The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola. The western part of the island is occupied by Haiti, making it only one of the two islands shared by two countries. In terms of both area and population, Dominican Republic is the second largest nation in the Caribbean. The country, after three centuries of Spanish rule attained independence in 1821. However, this independence didn’t last long when the Haitians took over Dominican Republic. The Dominicans again managed to break free in 1844, only to be caught in a Spanish rule that extended for the next 72 years. Dominican Republic was also briefly occupied by the Americans between 1916 and 1924. The country then went through an intense period of dictatorship and an authoritarian government, but the country now is experiencing peace and tranquility with a democratic government at the helm. If you want to know more about this fascinating island read on.
Image: David G. Andrassy@flickr
Continent: North America
Area: 48,442 sq. km
Capital: Santo Domingo
Official Language: Spanish
Independence Day: August 16, 1865
Dialing Code: 809
Type of Government: Unitary Representative, Democratic Republic
Interesting & Fun Facts About Dominican Republic
- The Dominican Republic is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The country is part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean.
- On the 5th of December, Christopher Columbus arrived at Hispaniola during his voyage to America. He annexed the island into Spain and called it La Espanola.
- Christopher Columbus’s brother, Bartholomew Columbus established the city of Santo Domingo. The Spaniards created an economy and settled there to launch further attacks on America. For many years Santo Domingo served as the headquarters of Spanish power in the hemisphere.
- The Island came under the possession of the France after the French revolutionary wars. However, after the invasion of Spain by Napoleon, the criollos in Santo Domingo stood up against the French forces. Later, with the help of England and Haiti, they recaptured the island for Spain.
- In terms of geographical area occupied, the Dominican Republic is just a little larger than twice the size of New Hampshire.
- The national game of the Dominican Republic is baseball. Some of the world’s best baseball players are Dominicans.
- The country experiences a tropical climate with seasonal changes in temperature. Rainfall varies according to seasons.
- The Dominican Republic lies at the heart of a hurricane belt and this makes it extremely susceptible to storms from June to October. The country has also witnessed periodic droughts and phases of occasional flooding.
- Did you know that the first Dominican Miss World was Mariasela Alvarez Lebron? She won the title in 1982.
- Maria Africa Vidal de Santos Silas, one of the most beautiful actresses to have graced Hollywood was born on June 6, 1917, in Barahona, Dominican Republic.
- The Dominican Republic is noted for the invention of the ‘merengue’ style of music. The ‘merengue’ style of music is all about fast-paced dance music.
- Dominican Republic is only country in the world to have the image of the Bible on its flag?
- Bayahibe Rose is the national flower and the West Indian Mahogany is the national tree of the Dominican Republic.
- The oldest Cathedral in the world is situated in Santo Domingo. The first stone for the Cathedral was laid in 1514 by Diego Columbus, Christopher Columbus’ son.
- Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic, is the oldest permanent settlement in the Western Hemisphere. The city was founded way back in 1496.
- The Dominican city of Santiago, the second most populated city in the Dominican Republic, has fewer Dominicans living there than in the city of New York.
- Pico Duarte (3175m) in the Cordillera Range, the tallest mountain in the Dominican Republic, is also the highest point in the Caribbean. The awe-inspiring mountain is the tallest in the Americas outside the ranges of the Western United States.
- Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, although English, Italian, German, and French are also spoken all over the country.
- 68.9% of the Dominican population follows the Roman Catholic religion, around 18.2% are Evangelicals, 10.6% follow no religion, and 2.3% are the followers of other religions.
- Tropical cyclones hit the country every two years, and the southern coasts witness the brunt of the cyclones. Hurricanes generally hit during the period between August and October.
- The Dominican Republic comprises 31 provinces which are further divided into municipalities.
- The Dominican Republic has one of the top ten largest economies in the Latin America region and the second largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region.