Dominican Republic
A country of the West Indies on the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola. Originally inhabited by Arawaks, it was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and remained a Spanish colony until 1795, when it was ceded to France. Ruled by Haiti after 1821, the country became independent in 1844 but has had a turbulent history, including many years of dictatorship under Rafael Trujillo Molina (1930-1961). Santo Domingo is the capital and the largest city. Population: 7,760,000.

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