Dominican Republic information, history & facts
What a wonderful place to learn Spanish.
Comprises the eastern two-thirds side of the island of Hispaniola which neighbours the former French colony of Haiti. The capital Santo Domingo was established in 1496 and is the longest established European settlement in the Americas.
Since independence from Spain there have been numerous revolutions and dictatorships. Democratic government was established in 1996.
A country of dramatic scenery, the highest peak in the Caribbean – Pico Duarte – and attractive beaches.
Total immersion is a very important part of a learning Spanish (or any language) programme, and is neeed at some point in your language learning strategy. It is most effective if combined with:
• a good grammar and language structure learning system,(see on the Grammar info pages on this website...)
• an accelerated vocabulary learning and remembering system (if you are learning to speak Spanish and learning 200 words a day you are using an outdated system)
. . .take a few days to boost the Spanish vocab before you launch off!
• . . . and an onsite course with a good, experienced Spanish language teacher.
For more information on how to learn Spanish in the Dominican Republic click on the link.
Learn Spanish in the Dominican Republic!
Learn Spanish in the Dominican Republic!
Here are a few hundred fun facts for you to study up on before you scoot off to the Dominican Republic to learn Spanish.
Background information on Dominican Republic
Claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became the launchpad for the Spanish domination of the Caribbean and the Americas.
In 1697, Spain recognized French sovereignty over the western 1/3 of the island, which became Haiti in 1804. The Dominican Republic side of Hispaniola, then known as Santo Domingo, sought its own independence in 1821, but was seized and ruled by Haiti for 22 years, gaining independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844.
Unsettled tumultuous government was brought to an end in 1966 by President Joaquin BALAGUER who ruled for the next 30 years.
Free elections since 1996 have seen the Dominican Republic’s economy growing at one of the fastest rates in the hemisphere over the past ten years.
Geography information on Dominican Republic
Geographical Position: Caribbean Sea & North Atlantic Ocean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, eastern neighbour of Haiti.
Latitude & Longitude: : 19 degrees 00 North, 70 degrees 40 West
Total Area of country:
Total: 48,700 square kilometres
Land: 48,350 square kilometres
Water: 350 square kilometres
Land border lengths: Total: 360 kilometres Neighbouring Countries: only Haiti 360 kilometres.
Length of Coast: 1,288 kilometres
Maritime claims -contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 6 NM
Climate information on
tropical maritime; consistent seasonal temperatures with small variation; some seasonal variation precipitation.
rugged mountains with lush, fertile valleys.
Elevation highs & lows:
lowest elevation: Lago Enriquillo 46 metres below sealevel
highest elevation: Pico Duarte 3,170 metres
Country’s Natural resources:
nickel mining, bauxite (aluminium), gold mining, silver mining
cultivated land: 21%
cropping land: 9%
other: 69% (1998 estimate)
2,600 square kilometres (1998 estimate)
Natural geographical risks: in hurricane belt, severe storms from June through to October; some flooding; droughts.
People information on Dominican Republic
Population - Dominican Republic: 8,715,000 (July 2003 estimate)
Age Distribution: - Dominican Republic: under age 14 yrs: 33%
between 15 & 64 yrs: 61%
age 65+: 5%
Total: 23 years
male: 23 years
female: 23 years (2002)
Population rate growth: 1% (2003 estimate)
23 births per thousand population (2003 estimate)
6 deaths per thousand (2003 estimate)
Rate of Net Migration:
-3 migrant(s)per thousand population (2003 estimate)
Infant mortality rate
Total: 34 deaths per thousand live births
female: 31 deaths per thousand live births (2003 estimate)
male: 36 deaths per thousand live births
Life Expectancy: Total population: 67 years
male: 66 years female: 69 years (2003 estimate)
Name given to People: Dominican(s)
Racial groupings: white 16%, black 11%, mixed 73%
Religions Roman Catholic 95%
Literacy: : definition: age 15 and over can read and write Total population: 84% male: 84% female: 84% (2003 estimate)
Government information on Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic - Republica Dominicana
System of Government Democracy
Capital Santo Domingo
Independence: 27 February 1844 from neighbour Haiti
Date of Independence 27 February (1844)
Legal & Law System: : based on French civil codes
Voting system: : universal at 18 years of age
Head of State : President
Cabinet of country: Cabinet nominated by the president. Election system: president and vice president elected by vote for 4-years term of office.
Economy information Dominican Republic
Rapid growth over the last ten years. Severly affected by Hurricane Georges in 1998. Mainly an exporter of sugar, tobacco. coffee, more recently the service sector and tourism and free trade zones have surpassed them in economic importance.
Disparate income inequality; the poorest 50% take less than 1/5th of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoy about 40% of national income.
GDP: - $USD53 billion (2002 estimate)
GDP growth rate: 4% (2002 estimate)
GDP per head of population: - $USD6,100 (2002 estimate)
GDP make-up by sector:
agriculture sector : 11%
industrial sector: 34%
service sector: 55% (2001)
Population below level of poverty: 25%
Household % income: lowest 10%: 2% highest 10%: 37% (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2002 estimate)
Unemployment rate 14% (2002 estimate)
revenues: $USD2 billion
expenditures: $USD3 billion, including capital spending of $USD1 billion (2001 estimate)
Industries tourism, sugar processing, nickel and gold mining, textiles, apparel, cement, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2001 estimate)
Exports $USD5 billion (2002 estimate)
Exports - partners: US 87%, Netherlands 1%, Canada 0%, France 0% (2000)
Imports $USD8 billion (2002 estimate)
Imports - partners: US 60%, Japan 10%, Mexico 4%, Venezuela 3% (2000)
Debt - external: $USD4 billion (2002 estimate)
Economic aid - recipient: $USD238 million (1995)
Currency Dominican peso (DOP)
Currency code: DOP
Communications information on Dominican Republic
Telephones - main lines 710,000 (1997)
Radio Stations - Dominican Republic: AM x120, FM x56, SW 4 (1998)
TV Stations - Dominican Republic: 25 (1997)
Internet Code - Dominican Republic: .do
Transport, Travel and Tourism Dominican Republic
Railways - Dominican Republic: Total: 1,503 kilometres standard gauge: 375 kilometres 1-m gauge note:: 986 kilometres also operated by sugar companies in 1-m, 0-m, and 0-m gauges (2002) narrow gauge: 142 kilometres 0-m gauge
Roading - Dominican Republic: Total: 12,600 kilometres paved roading: 6,224 kilometres unpaved roading: 6,376 kilometres (1996)
Navigable Waterways - Dominican Republic: none
Pipeline Distances - Dominican Republic: crude oil 96 kilometres; petroleum & petroleum by-products 8 kilometres
Commercial Harbours/Ports - Dominican Republic: Barahona, La Romana, Manzanillo, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, Santo Domingo
Airports-Aerodromes - Dominican Republic: 30 (2002)
Military Dominican Republic
Military groupings & departments : Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police Military Spending - dollar figure: $USD180 million (FY98)
Military Spending - percent of GDP:1% (FY98)
International Issues Dominican Republic
Border disputes over Haitians continuing to cross into the Dominican Republic . Transshipment point for drugs destined for the United States and Europe.
Flag of Dominican Republic
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and its history, information and facts.
Map of Dominican Republic
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History of Dominican Republic
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and historical facts.
Info sourced and adapted from the CIA Factbook .
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