About Dominican Republic

About Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic comprises two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, one of the largest Caribbean islands and its biggest tourist destination. With tropical sunshine year-round and the islands long coastline (1,000 miles of stunning beaches), the country’s natural beauty, spectacular resorts, and award-winning golf courses are among the top attractions.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the island he named Hispaniola during his first Atlantic voyage. He described the lush tropical land as “a beautiful island paradise”. This diverse island has coral reefs, Caribbean and Atlantic shores, rolling mountains, large river valleys, deep-forested jungles, arid deserts, busy cities and rural villages, and has both the highest peak, Pico Duarte, and the Caribbean’s largest lake and lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo.

The Dominican Republic has a rich history, with elements of French, Spanish, and African influences. Dominican culture enjoys a remarkable variety of arts, music and dance. Merengue, bachata and salsa are the most important forms of music and dance, while baseball is the favorite popular sport. The Dominican Republic is known for producing some of the best players in Major League Baseball.

Fast Facts:

Official Name: República Dominicana

Area: 48,717 sq km
Population: 9 million
Famous for: Columbus first landfall in the West Indies
Language: Spanish
Capital: Santo Domingo

The aborigines that once lived in the Dominican Republic were known as the Taino Indians, and occupied the island for 5,000 years prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The Tainos were a peaceful group that lived off of agriculture, fishing and livestock. They are said to have originated from two different tribes, from Central America and South America.

Santo Domingo was founded by Columbus’ brother Bartholomew in 1496, and is the oldest European city in America. The 16th century brought unstable times to the island when pirates started to take hold. The most infamous pirate that came to the island was Sir Francis Drake, one of the best-known British pirates.
The island later went from the hands of the Spanish, French, and Haitian rule, and gained its final independence in the 19th century.