basel
Santo Domingo as a consequence of the French Revolutionary
Wars . The recently freed Africans led by
Toussaint Louverture in
1801, took over
Santo Domingo in the east, thus gaining control of the
entire island. In 1802 an army sent by Napoleon captured Toussaint
Louverture and sent him to
France as prisoner. Toussaint
Louverture’s lieutenants and the spread of yellow fever succeeded in
driving the French again from Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 the rebels
made independent as the
Republic of Haiti. Eastwards,
to rule Spanish Santo Domingo.
In 1805, Haitian troops of general
Henri Christophe invaded Santo
Domingo and sacked the towns of
Santiago de los Caballeros and Moca ,
killing most of their residents and helping to lay the foundation for
two centuries of animosity between the two countries.
In 1808, following Napoleon\'s invasion of
Spain , the criollos of
Santo Domingo revolted against French rule and, with the aid of the
United Kingdom (Spain's ally) returned
Santo Domingo to Spanish
REVERSION TO SPAIN (1809–1821)
España Boba .
INDEPENDENCE FROM SPAIN (1821)
Republic of Spanish
After a dozen years of discontent and failed independence plots by
various opposing groups, Santo Domingo's former Lieutenant-Governor
José Núñez de Cáceres , declared the colony's
independence from the Spanish crown as Spanish
Haiti , on November 30,
1821. This period is also known as the Ephemeral independence.
UNIFICATION OF HISPANIOLA (1822–44)
Unification of Hispaniola
Jean-Pierre Boyer the
mulatto ruler of Haiti.
The newly independent republic ended two months later under the
Haitian government led by
Jean-Pierre Boyer .
Toussaint Louverture had done two decades earlier, the Haitians
abolished slavery. In order to raise funds for the huge indemnity of
150 million francs that
Haiti agreed to pay the former French
colonists, and which was subsequently lowered to 60 million francs,
the Haitian government imposed heavy taxes on the Dominicans. Since
Haiti was unable to adequately provision its army, the occupying
forces largely survived by commandeering or confiscating food and
supplies at gunpoint. Attempts to redistribute land conflicted with
the system of communal land tenure (terrenos comuneros), which had
arisen with the ranching economy, and some people resented being
forced to grow cash crops under Boyer and
Joseph Balthazar Inginac 's
Code Rural. In the rural and rugged mountainous areas, the Haitian
administration was usually too inefficient to enforce its own laws. It
was in the city of
Santo Domingo that the effects of the occupation
were most acutely felt, and it was there that the movement for
Haiti's constitution forbade white elites from owning land, and
Dominican major landowning families were forcibly deprived of their
properties. Many emigrated to
Puerto Rico (these two being
Spanish possessions at the time), or
Gran Colombia , usually with the
encouragement of Haitian officials who acquired their lands. The
Haitians associated the
Roman Catholic Church with the French
slave-masters who had exploited them before independence and
confiscated all church property, deported all foreign clergy, and
severed the ties of the remaining clergy to the Vatican .
All levels of education collapsed; the university was shut down, as
it was starved both of resources and students, with young Dominican
men from 16 to 25 years old being 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. :page number needed
Many whites fled
Santo Domingo for
Puerto Rico and
Cuba (both still
under Spanish rule),
Venezuela , 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.
:page number needed
INDEPENDENCE FROM HAITI (1844)
See also: Dominican War of
Juan Pablo Duarte ,
founding father of the Dominican Republic. Francisco del
Rosario Sánchez .
Juan Pablo Duarte founded a secret society called La
Trinitaria , which sought the complete independence of Santo Domingo
without any foreign intervention. :p147–149
Matías Ramón Mella and
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez , 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 , a wealthy cattle rancher from
El Seibo , who became general
of the army of the nascent republic. The Dominican Republic's first
Constitution was adopted on November 6, 1844, and was modeled after
United States Constitution .
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. :page number needed
Haiti did not recognize the Dominican
Republic until 1874.
Meanwhile, archrivals Santana and
Buenaventura Báez 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.
Dominican Restoration War General
Gregorio Luperón ,
Restoration hero and later President of the 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. Opponents launched the War of Restoration in 1863, led by
Santiago Rodríguez , Benito Monción, and
Gregorio Luperón , 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 , 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 , 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 . The treaty,
which included U.S. payment of $1.5 million for Dominican debt
repayment, was defeated in the
United States Senate in 1870 on a vote
of 28–28, two-thirds being required. Ulises \'Lilís\'
Heureaux , President of the
Republic 1882–84, 1886–99
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
Ulises Heureaux .
"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, :p10 and
the country attracted foreign workers and immigrants.
20TH CENTURY (1900–30)
Alejandro Woss y Gil
Alejandro Woss y Gil taking office in 1903.
From 1902 on, short-lived governments were again the norm, with their
power usurped by caudillos 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
United States President
Theodore Roosevelt sought to prevent European
intervention, largely to protect the routes to the future
, as the canal was already under construction. He made a small
military intervention to ward off European powers, to proclaim his
Roosevelt Corollary to the
Monroe Doctrine , and also to obtain
his 1905 Dominican agreement for U.S. administration of Dominican
customs, which was the chief source of income for the Dominican
government. A 1906 agreement provided for the arrangement to last 50
United States agreed to use part of the customs proceeds to
reduce the immense foreign debt of the Dominican
Republic and assumed
responsibility for the Dominican debt.
Ramón Cáceres .
After six years in power, President
Ramón Cáceres (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 and Woodrow Wilson
administrations achieved only a short respite each time. A political
deadlock in 1914 was broken after an ultimatum by Wilson telling the
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.
