The Dominican Republic


The Dominican Republic Essay, Research Paper

The Dominican Republic is one of the many Spanish speaking countries in the world. The Dominican Republic, republic of the West Indies, compromising the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. The word Dominican Republic in Spanish means Republica Dominicana. The capitol of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo.

The population of the Dominican Republic is of mixed Spanish and black-African descent. The society is about sixty five percent urban. The population of the Dominican Republic in 1995 was about seven million, nine hundred and fifteen thousand (7,915,000) people. This gives the country a population density of about one hundred sixty two person per square kilometer.

The Dominican Republic is divided into twenty nine provinces plus the Distrito Nacional . It also includes the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. Each province is subdivided into municipalities and townships. Some important cities are Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballlereos, San Pedro de Macrois. Santo Domingo is the leading port and has an estimated population of two million and four hundred thousand (2,400,000) persons. Santiago de los Caballeros is a trade and transportation center with a population of half a million people. San Pedro de Macoris, a seaport has a population of seventy eight thousand and five hundred sixty two(78,562) persons.

The Dominican Republic consists of mainly Spanish speakers. Spanish is the official language of the Dominica Republic. English is also spoken and a French dialect is spoken. The religion of the Dominican Republic mostly Roman Catholicism. There is small Protestant community and some are Spiritists.

The Dominican Republic has a length of in an east to west direction of about three hundred eighty kilometers and a maximum width, in the west, of about two hundred sixty five kilometers. The frontier with Haiti is about three hundred fifteen kilometers long. The Dominican also have possession to many islands. Such islands as Beata and Saona.

The Dominican Republic is a very fertile land, well watered and very mountainous. About eighty percent of the country is covered with a series of mountain ranges, extending in a northwestern to southeastern direction. The most fertile region is in the Valley of Cibao and the coastal plains are also very fertile. The Dominican Republic has many rivers and streams.

The Dominican Republic has a semitropical climate. Temperatures of more than seventy four degrees Fahrenheit are registered in the lowlands throughout the year. During the summer months temperatures range from eighty to ninety degrees Fahrenheit in the lowlands. The highland are much cooler and receive about sixty inches of precipitation each year. The wet season is from June to November. Tropical Hurricanes occur occasionally.

The main resources of the Dominican Republic is mainly agriculture. The fertile soil is instrumental to farming and many of the mountains are covered with forests. The country also has valuable deposits of nickel, gold and silver.

The Dominican Republic?s vegetation is much like that of the other islands of the West Indies. The vegetation varies and luxuriant. Among the many species of indigenous trees are mahogany, rosewood and pine. Many species of useful plants and fruits are common, including rice, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, yams, banana, pineapple and grapes.

The history of the Dominian Republic starts at the aboriginal inhabitants of Hispaniola were Arawak people, engaged principally in farming and fishing. They eventually became extinct as a result of exploitation by Spanish colonists. Black slaves were later imported to take the place of the Arawak. In time the Spanish migrated from Hispaniola to South America, and for about a century the island was sparsely populated. In 1697, by the Peace of Ryswick, the portion of Hispaniola that had been occupied by French adventurers was formally ceded to France and became known as Saint-Domingue; it is now Haiti. The remaining Spanish section, what is now the Dominican Republic, was called Santo Domingo.

In 1795, Spain finally ceded Santo Domingo to France. During the years that followed, the country was caught up in the convulsions of neighboring Haiti, as well as indigenous mixed-race and black people. When Haiti removed the French in 1804, Santo Domingo remained under French occupation for another five years. Then the French were expelled and Spanish rule restored. After 1814, however, the Spanish administration became increasingly tyrannical, and in 1821 the Dominicans rose in revolt, proclaiming their independence. The following year Haitian President Jean Pierre Boyer led his troops into the country and annexed it to Haiti, thus bringing the entire island under his control. Boyer ruled until overthrown by a revolution in 1844. A year later Santo Domingo again declared its independence, forming the Dominican Republic.

The Trujillo Era was an outstanding political development of the

dictatorship established by General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. He was elected to the presidency in 1930.. For the next 31 years, although he personally occupied the presidency only half that time, Trujillo presided over one of the tightest dictatorships in the world. With the military as the basis of his power, he and his family directed practically every aspect of the nation’s life. The national economy, while greatly expanded and modernized. Backed at first by the United States, Trujillo used this support to his own advantage. Discontent and criticism, widespread especially after World War II ended in 1945, were met with terror. The Trujillo era ended with the dictator’s assassination on May 26, 1961.

After the assassination, agitation mounted against the continued political dominance of the Trujillo family. Numerous exiles began to return home and political parties were reestablished. In October 1961 the two brothers of the late dictator left the country, but they returned apparently with the intention of seizing governmental power. President Joaqu?n Balaguer, reacted to the threat by assuming control of the armed forces. To demonstrate support of Balaguer, the United States stationed warships and planes off the Dominican coast. The show of force speedily induced all members of the Trujillo family to leave the country. Opposition groups, however, rallied against Balaguer; after a wave of strikes and demonstrations, he and his opponents agreed on a plan under which he would retain the presidency until sanctions were lifted. The sanctions were revoked in January 1962, and shortly afterward Rafael Bonnelly was designated president to serve until elections were held.

