Columbus arrived on the Island of Quisqueya on December 5, 1492. He found a civilisation (the Tainos) who had developed a sophisticated social order that embraced daily religious ceremonies, seasonal festivals, and team sports. In those time they were approximately 1 million, divided in 5 tribes.
Taino means : good, peaceful man They lived close to the rivers and the coasts, and survived by fishing and hunting. They also cultivated crops, including tobacco, which at first mystified and later enthralled their European conquerors. Though much of the original Taino language has been lost, certain words have been preserved in our language today. Words like barbacoa (barbecue), hamaca (hammock), yuca (yucca), and juracan (hurricane) have been incorporated into English, Spanish, French and other modern languages. Dramatic new evidence about these vanished people is being uncovered by on-going archaeological research conducted throughout the island, with noteworthy recent findings in the National Park of the East near La Romana.
The modern Dominican people
Columbus and the Spanish colonizers who followed him used the island as their base for further New World discoveries, and built the 1rst cathedral, the 1rst monastery, the 1rst hospital, .....
Hispanola (the 1rst name of the entire island given by Colombus) remained a Spanish possession for three centuries. The French also ruled the island for two brief periods, as did the Haitians. But with the importation of African slaves in large numbers adding to the Spanish-Taino creole, the modern Dominican people began to emerge.
Their cultural uniqueness is underscored by their food, their music, the arts and crafts, their vocabulary and their relaxed, good-natured approach to life's challenges.
More than 90 % of the population is catholic but the Dominican are very tolerant for all other religion.
Nowadays, there is 10.000.000 people living in Dominican Republic, a third of them in the capital : Santo Domingo.
Agriculture is one of the economy pillar as sugarcane, coffee, tobacco, cacao and 80% of the bio bananas' world market. Industries : tourism, sugar processing, textiles, cement, ferronickel and gold mining. The industrial free zone now pRoduce 70% of exports, while tourism and remittances from Dominicans have also grown significantly in recent years.
20% of the country are classified as natural reserve, therefore there are many national parks to be visited. (17 national parks and 7 natural reserves)
The nation won its independence from Haiti on Februery 27th 1844, and Dominicans venerate its trio of liberators - Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matias Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez- (as the equals of Washington, Garibaldi and Bolivar).
The Dominican Republic's flag is blue and red, with a white cross.
In the center the armorial bearings represent a branch of bay-tree and a palm tree, an open bible and the motto (in Spanish) : God, Fatherland, Freedom. Below REPUBLICA DOMINICANA appears on a red ribbon
LEONEL FERNANDEZ REYNA - 1996 > 2000 HIPOLITO MEJIA DOMINGUEZ - 2000 > 2004 LEONEL FERNANDEZ REYNA 2004 > 2008 / réélu 2008 > 2012 DANILO MEDINA SANCHEZ - 2012- PLD (Partido Liberal Dominicano) Next elections in 2016.
The Baseball (or pelota as we say here) is THE national sport. Thanks to weather conditions it can be played all year long, but the official season of the professional teams is from October till February. Among the most famous in the American leagues there are Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and mythical Sammy Sosa and Juan Marichal. Dominicans also practice other sports as the volleyball, the basketball, the soccer or the softball. For years, the volleyball was the second most practiced sport at a national level because it requires only very simple installations. That is why, the first international successes, independently of the baseball, were obtained in this discipline. The swimmer in free waters Marcos Diaz, is another national hero since 2005 when he beat the world record by cross swimming twice the Strait of Gibraltar in 8 hours 34 mn. The athlete Felix Sanchez won the very first gold medal of the Dominican history, in the 400 meters hurdle, during the Olympics of Athens in 2004. And another golden medal in the same discipline in the Olympics of London in 2012. The light welterweight boxer Felix Manuel Diaz won the gold medal at the Olympics of Beijing in 2008.
Except the sportsmen listed higher, and numerous singers of merengue and bachata, the group Aventura is famous worldwide since 2004 with their song : obsession Oscar de La Renta, fashion designer Juan Luis Guerra, Singer, songwriter, composer and producer Michel Camilo, pianist Amelia Vega, miss Universe 2003 Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean), Dania Ramirez and Omahyra Mota ( X-Men), actresses
National anthem : Quisqueyanos valientes
Quisqueyanos valientes alcemos nuestro canto con viva emoción, y del mundo a la faz ostentemos nuestro invicto glorioso pendón. Salve el pueblo que intrépido y fuerte a la guerra a morir se lanzó, cuando en bélico reto de muerte sus cadenas de esclavo rompió.
Ningún pueblo ser libre merece si es esclavo, indolente y servil, si en su pecho la llama no crece, que templó el heroismo viril. Mas Quisqueya la indómita y brava siempre altiva la frente alzará que si fuere mil veces esclava otras tantas ser libre sabrá.