In response, Wilson ordered the U.S. occupation of the Dominican
Republic. U.S. Marines landed on May 16, 1916, and had control of the
country two months later. The military government established by the
U.S., led by Vice Admiral
Harry Shepard Knapp , was widely repudiated
by the Dominicans, with many factions within the country leading
guerrilla campaigns against U.S. forces. The occupation regime kept
most Dominican laws and institutions and largely pacified the general
population. The occupying government also revived the Dominican
economy, reduced the nation's 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.
Vigorous opposition to the occupation continued, nevertheless, and
after World War I it increased in the U.S. as well. There, President
Warren G. Harding (1921–23), Wilson's successor, worked to put an
end to the occupation, as he had promised to do during his campaign.
The U.S. government's rule ended in October 1922, and elections were
held in March 1924.
Horacio Vásquez Lajara
The victor was former president (1902–03)
Horacio Vásquez Lajara ,
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 stable governance, in which political and civil rights were
respected and the economy grew strongly, in a relatively peaceful
During the government of Horacio Vásquez,
Rafael Trujillo held the
rank of lieutenant colonel and was chief of police. This position
helped him launch his plans to overthrow the government of Vásquez.
Trujillo had the support of Carlos Rosario Peña, who formed the Civic
Movement, which had as its main objective to overthrow the government
In February 1930, when Vásquez attempted to win another term, his
opponents rebelled in secret alliance with the commander of the
National Army (the former National Guard), General Rafael Leonidas
Trujillo Molina. Trujillo secretly cut a deal with rebel leader Rafael
Estrella Ureña ; in return for letting Ureña take power, Trujillo
would be allowed to run for president in new elections. As the rebels
marched toward Santo Domingo, Vásquez ordered Trujillo to suppress
them. However, feigning "neutrality," Trujillo kept his men in
barracks, allowing Ureña's rebels to take the capital virtually
uncontested. On March 3, Ureña was proclaimed acting president with
Trujillo confirmed as head of the police and the army.
As per their agreement, Trujillo became the presidential nominee of
the newly formed Patriotic Coalition of Citizens (Spanish: Coalición
patriotica de los ciudadanos), with Ureña as his running mate. During
the election campaign, Trujillo used the army to unleash a campaign of
political repression that forced his opponents to withdraw from the
race. In May Trujillo was elected president virtually unopposed after
a violent campaign against his opponents, ascending to power in August
TRUJILLO AGE (1930–61)
There was considerable economic growth during
Rafael 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
1935 and achieved the end of the 50-year customs agreement in 1941,
instead of 1956. He made the country debt-free in 1947.
This was accompanied by absolute repression and the copious use of
murder, torture, and terrorist methods against the opposition.
Santo Domingo to "Ciudad Trujillo" (Trujillo City),
the nation's – and the Caribbean's – highest mountain La Pelona
Grande (Spanish for: The Great Bald) to "Pico Trujillo" (Spanish for:
Trujillo Peak), 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, :p360 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. :p111
Although one-quarter Haitian, Trujillo promoted propaganda against
them. In 1937, he ordered what became known as the
or, in the Dominican Republic, as El Corte (The Cutting), directing
the army to kill
Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border.
The army killed an estimated 12,000
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 machetes rather
than bullets. The soldiers were said to have interrogated anyone
with dark skin, using the shibboleth perejil (parsley ) to distinguish
Haitians from Afro-Dominicans when necessary; the 'r' of perejil was
of difficult pronunciation for Haitians. As a result of the massacre,
Republic agreed to pay
Haiti US$750,000, later reduced
On November 25, 1960, Trujillo killed three of the four Mirabal
sisters , 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). Along with their husbands, the sisters
were conspiring to overthrow Trujillo in a violent revolt. The
Mirabals had communist ideological leanings as did their husbands. 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 is observed on the anniversary of their deaths.
For a long time, the U.S. 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 U.S. 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
Rómulo Betancourt , a fierce critic of Trujillo.
Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961. In February 1963, a
democratically elected government under leftist
Juan Bosch took office
but it 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
might take over the revolt and create a "second Cuba," sent the
Marines, followed immediately by the U.S. 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
All these remained in the country for over a year and left after
supervising elections in 1966 won by
Joaquín Balaguer . He 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 and civil liberties, ostensibly
to keep pro-Castro or pro-communist parties out of power; 11,000
persons were killed. His rule was criticized for a growing disparity
between rich and poor. It was, however, praised for an ambitious
infrastructure program, which included construction of large housing
projects, sports complexes, theaters, museums, aqueducts, roads,
highways, and the massive
Columbus Lighthouse , completed in 1992
during a later tenure.
In 1978, Balaguer was succeeded in the presidency by opposition
Antonio Guzmán Fernández , of the Dominican Revolutionary
Party (PRD). Another PRD win in 1982 followed, under Salvador Jorge
Blanco . Under the PRD presidents, the Dominican
Republic enjoyed 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 , 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.
Leonel Fernández achieved the first-ever win for the
Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), which Bosch had founded in 1973
after leaving the PRD (which he also had founded). Fernández oversaw
a fast-growing economy: growth averaged 7.7% per year, unemployment
fell, and there were stable exchange and inflation rates.
Danilo Medina in the swearing-in of new government
In 2000 the PRD's
Hipólito Mejía won the election. This was a time
of economic troubles. Mejía was defeated in his re-election effort
in 2004 by
Leonel Fernández of the PLD. In 2008, Fernández was
elected for a third term. Fernández and the PLD are credited with
initiatives that have moved the country forward technologically, such
as the construction of the Metro Railway ("El Metro"). On the other
hand, his administrations have been accused of corruption.
Danilo Medina , of the PLD, was elected president in 2012 and
re-elected in 2016. He campaigned on a platform of investing more in
social programs and education and less in infrastructure.
