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People and Society






The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it 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. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930 to 1961. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER 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. Former President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (first term 1996-2000) won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was since reelected to a second consecutive term.


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Military branches
Army, Navy (Marina de Guerra, includes naval infantry), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2011)

Military service age and obligation
16-21 years of age for compulsory military service; recruits must be Dominican Republic citizens; women may volunteer (2010)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 2,580,083
Females age 16-49 2,464,698 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 2,188,358
Females age 16-49 2,090,180 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 100,047
Female 96,302 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 151
0.7% of GDP (2009)


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  Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo):

  GPS points from Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)

La Isleta Provincia De San Juan

Los Catuanes Provincia Sanchez Ramirez

Arroyo Los Calabazos Provincia De Azua

El Rincon Provincia De Monte Cristi

Sigua Salcedo

Higuero Provincia De Barahona

Los Cascajales Provincia Sanchez Ramirez

Loma El Fundo Provincia De Barahona
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