In December 1962 the Dominican Republic held its first free election in nearly four decades. Juan Bosch won by a wide margin and was inaugurated on February 27, 1963. Almost immediately, opposition to his regime began to develop. Bosch was criticized as being too tolerant of pro-Castro and Communist groups, and the business community felt threatened by changes in the country’s economic policy. On September 25 Bosch was deposed by a military coup and the leaders installed a three-man civilian junta. To indicate disapproval of the coup, the United States withheld recognition until the new regime promised to hold elections by 1965.

In the 1990 presidential election, Balaguer defeated Bosch by a narrow margin. He was reelected in 1994 but agreed to serve only a two-year term after he was accused of electoral fraud.

The Dominican Republic is governed under a constitution promulgated in 1966. The government contains a central government, a legislature, and a judiciary. There are also political parties.

The central power is like the Executive branch in the United States. Executive power in the Dominican Republic is vested in a president, who is popularly elected for a term of four years. The president appoints a cabinet and may also introduce bills in congress.

The legislature of the Dominican Republic has a bicameral congress. The congress is composed of an upper chamber called the Senate, which has 30 members. The lower chamber is called the Chamber of Deputies, with 120 deputies. All legislative members are popularly elected for terms of four years.

The Judiciary is also part of the government. The highest tribunal in the Dominican Republic is the Supreme Court of Justice, made up of a president and eight judges, all of whom are appointed by the Senate, and a procurator-general, appointed by the president. Lower courts include courts of first instance and courts of appeal.

There were also political parties. The Dominican party was the only legal party between 1930 and 1961, when it was dissolved and new parties were established. The principal parties in the late 1980s were the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, the Partido de la Liberac?on Dominicana ,and the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano. The Partido Reformista Social Cristiano draws support from the peasant and middle classes, the Partido de la Liberac?on Dominicana was formed by breakaway members of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, and the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano is composed largely of landless peasants and urban workers.

The Dominican Republic?s government has great concern for the health and welfare of its country. In 1964 the government of the Dominican Republic inaugurated a program aimed at raising health standards. Drainage systems, garbage disposal plants, and aqueducts were built in all of the larger cities. Several government agencies were established for the purpose of increasing water facilities in rural and urban areas.

The defense in government is one of great importance. In the early 1990s the armed forces of the Dominican Republic comprised an army of about 15,000, a navy of about 4000, and an air force of about 4200. The military is voluntary.

The economy of the Dominican Republic is mostly agricultural, and nearly half of the work force is employed in farming. The country also has an important mining sector. In the early 1990?s the estimated national budget included about eight million sixty five thousand dollars in revenues and about seven million eighty four thousand dollars in expenditures.

Agriculture is the main source of income. The principal cash crops of the Dominican Republic are raised on large plantations. Sugarcane is the main cash crop; the largest plantations are in the southeast. In the early 1990?s about 6.8 million metric tons of sugarcane were produced. Other important crops were rice, bananas, coffee and tobacco .Cattle, hogs, and poultry are raised primarily for local consumption.

Forestry and fishing are also essential to the economy .About 13 percent of the land of the Dominican Republic is forested. The main woods cut are mahogany, satinwood, pine, and cedar. The fishing industry is underdeveloped, mainly because of a lack of deep-sea fishing equipment and refrigeration facilities. The catch, which includes mackerel, tuna, bonito, and snapper, totaled about 17,200 metric tons annually in the early 1990?s.

Manufacturing is also very important. Sugar refining is a leading industrial activity in the Dominican Republic. Also produced were textiles, cement, cigars, cigarettes, fertilizer, molasses, refined petroleum, and processed wheat and rice.

Almost all the Dominican Republic’s electricity is produced in thermal plants. In the early 1990?s the country had an installed electricity-generating capacity of some 2.3 million kilowatts, and annual production was about five billion kilowatt-hours.

The unit of currency in the Dominican Republic is the peso. The republic has several commercial banks; one, the Banco de Reservas, is government controlled. The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic is the sole bank of issue.

Trade with foreign countries is essential to flourish in a worldwide market. The principal exports of the Dominican Republic are sugar, ferronickel, gold, coffee, cocoa, and tobacco. Sugar and sugar products usually make up more than one-third of all export earnings. Machinery, iron and steel, foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, and chemicals are leading imports. In the early 1990?s the total value of exports was about million thirty five thousand dollars per year and of imports about $1.8 billion. The United States is the leading trade partner of the Dominican Republic, followed by Venezuela, Mexico, and Japan. In 1995 the Dominican Republic joined the Association of Caribbean States, a free trade group. The Association of Caribbean States is composed of the members of the Caribbean Community and Common Market and 12 nations bordering the Caribbean.

The wage labor force of the Dominican Republic exceeded 2.3 million workers in the early 1990s. An estimated forty nine percent of all Dominican workers engaged in agriculture, eighteen percent in industry, and thirty three percent in services. The Confederaci?n de Trabajadores Dominicanos, and the Uni?n General de Trabajadores Dominicanos, two of the nation’s leading labor unions, merged in 1988.

In conclusion, the Dominican Republic is one of the many Spanish speaking countries, but has many qualities of the United States. The country went through much to gain independence just like the people in the United States did. There government is about similar to ours and they have a president who is elected by the people. The Dominican Republic will flourish as well as the United States.


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