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Maps Dominican Republic America Puerte Plata Santo Domingo Bani Miches Cabarete Cotui Bonao Santiago Moca Neiba Higuey Dominican Republic Maps.Explored and claimed by 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. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of its subsequent history was brought to an end in 1966 when Joaquin Balaguer became president. He 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. The Dominican economy has had one of the fastest growth rates in the hemisphere.
Location: Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
Climate: Tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
Borders: Haiti 360 km
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The Dominican Republic was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his first trip, on December 5 1492, and occupies an area of 48,442 square kilometers of the 77,914. The rest belongs to the neighboring Republic of Haiti. In 1508 it was named Island of Santo Domingo by Royal Privilege of King Ferdinand. Its aboriginal name Quisqueya in the Taino language means Mother of all lands. Thinking They had reached India, the Spaniards called them " Indians ". The Tainos belonged to the Arawak culture originating from the tropical region of South America, from where they emigrated on canoes to the Lesser Antilles.

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