The Cradle of the Americas
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This is where it all began

History of the Dominican Republic.

Explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland.In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844.

In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865.A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of its subsequent history was brought to an end in 1966 when Joaquin BALAGUER became president. He maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996.

Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. The Dominican economy has had one of the fastest growth rates in the hemisphere over the past decade.The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 square kilometers (18,704 sq mi) and an estimated 10 million people.

Not to be confused with Dominica.

Geography

The Dominican Republic is situated on the eastern part of the second-largest island in the Greater Antilles, Hispaniola. It shares the island roughly at a 2:1 ratio with Haiti. The country�s area is reported variously as 48,442 km� and 48,730 km�, making it the second largest country in the Antilles, after Cuba. The country�s capital and greatest metropolitan area, Santo Domingo, is located on the southern coast.

Topography

The country�s mainland has four important mountain ranges. The most northerly is the Cordillera Septentrional, which extends from the northwestern coastal town of Monte Cristi, near the Haitian border, to the Saman� Peninsula in the east, running parallel to the Atlantic coast. The highest range in the Dominican Republic � indeed, in the whole of the West Indies � is the Cordillera Central. It gradually bends southwards and finishes near the town of Azua, on the Caribbean coast. In the Cordillera Central are found the four highest peaks in the Caribbean: Pico Duarte (3,098 meters / 10,164 feet) above sea level), La Pelona (3,094 meters / 10,151 feet), La Rucilla (3,049 meters / 10,003 feet) and Pico Yaque (2,760 meters / 9,055 feet).

Climate

The climate of the Dominican Republic is mostly tropical. The annual average temperature is 25 �C (77 �F). At higher elevations, the temperature averages 18 �C (64.4 �F) while near sea level the average temperature is 28 �C (82.4 �F). Low temperatures of 0 �C (32 �F) are possible in the mountains while high temperatures of 40 �C (104 �F) are possible in protected valleys. January and February are the coldest months of the year, while August is the hottest month. Some snowflakes can fall in rare occasions on the top of the Pico Duarte.

The wet season along the northern coast lasts from November through January. Elsewhere, the wet season stretches from May through November, with May being the wettest month. Average annual rainfall is 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) countrywide, with individual locations in the Valle de Neiba seeing averages as low as 350 millimeters (13.8 in) while the Cordillera Oriental averages 2,740 millimeters (107.9 in). The driest portion of the country lies in the west. Tropical cyclones impact the country every couple of years, with 65 percent of the impacts along the southern coast. Hurricanes are most likely between August and October.


The capital Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Nobody can visit the Dominican Republic without knowing its Magical, Historical, Romantic and first city founded in America.. Santo Domingo city, capital of Dominican Republic, the country's largest city and chief seaport, coextensive with the National District. Located at the point where the Ozama River. Flows into the Caribbean Sea, the city has a fine artificial harbor accessible to most commercial and passenger ships. It is connected by both ship and airlines with principal points in North and South America and is at the hub of a network of modern roads.

Santo Domingo is a tourist, economic, and administrative center. It is the site of factories manufacturing processed foods, alcoholic beverages, metal products, chemicals, cement, and textiles and serves as a distribution outlet for the sugarcane, beef and cattle, and other products of the surrounding region.

Points of interest include the Cathedral of Santa Mar�a la Menor (built 1514�20), believed to contain the remains of Christopher Columbus; the palace (built 1510; a museum since 1957) of Diego Columbus (in Spanish Diego Col�n; c. 1480�1526), son of Christopher Columbus and a viceroy of the island (1511�26); 16th-century churches, such as San Nicol�s and San Francisco; and the fortified walls of the original Spanish town.

Educational institutions include the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (1538), said to be the oldest university in the Americas, and Pedro Henr�quez Ure�a National University (1966). Cultural institutions include the National Gallery of Art (1943); the Museum of Dominican Man (formerly the National Museum, 1973), known for its pre-Columbian collection; the Museum of Modern Art (1976); the National Library (1971); and various public, private, and university libraries. Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (1445?�1514?), brother of Christopher Columbus, the city is the oldest European settlement extant in the New World.

In 1930 it was heavily damaged by a hurricane but was subsequently rebuilt. In 1936 it was renamed Ciudad Trujillo for the Dominican President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. It became Santo Domingo again in 1961 after the assassination of Trujillo and the subsequent fall of his regime. In 1965 the city was the scene of an uprising against the country's ruling government.

No other city in the Caribbean has a greater variety of restaurants and night life. There are so many restaurants in this city that it is practically impossible even for those who live here to have visited them all. And it's a city that never sleeps.

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