In the pre colonial age, the island of Quisqueya ( Mother of all the lands) and later renamed Hispaniola, was inhabited from a population called “Taino”, that in the aboriginal language meant “good” “noble”. On the 5th of December 1492, Cristoforo Colombo disembarked on the island that became a Spanish colony.

The Spanish domination was an exploitation of the natural riches of the country and of its inhabitants with a very strong regime of slavery that provoked a collapse of their physical conditions and hope in a future. Most of the Taino killed themselves, as the only escape from slavery. With the introduction of intensive working of the sugar cane, the draft of the black slaves from Africa began, as the Taino were practically extinguished.

In 1600 most of the population moved to live near the capital, Santo Domingo, to escape the continuous threats of the pirates. This caused a general impoverishment of the economy and allowed the pirates to occupy the Western area of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic, after a short independence, in 1822 was invaded and dominated by Haiti, until 1844 when a popular rebellion guided by Juan Pablo Duarte brought back the independence. Since 1863 the presidents have been elected in a democratic way, but in 1930 the dictator Trujillo, supported by Americans got the power. He governed hardly and slaughtered.

He was killed in 1961 from a conspiracy and his following Joaquin Balaguer tried to keep the government. However Juan Bosch Gavino, the founder of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) won the election. His policy was not accepted by the United States, that intervened militarily and in 1965, Joaquin Balaguer was reelected and governed till 1978; then the Dominican Revolutionary Party stayed in charged again until 1984. Balaguer governed again from that moment to 1996. This political instability provoked disastrous economic consequences preventing the development of the country.

The demography

The population of the Dominican Republic amounts approximately to nine million inhabitants. Most of them live in Santo Domingo, the capital and in the other towns, while only one third live in the countryside and are farmers. The inhabitants are mainly mulattos, born from the union of Europeans, in prevalence Spanish, with Africans. The culture is Hispanic but has American and African influences. The official religion is Catholicism, but there is also a strong presence of the Evangelic church.