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Main article: Geography of the Dominican
Republic A map of the
Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic's topography.
Republic is situated on the eastern part of the second
largest island in the
Greater Antilles ,
Hispaniola . It shares the
island roughly at a 2:1 ratio with
Haiti . The country's area is
reported variously as 48,442 km2 (18,704 sq mi) (by the embassy in the
United States) and 48,730 km2 (18,815 sq mi), making it the second
largest country in the
Antilles , after
Cuba . The Dominican
Republic's capital and largest metropolitan area
Santo Domingo is on
the southern coast.
There are many small offshore islands and cays that are part of the
Dominican territory. The two largest islands near shore are Saona , in
the southeast, and Beata, in the southwest. To the north, at distances
of 100–200 kilometres (62–124 mi), are three extensive, largely
submerged banks , which geographically are a southeast continuation of
the Bahamas :
Navidad Bank ,
Silver Bank , and
Mouchoir Bank . Navidad
Silver Bank have been officially claimed by the Dominican
Republic 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 ,
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 ("Central Mountain Range"). It gradually bends
southwards and finishes near the town of Azua , on the Caribbean
coast. Constanza valley.
In the Cordillera Central are the four highest peaks in the
Pico Duarte (3,098 metres or 10,164 feet above sea level),
La Pelona (3,094 metres or 10,151 feet), La Rucilla (3,049 metres or
10,003 feet), and Pico Yaque (2,760 metres or 9,055 feet). 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
Cibao valley. This major valley is home to the cities of
Santiago and La Vega and most of the farming areas in the nation.
Rather less productive are the semi-arid San Juan Valley, south of the
Central Cordillera, and the Neiba Valley, tucked between the Sierra de
Neiba and the Sierra de Bahoruco. Much of the land in the Enriquillo
Basin is below sea level, with a hot, arid, desert-like environment.
There are other smaller valleys in the mountains, such as the
Villa Altagracia , and
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, it contains many sugar plantations in the
savannahs 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 arid region in
Azua Province . A few other
small coastal plains are in the northern coast and in the Pedernales
Four major rivers drain the numerous mountains of the Dominican
Republic. The Yaque del Norte is the longest and most important
Dominican river. It carries excess water down from the
and empties into Monte Cristi Bay, in the northwest. Likewise, the
Yuna River 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 of the
Yaque del Sur , which empties into the
Caribbean, in the south. The Artibonito is the longest river of
Hispaniola and flows westward into Haiti.
There are many lakes and coastal lagoons. The largest lake is
Enriquillo , a salt lake at 45 metres (148 ft) below sea level, the
lowest point in the Caribbean. Other important lakes are Laguna de
Rincón or Cabral, with fresh water , and Laguna de Oviedo, a lagoon
with brackish water .
Republic is located near fault action in the Caribbean. In
1946 it suffered a magnitude 8.1 earthquake off the northeast coast.
This triggered a tsunami that killed about 1,800, mostly in coastal
communities. The wave was also recorded at Daytona Beach, Florida, and
Atlantic City, New Jersey. The area remains at risk. Caribbean
countries and the
United States have collaborated to create tsunami
warning systems and are mapping risk in low-lying areas.
Main article: Climate of the Dominican
Republic Köppen climate
types of the Dominican
Republic has a tropical rainforest climate in the
coastal and lowland areas. Due to its diverse topography, Dominican
Republic's climate shows considerable variation over short distances
and is the most varied of all the Antilles. The annual average
temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). At higher elevations the temperature
averages 18 °C (64.4 °F) while near sea level 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. Snowfall
can be seen in rare occasions on the summit of
Pico Duarte .
The wet season 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 1,500
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 2,740 millimetres (107.9 in).
The driest part of the country lies in the west.
Tropical cyclones strike the Dominican
Republic every couple of
years, with 65% of the impacts along the southern coast. Hurricanes
are most likely between August and October. The last major hurricane
that struck the country was
Hurricane Georges in 1998.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
The National Palace in
Santo Domingo . Main article: Politics
of the Dominican
Republic is a representative democracy or democratic
republic , with three branches of power: executive, legislative ,
and judicial . The president of the Dominican
Republic heads the
executive branch and executes laws passed by the congress , appoints
the cabinet, and is commander in chief of the armed forces . 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 , which has 32 members, and the
Chamber of Deputies , 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."
Republic has a multi-party political system . Elections
are held every two years, alternating between the presidential
elections , 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 nine
members supervises elections, and its decisions are unappealable.
Starting from 2016, elections will be held jointly, after a
The three major parties are the conservative Social Christian
Reformist Party (Spanish : Partido Reformista Social Cristiano
(PRSC)), in power 1966–78 and 1986–96; the social democratic
Dominican Revolutionary Party (Spanish : Partido Revolucionario
Dominicano (PRD)), in power in 1963, 1978–86, and 2000–04; and the
centrist liberal and reformist
Dominican Liberation Party (Spanish :
Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD)), in power 1996–2000 and
The presidential elections of 2008 were held on May 16, 2008, with
Leonel Fernández winning 53% of the vote. He defeated
Miguel Vargas Maldonado , of the PRD, who achieved a 40.48% share of
Amable Aristy , of the PRSC, achieved 4.59% of the vote.
Other minority candidates, which included former Attorney General
Guillermo Moreno from the Movement for Independence, Unity and Change
(Spanish : Movimiento Independencia, Unidad y Cambio (MIUCA)), and
PRSC former presidential candidate and defector
Eduardo Estrella ,
obtained less than 1% of the vote.
In the 2012 presidential elections the incumbent president Leonel
Fernández (PLD) declined his aspirations and instead the PLD elected
Danilo Medina as its candidate. This time the PRD presented
ex-president Hipolito Mejia as its choice. The contest was won by
Medina with 51.21% of the vote, against 46.95% in favor of Mejia.
