República Dominicana (Spanish)
|Motto: "Dios, Patria, Libertad" (Spanish)|
"God, Fatherland, Liberty"
and largest city
19°00′N 70°40′W / 19.000°N 70.667°W / 19.000; -70.667
|Ethnic groups (1960)|
|Government||Unitary representative democratic republic|
|-||Vice President||Margarita Cedeño de Fernández|
|-||Lower house||Chamber of Deputies|
|-||from Spain||December 1, 1821|
|-||from Haiti||February 27, 1844 (not recognized by Haiti until 1867)|
|-||from Spain (declared)||August 16, 1863 (recognized on March 3, 1865)|
|-||from the United States||July 12, 1924|
|-||Total||48,442 km2 (130th)|
18,704 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|Gini (2010)|| 47.2|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.702|
medium · 96th
|Time zone||Atlantic (UTC-4)|
|Drives on the||right|
|Calling code||+1-809, +1-829, +1-849|
|ISO 3166 code||DO|
Taínos inhabited what is now the Dominican Republic since the 7th century. Christopher Columbus landed on it in 1492, and it became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, namely Santo Domingo, the country's capital and Spain's first capital in the New World. After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821. The ruler, José Núñez de Cáceres, intended that the Dominican Republic be part of the nation of Gran Colombia, but he was quickly removed by the Haitian government and "Dominican" slave revolts. Victorious in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844, Dominicans experienced mostly internal strife, and also a brief return to Spanish rule, over the next 72 years. The United States occupation of 1916–1924, and a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez Lajara, were followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina until 1961. The civil war of 1965, the country's last, was ended by a U.S.-led intervention, and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer, 1966–1978. Since then, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy, and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time after 1996. Danilo Medina, Dominican Republic's current president, replaced former president Leonel Fernández holding 51% of the Electoral Vote over his opponent ex-president Hipolito Mejia in 2012.
The Dominican Republic has the ninth largest economy in Latin America and the second largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Though long known for sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services. The country's economic progress is exemplified by its advanced telecommunication system. Nevertheless, unemployment, government corruption, and inconsistent electric service remain major Dominican problems. The country also has "marked income inequality".International migration affects the Dominican Republic greatly, as it receives and sends large flows of migrants. Haitian immigration and the integration of Dominicans of Haitian descent are major issues. A large Dominican diaspora exists, most of it in the United States. They aid national development as they send billions of dollars to their families, accounting for one-tenth of the Dominican GDP.
Population GeneticsEuropean and African, but there is also a minor Taíno element in the population; research published in 2010 showed that 70% of Dominicans have African genes, and 15% of Dominicans have Taíno ancestry.
Even though it was found out that the Dominican Republic overall DNA admixture is multiracial with a significant amount of Taíno DNA which is consistent with both the historical background of the nation but, being that Dominicans range from full Whites to full Blacks to Mulattoes, these genetic findings are not assigned to the whole nation's population. Therefore, it does not suggest that Dominicans in general have Taíno DNA, but rather it means that individuals may or may not have it.
The Dominican Republic is 68.9% Roman Catholic, 18.2% Evangelical, 10.6% with no religion, and 2.3% other. However, other sources place the irreligious ratio at 7% and nearly 10%. Recent immigration, as well as proselytizing, has brought other religions, with the following shares of the population: Spiritist: 2.2%, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1.1%, Buddhist: 0.1%, Bahá'í: 0.1%,Chinese Folk Religion: 0.1%, Islam: 0.02%, Judaism: 0.01%. The nation has two patroness saints: Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Our Lady Of High Grace) and Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady Of Mercy).
The Catholic Church began to lose popularity in the late 19th century. This was due to a lack of funding, of priests, and of support programs. During the same time, the Protestant evangelical movement began to gain support. Religious tension between Catholics and Protestants in the country has been rare.
There has always been religious freedom throughout the entire country. Not until the 1950s were restrictions placed upon churches by Trujillo. Letters of protest were sent against the mass arrests of government adversaries. Trujillo began a campaign against the church and planned to arrest priests and bishops who preached against the government. This campaign ended before it was even put into place, with his assassination.
During World War II, a group of Jews escaping Nazi Germany fled to the Dominican Republic and founded the city of Sosúa. It has remained the center of the Jewish population since.