Dominican Republic

History of the Dominican Republic

Brief history of the Dominican Republic summarized

A brief look at the summarized history of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic in its beginnings

The Dominican Republic is part of the island of Hispaniola. Before the arrival of the Europeans, a people called the Arawaks lived there. However, on December 6, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in the northwest and named the island Hispaniola.

Spanish settlers founded San Domingo in 1596. However, a hundred years after Columbus discovered Hispaniola, European disease and warfare had all but wiped out the Arawaks.

Meanwhile, the Spanish claimed ownership of the entire island, but settled mainly in the east, in what is now the Dominican Republic. During the 16th century, large numbers of African slaves were imported to the island and forced to work on the sugar plantations.

The west of the island was left largely empty and in the 17th century the French settled there. Finally, in 1697, the Spanish and the French signed the Treaty of Ryswick. France was given the western third of the island of Hispaniola. The rest remained in Spanish hands.

Haiti became independent in 1804, but in 1821 the Haitians occupied what is now the Dominican Republic. However, the Dominican Republic became independent in 1844. Its first president was Pedro Santana, but he became a dictator. The Dominican Republic also suffered from a series of invasions from Haiti.

In 1861 Santana made the Dominican Republic a province of Spain. The Spanish deposed him in 1862 and in 1863 the town revolted. A guerrilla war called the Restoration War began and the Spanish withdrew in 1867. Unfortunately, a period of political instability and internal disorder ensued in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic in the 20th century

In 1916 the US feared that Germany would intervene in the Dominican Republic by occupying the country. The US occupation lasted until 1924. Elections were then held and Horacio Vásquez became president of the Dominican Republic.

However, in 1930 Rafael Trujillo staged a coup and became dictator. Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic for 31 years until he was assassinated in 1961. Elections were held in 1962 and Juan Bosch led a new government. However, in 1963 the army staged a coup.

In 1965 the town revolted, but the US intervened. President Johnson sent US Marines to the Dominican Republic. A provisional government ruled for a year, until Joaquín Balaguer was elected president in 1966.

Balaguer was president until 1978 and under his command a certain economic development took place. He was replaced by Antonio Guzmán. He committed suicide in 1982.

Jorge Blanco was president of the Dominican Republic until 1986 when Balaguer replaced him. He was re-elected in 1990. In 1994 Balaguer was elected again, but the elections were rigged. However, to avoid violence, an agreement was reached with the opposition.

Balaguer agreed to resign after 2 years. In 1996 Leonel Fernández became president of the Dominican Republic. Fernández lost power in 2000 but was re-elected in 2004. He was elected again in 2012. Danilo Medina was elected in 2016.

Dominican Republic today

Today the Dominican Republic still exports sugar and coffee, but tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Although the Dominican Republic remains poor, the economy is growing strongly. The current population of the Dominican Republic is 10.7 million inhabitants.

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