Guillermo Moreno obtained 1.37% of the votes.
In 2014 the
Modern Revolutionary Party (Spanish : Partido
revolucionario Moderno) was created by a faction of leaders from the
PRD and has since become the predominant opposition party, polling in
second place for the upcoming May 2016 general elections.
Further information: Foreign relations of the Dominican
Republic has a close relationship with the United
States and with the other states of the Inter-American system. The
Republic has very strong ties and relations with Puerto
The Dominican Republic's relationship with neighbouring
strained over mass Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic, with
citizens of the Dominican
Republic blaming the
Haitians for increased
crime and other social problems. The Dominican
Republic is a regular
member of the
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie .
Republic has a Free Trade Agreement with the United
States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement . And an
Economic Partnership Agreement with the
European Union and the
Caribbean Community via the
Dominican soldiers training in Santo Domingo. Main article:
Military of the Dominican
Congress authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty
personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000.
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
The army is larger than the other services combined with
approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consisting of six infantry
brigades , a combat support brigade, and a combat service support
brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern
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. The Dominican
Republic has the second largest
military in the
Caribbean region after Cuba.
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). The armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the
National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug
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.
Main articles: Provinces of the Dominican
Republic and Municipalities
of the Dominican
Republic is divided into 31 provinces . Santo Domingo,
the capital, is designated
Distrito Nacional (National District). The
provinces are divided into municipalities (municipios ; singular
municipio). They are the second-level political and administrative
subdivisions of the country. 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.
Main article: Economy of the Dominican
Republic A proportional
representation of the Dominican Republic's exports.
Republic is the largest economy (according to the U.S.
State Department and the World Bank) in the
Caribbean and Central
American region. It is an upper middle-income developing country ,
with a 2015 GDP per capita of $14,770, in PPP terms. Over the last two
decades, the Dominican
Republic have been standing out as one of the
fastest-growing economies in the
Americas – with an average real GDP
growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and
2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0%, respectively, the highest in the Western
Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew
7.4%. As of 2015 , the average wage in nominal terms is 392 USD per
month ($17,829 DOP).
During the last three decades, the Dominican economy, formerly
dependent on the export of agricultural commodities (mainly sugar,
cocoa and coffee), has transitioned to a diversified mix of services,
manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and trade. The service sector
accounts for almost 60% of GDP; manufacturing, for 22%; tourism,
telecommunications and finance are the main components of the service
sector; however, none of them accounts for more than 10% of the whole.
Remittances in Dominican
Republic increased to 4571.30 million USD in
2014 from 3333 million USD in 2013 (according to data reported by the
Inter-American Development Bank).
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 ,
tourism earnings and remittances have helped build foreign exchange
reserves . The Dominican
Republic is current on foreign private debt .
Following economic turmoil in the late 1980s and 1990, during which
the gross domestic product (GDP) fell by up to 5% and consumer price
inflation reached an unprecedented 100%, the Dominican Republic
entered a period of growth and declining inflation until 2002, after
which the economy entered a recession .
This recession followed the collapse of the second-largest commercial
bank in the country, Baninter , linked to a major incident of fraud
valued at $3.5 billion. The Baninter fraud had a devastating effect on
the Dominican economy, with GDP dropping by 1% in 2003 as inflation
ballooned by over 27%. All defendants, including the star of the
Ramón Báez Figueroa (the great-grandson of President
Buenaventura Báez ), were convicted.
According to the 2005 Annual Report of the United Nations
Subcommittee on Human Development in the Dominican Republic, the
country is ranked No. 71 in the world for resource availability, No.
79 for human development, and No. 14 in the world for resource
mismanagement. These statistics emphasize national government
corruption, foreign economic interference in the country, and the rift
between the rich and poor.
Republic has a noted problem of child labor in its
coffee, rice, sugarcane, and tomato industries. The labor injustices
in the sugarcane industry extend to forced labor according to the U.S.
Department of Labor . Three large groups own 75% of the land: the
State Sugar Council (Consejo Estatal del Azúcar, CEA), Grupo
and Central Romana Corporation. A panoramic view of the
Dominican peso (DOP, or RD$) is the national currency, with the
United States dollar (USD), the Canadian dollar (CAD), the Swiss franc
(CHF), and euros (EUR) also accepted at most tourist sites. The
exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, liberalized by 1985, stood at 2.70
pesos per dollar in August 1986, :p417, 428 14.00 pesos in 1993, and
16.00 pesos in 2000. Having jumped to 53.00 pesos per dollar in 2003,
the rate was back down to around 31.00 pesos per dollar in 2004. As of
November 2010 the rate was 37.00 pesos per dollar. In February 2015
the rate was 44.67 pesos per dollar. As of February 2017 the rate was
46.72 pesos per dollar.
Main article: Tourism in the Dominican
Tourism is one of the fueling factors in the Dominican Republic's
economic growth. The Dominican
Republic is the most popular tourist
destination in the
Caribbean . With the construction of projects like
Cap Cana , San Souci Port in Santo Domingo, Casa De Campo and the Hard
Rock Hotel "> El Malecon av. in
Santo Domingo .
Republic has Latin America's third best transportation
infrastructure. The country has three national trunk highways, which
connect every major town. These are
DR-2 , and
DR-3 , which
Santo Domingo toward 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
DR-5 ) or alternate routes (
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 (
DR-12 (Constanza – Bonao). Despite these efforts,
many secondary routes still remain either unpaved or in need of
maintenance. There is currently a nationwide program to pave these and
other commonly used routes. Also, the
Santiago light rail system is in
planning stages but 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.
