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 over the past decade.
Why the Dominican Republic? View the gallery below for some stunning images of the country and visit our Dominican Republic real estate pages to view properties for sale and rent.
Photos Courtesy Of Ministry of Tourism
Quick Facts about the Dominican Republic
Area: 18,815 sq mi (48,730 sq km)
Population (2007est.): 9,760,000 ; birth rate: 23.6/1000; infant mortality rate: 33.3/1000; life expectancy: 67.6; density per sq mi: 470
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Santo Domingo, 2,851,300 (metro.area), 2,252,400 (city proper)
Ethnicity/race: white 16%, black 11%, mixed 73%
Monetary unit: Dominican Peso
Other large city: Santiago de los Caballeros, 501,800
Economic summary: per capita $9,208. According to the US State Department, the Domincian Republic has the 2nd largest economy within the Caribbean / Central American region.
Agriculture: sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs.
Labor force: 2.3 million to 2.6 million (2000 est); services and government 58.7%, industry 24.3%, agriculture 17% (1998 est.).
Major trading partners: U.S., Canada, UK, Venezuela, Mexico, Spain.
Ports and harbors: Barahona, La Romana, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, Santo Domingo.
Literacy rate: 85% (2003 est.)
Industries: tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco.
Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver.
Exports: $5.524 billion (f.o.b., 2003 est.): ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods.
Climate: Lovely, come and visit.