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Dominican Republic


The Dominican Republic was first explored by Columbus in 1492. He named it La Espanola and made his son, Diego, its first viceroy. Its capital, Santo Domingo was founded in 1496. To date, the country has continued to suffer economically, politically and socially due to the errors of colonizers and its subsequent leadership.

After Columbus, the Dominican colonizers were ruthless and led to the reduction of natives, Tainos, from 1 million to 500 in a period of 50 years. In 1503, during the era of Spanish colonization, African natives were brought to the island to provide labor in the plantations. Later, French settlers occupied the western part of the island and Spain ceded to it. In 1804, that part of island became the republic of Haiti.

Afterwards, the Haitians conquered the whole island in 1822 and ruled up to 1844, when Juan Pablo drove them out and established the Dominican Republic. Voluntarily, Dominicans returned to the Spanish empire in 1861 but regained their independence in 1865. However, due to economic instability and internal conflicts, the US government established a military government until 1924. The country was then ruled by one of the most corrupt leaders, Rafael Leonidas. He tortured, murdered, and suppressed the opposition until his time of assassination, in 1961.

Evidently, Dominican Republic suffers from income inequalities, with many poor people receiving less than one fifth of the entire GDP while 10 percent enjoy 40 percent. Despite the fact that the economy has been growing significantly, the unemployment and poverty levels are high and worrying. Surveys indicate that the country ranks below other Caribbean countries because of the inability to conduct the necessary reforms through its leadership. Precisely, the country lacks the necessary political and social infrastructure to boost the economy. The roots of democracy in the republic are not deep, but rather, authoritarian governments have been ruling for ages.

Since the era of colonization, the international climate has not favored democracy and development of the republic. The tensions in the region have made it difficult for the country to do exports of the primary products. Further, it has been subjected to the fluctuating world markets of all its products. Further still, its position near the major lanes that link south and North American has exposed the country to international politics and conflicts. Today, though many efforts are being made to ensure that the country remains stable economically and political, its historical background has limited Dominican Republic from progressing.

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