There are many privately owned bus companies, such as Metro Servicios
Turísticos and Caribe Tours, that run daily routes.
SANTO DOMINGO METRO
A pair of 9000 series are tested on the
Santo Domingo Metro.
Santo Domingo Metro
Republic has a rapid transit system in
Santo Domingo ,
the country's capital. It is the most extensive metro system in the
Caribbean and Central American region by length and number of
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
congestion in the Máximo Gómez and Hermanas Mirabal Avenue . The
second line, which opened in April 2013, is meant to relieve the
congestion along the Duarte-Kennedy-Centenario Corridor in the city
from west to east. The current length of the Metro, with the sections
of the two lines open as of August 2013, is 27.35 kilometres (16.99
mi). Before the opening of the second line, 30,856,515 passengers rode
Santo Domingo Metro in 2012. With both lines opened, ridership
increased to 61,270,054 passengers in 2014.
Main article: Telecommunications in the Dominican
Republic has a well developed telecommunications
infrastructure, with extensive mobile phone and landline services.
Cable Internet and DSL are available in most parts of the country, and
many Internet service providers offer 3G wireless internet service.
Republic became the second country in Latin America to
have 4G LTE wireless service. The reported speeds are from 256 kbit/s
or 128 kbit/s for residential services, up to 5 Mbit/s or 1 Mbit/s for
For commercial service there are speeds from 256 kbit/s up to 154
Mbit/s. (Each set of numbers denotes downstream/upstream speed ; that
is, to the user/from the user.) Projects to extend
Wi-Fi 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 and HDTV after officially adopting
ATSC 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 – part of Carlos
América Móvil – which provides wireless, landline,
IPTV services. In June 2009 there were 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. There were 2,439,997 Internet
users in 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. This is 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) .
Main article: Electricity sector in the Dominican
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 kW 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. Almost 95% of usage was not billed at all. Around half of the
Dominican Republic's 2.1 million houses have no meters and most do not
pay or pay a fixed monthly rate for their electric service.
Household and general electrical service is delivered at 110 volts
alternating at 60 Hz . Electrically powered items from the United
States work with no modifications. The majority of the Dominican
Republic has access to electricity. Tourist areas tend to have more
reliable power, as do business, travel, healthcare, and vital
infrastructure. 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.
WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION
Water supply and sanitation in the Dominican
Republic has achieved impressive increases in access to
water supply and sanitation over the past two decades. However, the
quality of water supply and sanitation services remains poor, despite
the country's high economic growth during the 1990s. Although the
coverage of improved water sources and improved sanitation is with 86%
respectively 83% relatively high, there are substantial regional
differences. Poor households exhibit lower levels of access: only 56%
of poor households are connected to water house connections as opposed
to 80% of non-poor households. Just 20% of poor households have access
to sewers, as opposed to 50% for the non-poor.
Main article: Demographics of the Dominican
Dominican Republic's population (1961–2003).
The Dominican Republic's population was 9,760,000 in 2007. In 2010
31.2% of the population was under 15 years of age, with 6% of the
population over 65 years of age. There were 103 males for every 100
females in 2007. The annual population growth rate for 2006–2007
was 1.5%, with the projected population for the year 2015 being
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
2,907,100 in 2010.
Other important cities are:
Santiago de los Caballeros (pop.
745,293), La Romana (pop. 214,109),
San Pedro de Macorís (pop.
185,255), Higüey (153,174),
San Francisco de Macorís (pop. 132,725),
Puerto Plata (pop. 118,282), and La Vega (pop. 104,536). Per the
United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was
People of the Dominican Republic Dominican
Republic people in the town of Moca .
The Dominican Republic's population is 73% of racially mixed origin,
16% White , and 11% Black. Ethnic immigrant groups in the country
include West Asians —mostly Lebanese , Syrians , and Palestinians .
Numerous immigrants have come from other
Caribbean countries, as the
country has offered economic opportunities. There are about 32,000
Jamaicans living in the Dominican Republic. There is an increasing
number of Puerto Rican immigrants, especially in and around Santo
Domingo ; they are believed to number around 10,000. There are over
700,000 people of Haitian descent, including a generation born in the
East Asians, primarily ethnic Chinese and Japanese, can also be
found. Europeans are represented mostly by Spanish whites but also
with smaller populations of German Jews , Italians , Portuguese ,
British , Dutch ,
Danes , and Hungarians . Some converted Sephardic
Spain were part of early expeditions; only Catholics were
allowed to come to the New World. Later there were Jewish migrants
coming from Iberia and
Europe in the 1700s. Some managed to reach the
Caribbean as refugees during and after the
Second World War . Some
Sephardic Jews reside in
Sosúa while others are dispersed throughout
the country. Self-identified Jews number about 3,000; other Dominicans
may have some Jewish ancestry because of marriages among converted
Jewish Catholics and other Dominicans since the colonial years. Some
Dominicans born in the
United States now reside in the Dominican
Republic, creating a kind of expatriate community.
Dominican Spanish and
The population of the Dominican
Republic is mostly Spanish -speaking.
The local variant of Spanish is called
Dominican Spanish , which
closely resembles other Spanish vernaculars in the
Caribbean and the
Canarian Spanish . In addition, it borrowed words from indigenous
Caribbean languages particular to the island of Hispaniola. Schools
are based on a Spanish educational model; English and French are
mandatory foreign languages in both private and public schools,
although the quality of foreign languages teaching is poor. Some
private educational institutes provide teaching on other languages,
notably Italian, Japanese, and Mandarin.
Haitian Creole is the largest minority language in the Dominican
Republic and is spoken by Haitian immigrants and their descendants.
