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Republica Dominica

Background:

Explored and claimed by 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. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of its subsequent history was brought to an end in 1966 when Joaquin BALAGUER became president. He 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. The Dominican economy has had one of the fastest growth rates in the hemisphere over the past decade.

Geography

Location:

Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti

Geographic coordinates:

19 00 N, 70 40 W

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean

Area:

total: 48,730 sq km
land: 48,380 sq km
water: 350 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire

Land boundaries:

total: 360 km
border countries: Haiti 360 km

Coastline:

1,288 km

Maritime claims:

contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 6 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

Climate:

tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall

Terrain:

rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m

Natural resources:

nickel, bauxite, gold, silver

Land use:

arable land: 21.08%
permanent crops: 9.92%
other: 69% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:

2,590 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation; Hurricane Georges damage

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:

shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti (eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic, western one-third is Haiti)

People

Population:

8,715,602 (July 2003 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 33.6% (male 1,497,777; female 1,431,104)
15-64 years: 61.2% (male 2,719,505; female 2,614,495)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 212,045; female 240,676) (2003 est.)

Median age:

total: 23.5 years
male: 23.3 years
female: 23.7 years (2002)

Population growth rate:

1.36% (2003 est.)

Birth rate:

23.94 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate:

6.88 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:

-3.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2003 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 34.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 31.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 36.7 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 67.96 years
male: 66.41 years
female: 69.58 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.92 children born/woman (2003 est.)

Nationality:

noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups:

white 16%, black 11%, mixed 73%

Religions:

Roman Catholic 95%

Languages:

Spanish

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.7%
male: 84.6%
female: 84.8% (2003 est.)

Government

Country name:

conventional long form: Dominican Republic
conventional short form: none
local long form: Republica Dominicana
local short form: none

Government type:

representative democracy

Capital:

Santo Domingo

Administrative divisions:

29 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Baoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, Elias Pina, El Seibo, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, Sanchez Ramirez, San Cristobal, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Valverde

Independence:

27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 27 February (1844)

Constitution:

28 November 1966

Legal system:

based on French civil codes

Suffrage:

18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age
note: members of the armed forces and police cannot vote

Source: CIA World Factbook