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name Dominican Republic is a relatively new name for the country. The region was
called Santo Domingo for much of history (the name the capital still uses), named
after St. Dominic. When the country was formed the adjective form of Dominic or
Domingo was added to the country name, Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is the oldest
European settlement in the Americas and life on the island exists due to
the region's geography. In addition to having a mountainous interior that helped
protect settlements, the land is fairly fertile, especially the valleys, making
life on the island fairly sustainable. Despite the fertile land that could sustain
life, the region flourished with the Europeans due to trade, not because of the
food and animals present on the island. The location of the island allows it to
control trade in nearly every direction.
The Spanish also altered the culture in the way of almost
completely destroying the indigenous people. These natives died from both
European diseases as well as from wars and battles between the two groups,
forever altering the future culture of the region.
flag stands on a white cross, which symbolizes salvation; this cross divides the
flag into red rectangles, which represent the blood of heroes, and blue rectangles,
which represent liberty. In the center of the flag is the national coat of arms,
which includes the words Dios, Patria, Libertad, which means "God,
Fatherland, Liberty" and the words Republica Dominicana, which is
the country's name in their native Spanish tongue. In the middle a bible is
opened to the page that reads Y la verdad nos hara libre, which means "And
the truth shall set you free."
Name: Dominican Republic
Independence: February 27, 1844
Capital: Santo Domingo
Currency: Dominican Peso
Population: 10,219,630 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Mixed, European, & African
With the loss of the local population, the Spanish began
bringing in African slaves to provide labor in their fields,
mines, and elsewhere, again changing the dynamic of the region and creating a primarily
This alteration in culture and way of life in the
Dominican Republic continued as the sugarcane industry exploded and
Spain lost power on the seas. Many slaves fled into the mountains as
the coastal settlements struggled due to piracy, leading to a growing
African population and an emerging culture in the mountains that was based
on both the surviving natives as well as the slaves.
As the trade struggled and the natural resources on the island (gold primarily)
dried up, the economy turned to the sugarcane industry even more and began illegally
trading. It was at this point that the economy truly shifted from one of trade to
one of agriculture, which is still the base of the economy and workforce today.
Since this time political stability in the Dominican
Republic has been weak at best as the people have developed a culture that
is partially based on governmental distrust. The majority of the people are a mix
of these roots, primarily African, American Indian, and
European. The people have created unique cultures in the
mountains and along the coast based on their particular history and customs.
Today the Dominican Republic is home to numerous
cultures and sub-cultures depending on the area the people live and their roots.
People on the coast are reliant on fishing and increasingly on tourism, while the
people in the valleys focus on farming. Likewise, one town or city may feel very
European, while another may maintain its roots in
Africa depending on the ethnic make-up and history of the people.
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