There is a community of a few thousand people whose ancestors spoke
Samaná English in the
Samaná Peninsula . They are the descendants of
formerly enslaved African Americans who arrived in the nineteenth
century, but only a few elders speak the language today. Tourism,
American pop culture, the influence of Dominican Americans , and the
country's economic ties with the
United States motivate other
Dominicans to learn English. The Dominican
Republic is ranked 2nd in
Latin America and 23rd in the World on English proficiency .
Mother tongue of the Dominican population, 1950 Census
Further information: List of cities in the Dominican
Largest cities in the Dominican Republic
Source: Oficina Nacional de Estadística
San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís
San Francisco de Macorís
Main article: Religion in the Dominican
Republic The Cathedral
of Santa María la Menor , Santo Domingo, the first cathedral in the
Americas, built 1512–1540.
2.6% No religion
2.2% Other religions
As of 2014, 57% of the population (5.7 million) identified themselves
Roman Catholics and 23% (2.3 million) as
Protestants (in Latin
Protestants are usually called Evangelicos due to
them being overwhelmingly
Evangelical Protestant or
Recent immigration as well as proselytizing has brought other
religions, with the following shares of the population:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints : 1.1%,
Buddhist : 0.1%, Bahá\'í : 0.1%,
Chinese Folk Religion : 0.1%,
Islam: 0.02%, Judaism: 0.01%. The Dominican
Republic 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, priests, and support
programs. During the same time,
Evangelicalism began to gain support.
Republic has historically granted extensive religious
freedom. In the 1950s restrictions were placed upon churches by the
government of Trujillo. Letters of protest were sent against the mass
arrests of government adversaries. Trujillo began a campaign against
the Catholic Church and planned to arrest priests and bishops who
preached against the government. This campaign ended before it was put
into place, with his assassination.
During World War II a group of Jews escaping
Nazi Germany fled to the
Republic and founded the city of
Sosúa . It has remained
the center of the Jewish population since.
20TH CENTURY IMMIGRATION
Main articles: Japanese settlement in the Dominican
Republic , Ethnic
Chinese in the Dominican
Republic , and History of the Jews in the
Republic Family of Japanese descent in Constanza ’s
neighbourhood of Colonia Japonesa
In the 20th century, many
Syria , and Palestine
), Japanese, and, to a lesser degree,
Koreans settled in the country
as agricultural laborers and merchants. The Chinese companies found
business in telecom, mining, and railroads. The Chinese Dominican
population is 50,000 . The
Arab community is rising at an increasing
rate and is estimated at 80,000. There are around 1,900 Japanese
immigrants, who mostly work in the business districts and markets.
There is a Korean population of 500.
In addition, there are descendants of immigrants who came from other
Caribbean islands, including
St. Kitts and Nevis ,
Antigua , St.
Tortola , St. Croix , St. Thomas , and
Guadeloupe . They worked on sugarcane plantations and docks and
settled mainly in the cities of
San Pedro de Macorís and Puerto Plata
. Puerto Rican, and to a lesser extent, Cuban immigrants fled to the
Republic from the mid-1800s until about 1940 due to a poor
economy and social unrest in their respective home countries. Many
Puerto Rican immigrants settled in Higüey , among other cities, and
quickly assimilated due to similar culture. Before and during World
War II, 800 Jewish refugees moved to the Dominican Republic.
Haitians in the Dominican
Republic A satellite
image of the border between the denuded landscape of
Haiti (left) and
Republic (right), highlighting the deforestation on the
Haitian side . Dominicans and
Haitians lined up to attend
medical providers from the
U.S. Army Reserve
Haiti is the neighboring nation to the Dominican
Republic and is
considerably poorer, less developed and is additionally the least
developed country in the western hemisphere. In 2003, 80% of all
Haitians were poor (54% living in abject poverty) and 47.1% were
illiterate. The country of nine million people also 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 and house cleaning and in sugar plantations.
There have been accusations that some Haitian immigrants work in
slavery-like conditions and are severely exploited.
Due to the lack of basic amenities and medical facilities in
large number of Haitian women, often arriving with several health
problems, cross the border to Dominican soil. They deliberately come
during their last weeks of pregnancy to obtain medical attention for
childbirth, since Dominican public hospitals do not refuse medical
services based on nationality or legal status. Statistics from a
Santo Domingo report that over 22% of childbirths are by
Haiti also suffers from severe environmental degradation .
Deforestation is rampant in Haiti; today less than 4 percent of
Haiti’s forests remain, and in many places the soil has eroded right
down to the bedrock.
Haitians burn wood charcoal for 60% of their
domestic energy production. Because of
Haiti running out of plant
material to burn,
Haitians have created an illegal market for coal on
the Dominican side. Conservative estimates calculate the illegal
movement of 115 tons of charcoal per week from the Dominican Republic
to Haiti. Dominican officials estimate that at least 10 trucks per
week are crossing the border loaded with charcoal.
In 2005, Dominican President
Leonel Fernández criticized collective
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 origin, Dominican
Foreign Minister Carlos
Morales Troncoso issued a formal statement denouncing it, 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
Children of Haitian immigrants are often stateless and denied
services, as their parents are denied Dominican nationality, being
deemed transient residents due to their illegal or undocumented
status; the children, though often eligible for Haitian nationality,
are denied it by
Haiti because of a lack of proper documents or
Dominican Day Parade in New York City, 2014. Main articles:
Dominican American and Dominican
Republic immigration to
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
In the early 1980s, underemployment, inflation, and the rise in value
of the dollar all contributed to a third wave of emigration from the
Dominican Republic. Today, emigration from the Dominican Republic
remains high. In 2012 there were approximately 1.7 million people of
Dominican descent in the U.S., counting both native- and foreign-born.
