The Dominican Republic represents a country rich with beautiful lands and an immense cultural heritage. It is the perfect tourist destination, with a surreal Caribbean ambiance. It is located on the eastern side of the Antilles, on the island of Hispaniola.
Dominican Republic Demographics
The history of the country dates back to when Christopher Columbus first landed at its port in 1492, in pursuit of discovering India and realizing the existence of the New World instead. Back then, the land was inhabited by the Arawak-speaking population, known as the Tainos. Following the island's discovery, the Spanish and subsequently the French ruled what is now called the Dominican Republic. The Tainos no longer exist today. They are believed to have been exterminated by the genocide incurred on the indigenous population of the Americas, following Columbusí landing.
Today, nearly 73% of the country's population is racially mixed, while 16% is White and 11% Black. The most common ethnic immigrant groups are West Indians. Many immigrants move to the Dominican Republic in search of better opportunities. There are tens of thousands of Jamaicans in the country and more than 700,000 people of Haitian descent. There are about 10,000 Puerto Rican immigrants around greater Santo Domingo.
Genealogical testing in 2012 found the average Dominican is 58% European, 35% Sub-Saharan African and 7% Asian-Native American.
Spanish is the official language in the Dominican Republic. The median age of the population in the Dominican Republic is at 28.1 years of age. The total life expectancy is near 78.3 years of age.
Dominican Republic Religion, Economy and Politics
Christianity is both the most popular and the official religion of the Dominican Republic, and the Catholic church even receives financial assistance from the government. Of the entire population, 57% of people are Catholic, 23% are Protestant, 2% are Muslim, and 18% of people are unaffiliated with any religion. Cultural traditions in the Dominican Republic are a bit of a conglomeration, combining Roman Catholic traditions with African religious ceremonies, like Santeria.
For much of its history, agricultural goods like sugar, coffee, and tobacco dominated the economy, but things have diversified significantly over the past few decades. The service sector has taken the place that agriculture once held, due to increases in construction, tourism, and free trade zones. Their economy has been one of the fastest-growing in Latin America after the economy rebounded well from the 2008 financial crisis. Despite its strength, the Dominican economy is highly reliant upon the United States, which is the destination for nearly half of their exports and the place that they receive the mosts tourists from.
Dominican Republic Population History
Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1492- naming it Hispaniola, or "Little Spain," and Spain began to colonize the area soon afterward. The Treaty of Ryswick gave the western portion of the island (Haiti) to France in 1697, which wasn't ceded until nearly 100 years later. In 1930 General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina established a dictatorship, and soon after massacred roughly 20,000 Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Trujillo was assassinated in 1961 and Juan Bosch was elected in a democratic election. A hurricane in 1979 left 200,000 people homeless and did more than $1 billion in damages. Flooding in 2004 killed roughly 2,000, and another flood in 2016 displaced more than 20,000.