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
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.
two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea
and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
||Haiti 360 km
was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his first trip, on
1492, and occupies an area of 48,442 square kilometers of the 77,914.
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.
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