There was also a growing Dominican immigration to
Puerto Rico , with
nearly 70,000 Dominicans living there as of 2010 . Although that
number is slowly decreasing and immigration trends have reversed
because of Puerto Rico's economic crisis as of 2016.
In 2007 the Dominican
Republic had a birth rate of 22.91 per 1000 and
a death rate of 5.32 per 1000. Youth in the Dominican
Republic is the
healthiest age group.
The prevalence of
HIV/AIDS in the Dominican
Republic in 2011 stood at
approximately 0.7%, which is relatively low by
with an estimated 62,000 HIV/AIDS-positive Dominicans. In contrast
Haiti has an
HIV/AIDS rate more than double that of the
Republic . A mission based in the
United States has been
helping to combat AIDS in the country.
Dengue fever has become
endemic to the republic, cases of malaria, and
Zika virus .
The practice of abortion is illegal in all cases in the Dominican
Republic, a ban that includes conceptions following rape, incest, and
situations where the health of the mother is in danger, even if
life-threatening. This ban was reiterated by the Dominican government
in a September 2009 provision of a constitutional reform bill.
Main article: Education in the Dominican
Republic Kids taking
Primary education is regulated by the Ministry of Education, with
education being a right of all citizens and youth in the Dominican
Preschool education is organized in different cycles and serves the
2–4 age group and the 4–6 age group. Preschool education is not
mandatory except for the last year. Basic education is compulsory and
serves the population of the 6–14 age group. Secondary education is
not compulsory, although it is the duty of the state to offer it for
free. It caters to the 14–18 age group and is organized in a common
core of four years and three modes of two years of study that are
offered in three different options: general or academic, vocational
(industrial, agricultural, and services), and artistic.
The higher education system consists of institutes and universities.
The institutes offer courses of a higher technical level. The
universities offer technical careers, undergraduate and graduate;
these are regulated by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and
Further information: Crime in the Dominican
In 2012 the Dominican
Republic had a murder rate of 22.1 per 100,000
population. There was a total of 2,268 murders in the Dominican
Republic in 2012.
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 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.
Main article: Culture of the Dominican
cibaeño, 1941 (Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo).
Culture and customs of the Dominican people have a European cultural
basis , influenced by both African and native
culturally the Dominican
Republic is among the most-European countries
Spanish America , alongside with
Puerto Rico ,
Cuba , Central Chile
, Argentina , and Uruguay .
European, African, and
Taíno cultural elements are exposed in
cuisine, architecture, language, 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.
The architecture in the Dominican
Republic represents a complex blend
of diverse cultures. The deep influence of the European colonists is
the most evident throughout the country. Characterized by ornate
designs and baroque structures, the style can best be seen in the
capital city of
Santo Domingo , which is home to the first cathedral,
castle, monastery, and fortress in all of the
Americas , located in
the city's Colonial Zone , an area declared as a World Heritage Site
UNESCO . The designs carry over into the villas and buildings
throughout the country. It can also be observed on buildings that
contain stucco exteriors, arched doors and windows, and red tiled
roofs. A bohío near Santo Domingo, 1922. Most Dominicans,
particularly those in rural areas, used to live in bohíos until well
into the mid-20th century, like the native Taínos .
The indigenous peoples of the Dominican
Republic have also had a
significant influence on the architecture of the country. The Taíno
people relied heavily on the mahogany and guano (dried palm tree leaf)
to put together crafts, artwork, furniture, and houses. Utilizing mud,
thatched roofs, and mahogany trees, they gave buildings and the
furniture inside a natural look, seamlessly blending in with the
Lately, with the rise in tourism and increasing popularity as a
Caribbean vacation destination, architects in the Dominican Republic
have now begun to incorporate cutting-edge designs that emphasize
luxury. In many ways an architectural playground, villas and hotels
implement new styles, while offering new takes on the old. This new
style is characterized by simplified, angular corners and large
windows that blend outdoor and indoor spaces. As with the culture as a
whole, contemporary architects embrace the Dominican Republic's rich
history and various cultures to create something new. Surveying modern
villas, one can find any combination of the three major styles: a
villa may contain angular, modernist building construction, Spanish
Colonial-style arched windows, and a traditional Taino hammock in the
Main article: Cuisine of the Dominican
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 (mashed,
boiled plantain). For heartier versions, mangú is accompanied by
deep-fried meat (Dominican salami, typically) and/or cheese. Similar
to Spanish tradition, 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 is a stew often
made with seven varieties of meat.
Meals are mostly split into three courses throughout the day, as in
any other country. One has breakfast, which can be served 8–9 a.m.
Then there is lunch, which is usually the heaviest meal of the day and
is usually served at noon sharp. The last meal of the day, which is
dinner, is usually served by 5:30 or 6 p.m. Tostones, a fried
Meals tend to favor meats and starches over dairy products and
vegetables. Many dishes are made with sofrito , 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 , or
whole wheat, is a main ingredient in quipes or tipili (bulgur salad).
Other favorite Dominican foods are chicharrón , yuca , casabe ,
pastelitos (empanadas ), batata , yam , pasteles en hoja ,
chimichurris , tostones .
Some treats Dominicans enjoy are arroz con leche (or arroz con
dulce), bizcocho dominicano (lit. Dominican cake), habichuelas con
dulce , flan , frío frío (snow cones), dulce de leche , and caña
(sugarcane ). The beverages Dominicans enjoy are
Morir Soñando , rum
Mama Juana , batida (smoothie), jugos naturales (freshly
squeezed fruit juices), mabí , coffee, and chaca (also called maiz
caqueao/casqueado, maiz con dulce and maiz con leche), the last item
being found only in the southern provinces of the country such as San
MUSIC AND DANCE
Main article: Music of the Dominican
Republic Merengue dance.
