Once ruled by Spain, the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, a former French colony.
The Caribbean nation is a major tourist destination. This, coupled with free-trade zones, has become the country’s major employer and key sources of revenue, replacing dependence on sugar, coffee and other exports.
The Dominican Republic is inhabited mostly by people of mixed European and African origins. Western influence is seen in the colonial buildings of the capital, Santo Domingo, as well as in art and literature. African heritage is reflected in music.
- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
- Capital: Santo Domingo
- Population 10.2 million
- Area 48,072 sq km (18,696 sq miles)
- Major language Spanish
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 71 years (men), 77 years (women)
- Currency Dominican peso