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Dominican Republic


National name
Rep�blica Dominicana/Dominican Republic Area 48,442 sq km/18,703 sq mi Capital Santo Domingo Language Spanish (official) Religion Roman Catholic Time difference GMT -4 Major holidays 1, 6, 21, 26 January, 27 February, 1 May, 16 August, 24 September, 25 December; variable: Corpus Christi, Good Friday


Major towns/cities Santiago, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, San Francisco de Macoris, La Vega, San Juan, San Crist�bal Physical features comprises eastern two-thirds of island of Hispaniola; central mountain range with fertile valleys; Pico Duarte 3,174 m/10,417 ft, highest point in Caribbean islands Airports seven international airports; most main cities have domestic airports; total passengers carried: 10,000 (1999) Railways total length: 517 km/321 mi; no passenger services Roads total road network: 12,600 km/7,830 mi. of which 49.4% paved (1999 est); passenger cars: 81.8 per 1,000 people (1999)


Head of state and government Leonel Fern�ndez Reyna from 2004 Political system liberal democracy Political executive limited presidency Administrative divisions 29 provinces and a national district (Santo Domingo) Political parties Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), moderate, left of centre; Christian Social Reform Party (PRSC), independent socialist; Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), nationalist Death penalty abolished in 1966 Armed forces 24,500; plus paramilitary forces of 15,000 (2006 est) Conscription military service is voluntary Defence spend (% GDP) 0.7 (2005 est) Education spend (% GDP) 2.3 (2003 est) Health spend (% GDP) 2.3 (2004)


Currency Dominican Republic peso GDP (US$) 28.3 billion (2005 est) Real GDP growth (% change on previous year) 5.5 (2006 est) GNI (US$) 21.1 billion (2005 est) GNI per capita (PPP) (US$) 7,150 (2005 est) Consumer price inflation 8.5% (2006 est) Unemployment 18% (2004 est) Labour force 15.9% agriculture, 21.1% industry, 63% services (2003) Foreign debt (US$) 8 billion (2005 est) Major trading partners USA, South Korea, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Canada Resources ferro-nickel, gold, silver Industries food processing (including sugar refining), petroleum refining, beverages, chemicals, cement Exports ferro-nickel, raw sugar and derivatives, molasses, coffee, cocoa, tobacco and derivatives, gold, silver. Principal market: USA 78.8% (2005) Imports consumer goods, food and live animals, basic manufactures, machinery and transport equipment, mineral fuels. Principal source: USA 44.9% (2005) Arable land 22.5% (2006 est) Agricultural products sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, bananas, tobacco, rice, tomatoes


Population 9,021,500 (2006 est) Population growth rate 1.4% (2005�10) Population density (per sq km) 186 (2006 est) Urban population (% of total) 60 (2005 est) Age distribution (% of total population) 0�14 33%, 15�59 61%, 60+ 6% (2005 est) Ethnic groups about 73% of the population are mulattos, of mixed European and African descent; about 16% are European; 11% African Life expectancy 65 (men); 72 (women) (2005�10) Child mortality rate (under 5, per 1,000 live births) 32 (2004) Education (compulsory years) 9 Literacy rate 84% (men); 84% (women) (2004 est)


Physicians (per 10,000 people) 19 (2004 est) Hospital beds (per 1,000 people) 2.1 (2003 est) HIV infection (% of population aged 15�49) 0.3 (2005 est) AIDS deaths 6,700 (2005 est) Access to drinking-water source (% of total population) 98 (urban); 85 (rural) (2002)


Landline telephones (per 100 people) 10.1 (2005 est) Mobile phone subscribers (per 100 people) 40.7 (2005 est) Radios (per 1,000 people) 181 (1999 est) TV sets (per 1,000 people) 225 (2005 est) Internet users (per 100 people) 10.5 (2005 est)


14th century Settled by Carib Indians, who followed an earlier wave of Arawak Indian immigration. 1492 Visited by Christopher Columbus, who named it Hispaniola (�Little Spain�). 1496 At Santo Domingo the Spanish established first European settlement in western hemisphere, which became capital of all Spanish colonies in America. first half of 16th century Around 300,000 Arawaks and Caribs died as a result of enslavement and exposure to European diseases; black African slaves brought in to work island's gold and silver mines. 1697 Divided between France, which held west (Haiti), and Spain, which held east (Dominican Republic, or Santo Domingo). 1795 Santo Domingo ceded to France. 1808 Following revolt by Spanish Creoles with British support, Santo Domingo retaken by Spain. 1821 Became briefly independent after uprising against Spanish rule; fell under the control of Haiti. 1844 Separated from Haiti to form Dominican Republic. 1861�65 Under Spanish protection. 1904 USA took over near-bankrupt republic's debts. 1916�24 Temporarily occupied by US forces. 1930 Military coup established personal dictatorship of Gen Rafael Trujillo Molina. 1937 Army massacred 19,000�20,000 Haitians living in Dominican provinces adjoining frontier. 1961 Trujillo assassinated. 1962 First democratic elections resulted in Juan Bosch, founder of left-wing Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), becoming president. 1963 Bosch overthrown in military coup. 1965 30,000 US marines intervened to restore order and protect foreign nationals after Bosch attempted to seize power. 1966 New constitution adopted. Joaqu�n Balaguer, prot�g� of Trujillo and leader of the centre-right Christian Social Reform Party (PRSC), became president. 1978 PRD returned to power. 1985 PRD president Jorge Blanco forced by International Monetary Fund to adopt austerity measures to save economy. 1986 PRSC returned to power. 1996 Leonel Fernandez of left-wing PLD elected president. 2000 Presidential elections won by social democrat Hip�lito Mej�a. 2003 Demonstrations against government economic policies led to clashes with police. 2004 Presidential elections were won by PLD leader Leonel Fernandez. Severe flooding in southwest left more than 2,000 dead or missing. 2005 National Congress approved joining Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA, thereafter known as CAFTA-DR). 2007 Dominican Republic formally entered CAFTA-DR.