Musically, the Dominican
Republic is known for the world popular
musical style and genre called merengue , :376–7 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 .
Its syncopated beats use
Latin percussion , brass instruments , bass,
and piano or keyboard. Between 1937 and 1950 merengue music was
promoted internationally by Dominican 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 are
Wilfrido Vargas ,
Johnny Ventura , singer-songwriter
Los Hermanos Rosario , Juan Luis
Fernando Villalona ,
Eddy Herrera ,
Sergio Vargas , Toño
Milly Quezada , and
Chichí Peralta .
Merengue became popular in the United States, mostly on the East
Coast , during the 1980s and 1990s, :375 when many Dominican artists
residing in the U.S. (particularly New York) started performing in the
Latin club scene and gained radio airplay. They included Victor Roque
y La Gran Manzana, Henry Hierro, Zacarias Ferreira, Aventura, and
Milly Jocelyn Y Los Vecinos. The emergence of bachata , along with an
increase in the number of Dominicans living among other Latino groups
in New York,
New Jersey , and Florida, has contributed to Dominican
music's overall growth in popularity. :378 Dominican singer Juan
Luis Guerra in concert, 2010
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 . Over time, it has been influenced by
merengue and by a variety of Latin American guitar styles.
Palo is an Afro-Dominican sacred music that can be found throughout
the island. The drum and human voice are the principal instruments.
Palo is played at religious ceremonies—usually coinciding with
saints' religious feast days—as well as for secular parties and
special occasions. Its roots are in the
Congo region of central-west
Africa, but it is mixed with European influences in the melodies.
Salsa music has had a great deal of popularity in the country. During
the late 1960s Dominican musicians like
Johnny Pacheco , creator of
Fania All Stars , played a significant role in the development and
popularization of the genre.
Dominican rock is also popular. Many, if not the majority, of its
performers are based in
Santo Domingo and Santiago.
Dominican native, fashion designer and perfume maker Oscar de la
The Dominican Republic's fashion week has become the most important
event of its kind in all of the
Caribbean and one of the
fastest-growing fashion events in the entire Latin American fashion
world. The country boasts one of the ten most important design schools
in the region, La Escuela de Diseño de Altos de Chavón, which is
making the country a key player in the world of fashion and design.
World-famous fashion designer
Oscar de la Renta was born in the
Republic in 1932, and became a US citizen in 1971. He
studied under the leading Spaniard designer
Cristóbal Balenciaga and
then worked with the house of Lanvin in Paris. Then by 1963, de la
Renta had designs carrying his own label. After establishing himself
in the US, de la Renta opened boutiques across the country. His work
blends French and Spaniard fashion with American styles. Although he
settled in New York, de la Renta also marketed his work in Latin
America, where it became very popular, and remained active in his
native Dominican Republic, where his charitable activities and
personal achievements earned him the
Juan Pablo Duarte Order of Merit
and the Order of Cristóbal Colón. De la Renta died of complications
from cancer on October 20, 2014.
Some of the Dominican Republic's important symbols are the flag , the
coat of arms , 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 among 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, a gold cross, and arrows;
the shield is surrounded by an olive branch (on the left) and a palm
branch (on the right). The Bible traditionally represents the truth
and the light. The gold cross symbolizes the redemption from slavery,
and the arrows symbolize the noble soldiers and their proud military.
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
The national flower is the Bayahibe Rose and the national tree is the
West Indian Mahogany . The national bird is the Cigua Palmera or
Palmchat ("Dulus dominicus").
Dia de la Altagracia on January 21
in honor of its patroness, Duarte 's Day on January 26 in honor of one
of its founding fathers,
Independence Day on February 27, Restoration
Day on August 16, Virgen de las Mercedes on September 24, and
Constitution Day on November 6.
Main article: Sports in the Dominican
Republic Dominican native
and Major League
Albert Pujols .
Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic.
:59 The country has a baseball league of six teams. Its season usually
begins in October and ends in January. After the United States, the
Republic has the second highest number of Major League
Baseball (MLB) players.
Ozzie Virgil, Sr. became the first
Dominican-born player in the MLB on September 23, 1956. Juan Marichal
Pedro Martínez are the only Dominican-born players in the
Baseball Hall of Fame . Other notable baseball players born in the
Robinson Canó ,
Rico Carty ,
Starling Marte ,
Vladimir Guerrero , George Bell ,
Julian Javier ,
Francisco Liriano ,
Manny Ramírez ,
José Bautista , Edwin Encarnacion,
Hanley Ramírez ,
David Ortiz ,
Albert Pujols ,
Nelson Cruz ,
Ubaldo Jiménez , José
Plácido Polanco , and
Sammy Sosa .
Felipe Alou has also
enjoyed success as a manager and
Omar Minaya as a general manager. In
2013, the Dominican team went undefeated en route to winning the World
Baseball Classic .
In boxing , the country has produced scores of world-class fighters
and several world champions, such as Carlos Cruz , his brother Leo ,
Juan Guzman , and
Joan Guzman . Basketball also enjoys a relatively
high level of popularity.
Tito Horford , his son Al , Felipe Lopez ,
and Francisco Garcia are among the Dominican-born players currently or
formerly in the
National Basketball Association (NBA). Olympic gold
medalist and world champion hurdler
Félix Sánchez hails from the
Dominican Republic, as does NFL defensive end Luis Castillo .
Other important sports are volleyball , introduced in 1916 by U.S.
Marines and controlled by the Dominican
Volleyball Federation ,
taekwondo , in which
Gabriel Mercedes won an Olympic silver medal in
2008, and judo .
Index of Dominican Republic-related articles
* Outline of the Dominican
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