Description of Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean. It occupies about 2/3 of Hispaniola. The other third of the island is occupied by Haiti. The island is surrounded by the Caribbean sea in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the north.
The Dominican Republic gained independence in 1844 and since that time it has had many years of rule without representation. Joaquin Beleaguer became the president of the country in 1966 and held that title until 1996. Currently, elections are held regularly in the country and there is now a quickly increasing economy with tourism being a large part of the growth.
There is a diverse countryside offering a great escape for adventure travelers. You can find desert expanses, rainforests featuring mangrove swamps and alpine ranges. This is the perfect playground for water sport junkies, mountain bike enthusiasts, and trekkers.
There are many luxurious resorts dotting both the east and west coasts of the country. However, the country has a lot more to offer. There is the delightful dance and music of the Caribbean, exotic drinks and food, local baseball games as well as a wonderful colonial architecture that is found in Santa Domingo. Additionally, there are small villages, sugar plantations, and great mountain retreats that can be explored.
On his first expedition in December of 1492, Columbus explored and claimed Quisqueya. He named the island La Hispaniola and this became a starting point for the Spanish conquest of the mainland of America as well as the Caribbean.
The Tainos and the Caribes first inhabited the islands. The Tainos were friendly and the Caribes were cannibals. Just a few years after European explorers arrived in the area the Tainos population was reduced significantly by the Spanish. It is estimated that around 100,000 Tainos were killed by the Spanish conquerors from 1492 through 1498.
La Isabela was the first of the European settlements on the continent. Santa Domingo was founded in 1496 by Bartolome Colon and was moved later to just west of the Ozama river in the year 1502 by Frey Nicolas de Ovando.
Spain’s king had the western part of the island depopulated in the year 1606 because of the high rates of smuggling and piracy. This measure was the start of a French invasion and led to the creation of Haiti. The French dominion over a portion of the island on the western side was recognized by Spain in the year 1697. This eventually became Haiti in the year 1804. The rest of the island was called Santa Domingo and tried to gain independence in the year 1821. However, it was conquered by the Haitians, who would rule the area for the next 22 years. In the year 1844, the area gained its independence and became the Dominican Republic.
The country had an unsettled rule, mostly unrepresented for most of its history. This was until Joaquin Balaguer became the president in the year 1966. Balaguer maintained power for the majority of the next thirty years until international reactions to the flawed elections led him to end his reign in the year 1996. Since that time regular elections are held and opposition candidates win many of the elections. This has resulted in the economy of the Dominican having one of the quickest rates of growth in the hemisphere.
Tourism is one of the biggest reasons that the economy of the Dominican Republic has grown so fast over the past several years. There have been many great hotels, resorts, and other places to stay built on the island. You will find huge beach resorts and small personal options scattered throughout the cities and the along the coasts. There is a 25% room tax charged by the hotels that you should be aware of before you book your room. You will need to ask if the tax is included in the charges, which it often is, so that you are not surprised by this additional fee upon your arrival.
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