Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Spanish-speaking, it seeks closer ties to the anglophone West Indies.

Geography: Highlands and rain-forested mountains – including the highest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte – interspersed with fertile valleys. Extensive coastal plain in the east.

 Climate: Hot and humid close to sea level, cooler at altitude. Heavy rainfall, especially in the northeast.

 People and Society: White landowners – especially those descended from the original Spanish settlers – form the wealthy elite. Mixed-race majority controls commerce and forms the bulk of the professional middle classes. White and mixed-race women are entering the professions. Great disparities of wealth exist; the black and Haitian-immigrant populations occupy the bottom of the social ladder.

 The Economy: Mining (nickel and gold), sugar, and textiles. Tourism, remittances, and exports all rely heavily on US market. Hidden economy based on trans-shipment of narcotics to the US.

 Insight: Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the Americas. It was founded in 1496 by the brother of Christopher Columbus

Fact-File:

 Official Name: Dominican Republic

 Date of Formation: 1865

 Capital: Santo Domingo

 Population: 10.1 million

 Total Area: 18,679 sq. miles (48,380 sq. km)

 Density: 540 people per sq. mile

 Languages: Spanish*, French Creole

Religions: Roman Catholic 92%, other and nonreligious 8%

 Ethnic Mix: Mixed race 75%, White 15%, Black 10%

 Government: Presidential system

 Currency: Dominican Republic peso = 100 centavos

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