The Dominican Republic is a small country off Central America. It occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola that lies in the Caribbean Sea. The smaller parcel of the island is occupied by Haiti.
The island was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and named it La Hispaniola, in honor of the Kingdom of Spain. Essentially, the island became the first European settlement in this part of the world. By 1697, the Spanish administrators of the island shared half of the island of Hispaniola with the French and eventually acknowledged French control over the area now known as Haiti.
The Spanish-occupied territory, Santo Domingo, declared independence from Spain in 1821, but was conquered by Haiti a little later. The occupation lasted for more than two decades, and when independence was finally attained, Santo Domingo was renamed as the Dominican Republic. The early years of the Dominican Independence was dominated by a long period of economic and political turmoil and equality. This was highlighted with the presidency of Joaquin Balaguer which began in 1966 and ended in 1996. Since then, however, the economy of the country has steadily progressed.
The Dominican Republic is classified as an upper middle income economy and the second most developed country in Central America. The nation’s is widely acclaimed for its advanced communication and transportation problems, although electricity remains a decades-old problem that plagues most of the population.
Population. Ranked 85th in 2013.
GDP per capita. Ranked 84th in 2012.
48,320 sq km
Sq. km. Ranked 123th in 2008.