Inhabited by the Taino Indians since the seventh century, the Dominican Republic became the site of the first European settlement in the Americas when Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1492. Its capital, Santo Domingo, proudly boasts the first cathedral, fortress, hospital, monastery, university, palace, and streets in the Americas. Once ruled by Spain, France, and Haiti, the country eventually gained its independence in 1884 and modeled its constitution after the U.S. Constitution. A legacy of unsettled, nonrepresentative rule followed, capped by the ironfisted dictatorship of General Rafael Trujillo. Today, the Dominican Republic is a democratic republic with a major railway and an economy based on tourism. Because of the vast inequalities among the rich and the poor, Dominicans still face many hardships, and high unemployment remains a challenge. In The Dominican Republic, explore this island nation's history, culture, peoples, and government.
Written by experienced geographers, each volume in the Modern World Nations series offers a comprehensive overview of the people, geography, history, government, economy, and culture that make each of our world's countries unique.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction to the Dominican Republic 8
2 Physical Landscapes 15
3 The Dominican Republic Through Time 28
4 People and Culture 44
5 Government and Politics 57
6 The Dominican Republic's Economy 71
7 Living in the Dominican Republic Today 82
8 The Dominican Republic Looks Ahead 98
Facts at a Glance 105
History at a Glance 108
Further Reading 111