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Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola. Hispaniola is in the Caribbean, east of Cuba and west of Puerto Rico.  Unlike Haiti, which occupies the western part of the island, Spanish is the official language.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in what is now Haiti, and it became the center of Spanish administration.  The people of what is now the Dominican Republic won independence from Haiti in 1821, but were forcefully brought back to Haiti in 1822. In the War of Dominican Independence, the Dominican Republic successfully separated from Haiti, but fell under Spanish colonial rule until 1865, in the War of Dominican Restoration.
After a period of unsteady government, including an occupation by the US, Trujillo had a 31-year brutal dictatorship.
The Dominican Republic has the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Tourism is also a major industry, since the Dominican Republic has the earliest major architecture—cathedral, castle and fortress in the Americas, plus a high degree of biodiversity.
Capital: Santo Domingo
Area: 16,704 sq. mi
Population: 10,075,045

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