The Dominican Republic is an amazing island with a diverse landscape featuring towering mountains, tropical rain forests, dry desert spaces, and over 1,000 miles of coastline. Contemporary urban cities like Santo Domingo and Santiago mix with small, rural villages from days gone by. For those of us who are transplants to the DR, we are captured by the charm and friendliness of its people, the beauty of its landscapes, and the incredible tropical weather that is always warm and pleasant. The DR has one of the biggest tourist markets in the Caribbean with thousands of people vacationing here from around the world each year.
All modern services can be found including some innovative technology (like fiber optic Internet) only just being placed in many North American cities. Our medical system is excellent with skilled doctors and well equipped hospitals. The democratic government is very forward thinking and foreign investment friendly, understanding that the future is based on education for the Dominican people, investment in technology, eco-tourism, and moving toward the future by spending its money in the most advantageous ways.
Explored and claimed by Christopher 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 followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo from 1930-61. Juan Boschwas elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore Bosch
In 1966, Joaquin Balaguer defeated Bosch in an election to become president. Balaguer 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. Former President (1996-2000) Leonel Fernandez Reyna won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was since reelected to a second consecutive term.