The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. The country is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area after Cuba. It occupies 48,671 sq. kilometers and third nation by in Caribbean nation by population with approximately 10,299,000 people (July 2018 est.), Apprximately three million people live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.
Brief History - The native Taino people had inhabited Hispaniola since the 7th century, dividing it into five chiefdoms. Christopher Columbus was the first European to see the island, landing here on December 5, 1492. The colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, and the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Meanwhile, France occupied the western third of Hispaniola, naming their colony Saint-Domingue, which became the independent state of Haiti in 1804. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821.The leader of the independence movement Jose Nunez de Caceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years later after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years the Dominican Republic experienced mostly internal conflicts and a brief return to Spanish colonial status before permanently ousting the Spanish during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. The United States occupied the country between 1916 and 1924; a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vasquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U.S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer (1966–1978 and 1986–1996), Antonio Guzmán (1972–1978) and Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982–1986). Since 1996 the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and was led by Leonel Fernandez for much of the period until 2012. Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipolito Mejia.
Economy: The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region.
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