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Dominican Republic

Explored and claimed by Christopher COLUMBUS on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930-61. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962, but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna won election to a second term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 9,365,818 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Dominican(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Dominican

Official Language(s): Spanish

Major Languages Spoken: Creole, Spanish

Map of Dominican Republic

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Dominican Republic

Country Name (short form): The Dominican

Country Name (local long form): Republica Dominicana

Country Name (local short form): La Dominicana

Name of Capital: Santo Domingo

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Dominican Republic: Puerto Rico, Haiti

Land Area: 48380 sq km

Water Area: 350 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire

Total Land Boundry: 360 km

Coastline: 1,288 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 27 February (1844)

International Phone Code: -808

Currency Code: Dominican peso (DOP)

Internet Country Code: .do

US Embassy Location: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo

US Embassy Mailing Address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500


Dominican Republic flag

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