Dominican Republic: Culture & History
The Taino Indians were the first settlers in the country of the Dominican Republic. There is still there a minute presence of them there. These people were quiet and worked on the agricultural aspects of the country. The country has subsequent been dominated by external leaders from Spain, France and the United States.
Christopher Columbus gave the country the name Hispaniola when he "discovered" it in 1492. Santo Domingo, the Capital was built between the years 1496 and 1498. It was the first European city in the western hemisphere. It hosted the first catholic cathedral, the first hospital and the first university. The entire island had been under the Spanish influence for 200 years, until 1767 when the western third of the island was given to France under the Treaty of Ryswick. France gained control over the entire island in 1797 under the Treaty of Basle.
There was a slave revolt in the French one-third portion of the island that was lead by Toussaint L'Ouverture, which gave that portion its independence of what is now called Haiti. This revolt had no effect on the two-thirds portion of what is now called the Dominican Republic. Haiti was now free but the Dominican Republic continued to be ruled by France. Juan Sanchez Ramirez returned the Dominican Republic back to Spain in an epic battle in 1809. Finally, in 1821 a revolt was lead by Jose Nunez de Caceres, managed to gain its independence from Spain. This freedom from Spanish control did not grant the Dominican people their true independence as the French enacted their political control from Haiti, the year after independence and this continued for the next twenty years.
Finally, in 1844, the Dominican Republic obtained its true independence when it was lead by Juan Pablo Duarte. There was great instability as they were some who felt that it should be returned to Spanish control, and, the French were still trying to destabilize the country.
The United States intervened into the Dominican Republic in 1905 because the big banks need to collect on their loans. They then sent troops into the country and took the country over by force and the troops remained there until 1924. A dictator in the form of Rafael Trujillo took control of the government in 1930 and gave it its most stable government it has ever had. He was assassinated in 1961.
Juan Bosch was democratically elected in 1962 but there was a civil revolt, which enabled the United States to intervene again with their military. The country has had democratic governments since 1966 with a number of elections held since then.