Its capital and most populated city is Santo Domingo. It limits to the north with the Atlantic Ocean, to the east with the Canal de la Mona, which separates it from Puerto Rico, to the south with the Caribbean Sea, and to the west with Haiti, which is the other country located in Hispaniola.
With 48,730 km², it is the second largest country in the Caribbean islands, behind Cuba and with almost 10,500,000 inhabitants in 2010, the second most populated, again behind Cuba.
Inhabited by Taínos since the seventh century, the territory of the country was discovered by Cristóbal Colón in 1492 becoming the site of the first European settlement in America, named as Santo Domingo, current capital of the country and first capital of Spain in the New World. After three centuries of Spanish domination, the country reached the first Independence in 1821 but was quickly taken over by Haiti in 1822.
After the victory obtained in the War of Dominican Independence in 1844, the Dominicans experienced several struggles, mostly internal, and also a brief return of Spanish rule (1861-1865), but Spain had not come to take away their independence. The American occupation of 1916 to 1924 and, later, the six years in peace and prosperity of Horacio Vásquez (1924-1930), followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961). A period of post-dictatorship instability (1962-1964), followed by a civil war in 1965, which ended with a military intervention led by the United States, and finally, was followed by several periods of authoritarian governments of Joaquín Balaguer (1966-1978 and 1986-1996), the governments of Antonio Guzmán Fernández (1978-1982) and Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982-1986). Since 1996, the Dominican Republic has moved towards a representative democracy.
The Dominican Republic has the ninth largest economy in Latin America and the largest in Central America and the Caribbean. Although known for sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services.
The economic progress of the country is exemplified by its advanced telecommunications system.
In the United States there is a large Dominican diaspora, counted in 1.5 million people; that diaspora helps national development, sending billions of dollars to their families, which represents one tenth of GDP.
The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean. Throughout the year the country’s golf courses are among the main attractions of the island.
In the country is the highest mountain in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte, as well as Lake Enriquillo, the lowest point in terms of sea level and the largest lake in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic, as it is also called, is a tropical country with an average temperature of 27 ° C, which varies very little during the year, and a great biological diversity.
Music and sport are of great importance in Dominican culture, with merengue and bachata as national rhythms, and baseball as the favorite sport.
Juan Pablo Duarte y Diez
Juan Pablo Duarte y Diez (January 26, 1813, Colonial City, Santo Domingo, Colonial Spain, July 15, 1876, Caracas, Venezuela), was a Dominican politician and liberal activist. It is, along with Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella, one of the Fathers of the Fatherland and founders of the Dominican Republic. He devised and presided over the struggle for clandestine political-military organization La Trinitaria, created to fight against the Haitian invasion and for independence.
Duarte supervised and financed to a large extent the war of independence carried out by his comrades in struggle, which led to his economic ruin and that of his family, who possessed ample wealth from the maritime trade business carried out by Duarte’s father. .1 His leadership made him the object of accusations that led him to be expelled from the newly created nation on several occasions. His liberal vision was undermined by the conservative elites, who sought to subjugate the country to the colonial powers and return to traditional regionalism. However, their democratic ideals have served as guiding principles for most Dominican governments. His initiative made him a political martyr in the eyes of later generations.
In 1842, Duarte became an officer of the National Guard, led at that time by the Haitian government. In 1843 he participated in the «Reformist Revolution» against the dictatorship of Jean Pierre Boyer, who threatened to invade the western part of the island with the intention of unifying it. After the defeat of Haitian President Charles Herard and the proclamation of Dominican independence in 1844, the Board formed to appoint the first ruler of the nation chose Duarte to preside over it but he declined the proposal, taking the position instead Tomás Bobadilla .
Duarte maintained strong disagreements with conservative sectors, especially with the landowner Pedro Santana, who considered the independence ideas of Duarte unviable. Of these struggles, Santana left strengthened while Duarte suffered several exile, finally lived in Venezuela where he was received and welcomed, staying to live in this country to finally die in exile in Venezuela in 1876.
Matías Ramón Mella Castillo
Matías Ramón Mella Castillo (February 25, 1816-4 June 1864) was a Dominican soldier, politician and activist. He is one of the Fathers of the Fatherland of the Dominican Republic along with Juan Pablo Duarte and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez.
As a member of the independence movement, Mella embodied militant and determined expression, being known for having fired his blunderbuss on the night of February 27, 1844 at the Puerta de la Misericordia, which gave rise in this way to the revolt for the independence of the country .
Of the founders of the Republic, Mella was the most suitable for military activities. His ability as a strategist contributed significantly to achieving Dominican independence, a fact that put an end to the Haitian occupation.
Later, he joined the restoration movement against the annexation to Spain, made by the landowner Pedro Santana in 1861. He was Vice President of the country between 1863 and 1864.
War of Independence
In January 1843 he was commissioned by Duarte to move to the Haitian village of Los Cayos de San Luis, in the south of the island, to make contact with the reformist revolutionaries opposed to President Jean Pierre Boyer.
He summoned and made possible an alliance between the Trinitarians and the Haitian reformers who fought with Boyer. This resulted, on January 16, 1844, to sign the act of separation, which proclaimed the need to separate from Haitian oppression and formalized the union of liberals and conservatives. During the war of independence it occupied the northern region to prevent Haitian penetration.
War for the Restoration
Once declared the independence, Mella proclaimed to Duarte president of the Central Government Junta with the purpose of avoiding that some partisan of the colonialism occupied the power. This attitude caused Pedro Santana to expel him from the country.
Mella returned to the country in 1848 under the amnesty of President Manuel Jimenes and joined the conservatives led by Pedro Santana, until in 1861, and before the eminent annexation to Spain, he adhered to the restorers.
In August of 1863 he traveled south, crossing the Cordillera Central by Constance, with the order to organize the restoration troops led by Pedro Florentino. During the restoration, he was appointed Minister of War and produced a guerrilla war manual in January 1864.
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (Santo Domingo, March 9, 1817; San Juan de la Maguana, July 4, 1861), was a Dominican lawyer, politician and activist. It is, together with Juan Pablo Duarte and Matías Ramón Mella, one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic.
Sánchez, leader and political strategist of the Dominican war against the Haitian occupation, took the reins of the struggle after the absence of Duarte and proclaimed independence at the Puerta del Conde on February 27, 1844.
Although he was a self-taught educator and came to learn Latin and French for himself, he is remembered above all as a man of action. Sánchez took the revolutionary leadership and became the main driver of the independence movement, although he remained in contact with Duarte through his relatives.
On February 27, 1844, just before the proclamation of Independence, Sanchez was chosen by his peers from La Trinitaria “Commander in Arms” and president of the Governing Board of the nascent republic. Later that night, the rebels led by him took the Puerta del Conde and after hearing the “trabucazo” Mella, hoisted the Dominican flag vociferating the slogan God, Homeland and Freedom! At that time, the Dominican Republic was founded.