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Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a Spanish-speaking representative democracy located on the eastern portion of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, bordering Haiti. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of the 20th century—most notably the brutal 32 year reign of US sponsored dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo and later Joaquín Balaguer—was brought to an end in 1978 when free and open elections ushered in a new government.

Republica Dominicana
(In Detail)
National motto:
God, Country, Liberty (Dios, patria, libertad)
Official languageSpanish
Capital Santo Domingo
PresidentRafael Hipólito Mejía
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 138th
48,730 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 86th
from Haiti
27 February 1844
Currency Peso
Time zone UTC -4
National anthem Quisqueyanos valientes
(Valiant Sons of Quisqueye)
Calling Code1-809

The country has had a history of changing ownership, with Spain, France, Haiti, Spain again, and the United States taking their turns at ruling Dominican territory amid attempts at independence and self rule. The twentieth century was marked by repeated US intervention in local affairs. Apart from the history of US support for the Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961), the most infamous example of this is the 1965 invasion by American troops in the midst of a Dominican civil war, an uprising that was sparked by an attempt to restore the republic's first democratically-elected president, Juan Bosch, who had been overthrown by an American backed right-wing coup in 1963. This invasion had the effect of establishing the rule of Joaquín Balaguer (1966-1978), and ensuring that Juan Bosch's constitutional government never return to power.

The country's economy is highly dependent on tourism. Since the early 1960s, economic problems have led to a vast migration of Dominicans to the US, mainly to large east coast cities. New York City's Washington Heights is so densely populated by Dominicans, it is sometimes referred to as Quisqueya Heights. Quisqueya believed to be the name given to the eastern side of Hispaniola by its original inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, although this version is disputed by some historians. Dominicans are now one of the largest Latino groups in the US.

Dominicans are notorious baseball lovers, and almost all major league baseball teams have at least one Dominican ball player.

The capital is Santo Domingo. The second largest city is Santiago de los Caballeros.

The Dominican Republic is known for a form of music called merengue, which has been popular since the mid- to late-1800s.

From the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the U.S. Department of State website. Not Wikified.

See also:

Countries of the world  |  North America