The island of Hispaniola was populated about 4000 BC Cultivation of corn and cassava as well as ceramic production was introduced at the time around Kr.f. and is linked to an expansion of the Oranoco Delta people in today’s Venezuela. Together with Cuba and Puerto Rico, Hispaniola achieved the highest socio-political development in the Antilles with the Taino chiefdom, characterized by large villages, built around central open spaces, and ball game plans.
See also Central America (Prehistory).
The first European possessions in the New World were built on the island of Hispaniola in connection with Columbus’s arrival during his first voyage in 1492. The island was transformed into an important base for further conquests. The current capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, was founded in 1496. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Dominican Republic.
The first decades after the arrival of the Europeans were marked by significant gold production but also by catastrophic decimation of the island’s indigenous population. Hispaniola established the first Spanish government in America, and the first university of the New World was founded here. In economic terms, too, the development of Hispaniola was pioneering: sugar cultivation with the help of African slaves was introduced in the early 16th century. The importance of the island, however, diminished from the middle of the 16th century in favor of other, richer and denser populated parts of the Spanish colonial empire.
In 1697, France gained supremacy over the western part of Hispaniola (present-day Haiti). The history of the Dominican Republic entered a violent phase after France gained control of the entire island in 1795. The period, which was marked by slave uprisings, civil war and invasions, led to Spain temporarily regaining control of the Dominican Republic in 1809. Contacts with Spain were broken again in 1821, when the Dominican Republic declared itself independent. The following year, the Dominican Republic was invaded by Haiti, which retained control of the area until 1844, when the Dominican Republic became an independent republic.
- Countryaah: Check to see the location of Dominican Republic on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Dominican Republic.
The history of the independent Dominican Republic has been filled with political violence, and the country’s development was dominated by the struggle between various caudillos (see caudillism) until 1861, when Spain regained control of the Dominican Republic. The result was a war that once again liberated the country in 1865 but also led to total political divide. Between 1865 and 1879, 50 rises took place, and the Dominican Republic experienced 21 different governments. Some stability was achieved during Ulise Heureaux’s long dictatorship (1882–99). However, the country, whose economy was based on sugar and tobacco exports, was so depleted that the United States took control of its customs system in 1905. It was the prelude to an American occupation of the Dominican Republic in 1916-24. During that period, the Caudillo Empire was harmed, and then the National Guard (Guardia Nacional Dominicana) was created, a centralized violent apparatus that for a long period guaranteed stability but also served as a base of power for one of Latin America’s most notorious dictators, Rafael Trujillo. He ruled the Dominican Republic directly or indirectly between 1930 and 1961, when he was murdered. His empire degenerated into sheer looting of the country, and the Trujillo family’s wealth grew to correspond to more than 65% of the country’s financial resources.
After Trujillo’s murder, a new period of instability began. Juan Bosch, leader of the leftist Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), won the first democratic elections in 1962 in the country’s history. High militia deposed him in 1963. A popular and military uprising in 1965, aimed at reinstating Bosch in power, led the United States to send about 30,000 soldiers to the Dominican Republic to quell the uprising.
After the US invasion, right-wing politician Joaquin Balaguer, former vice president and Trujillo’s protector, dominated political life for more than two decades. The elections in 1966, 1970 and 1974 were won by Balaguer, and in 1978 Bosch’s old party came to power, but now without Bosch and with a more center-oriented policy. President Salvador Jorge Blanco’s government (1982–86) was characterized by a disastrous economic situation and growing social unrest. Strikes and mass demonstrations unleashed each other and degenerated into violent riots with hundreds dead in 1984. After the 1986 election victory, Balaguer tried to create a more dynamic economic development with the help of young technocrats, but it only resulted in a very short-lived recovery. At the end of 1988, inflation rose sharply, the current account deficit grew and the economy stagnated;
After the 1994 presidential election, Balaguer agreed not to run for office again. With the support of Balaguer, 1996 Leonel Fernández Reyna, Partido de la Liberación Dominicana was elected(PLD), to the President. Fernandez (President 1996-2000 and since 2004) has pursued a neoliberal policy including privatization of state-owned companies and a generous attitude to foreign investment. However, since the beginning of the 1990s, the policy pursued has been met with occasional violent popular protests and strikes. Relations with Haiti have at times been strained, partly because of the Haitian guest workers, and partly because of the illegal immigration following the Haitian military coup in 1991. Dominican politicians are well aware that their political success is largely due to the goodwill of the United States.. One of seven Dominicans lives in the United States, and they send large sums of money annually.