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Dominican Republic

map_dominican republicTrading Partner: FEDECARES

Country Statistics:

  • Total Population: 9,956,648 (2011)
  • Life expectancy at birth: 77 years (2011)
  • Per capita income (purchasing power parity): $8,600 US (2010)
  • Exports: ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods (Tourism is the country's largest industry)
  • Ethnicities
    -Mestizo: 73%
    -White: 16%
    -Black: 11%
  • Language: Spanish

Background:

Mama Guerra

Known for its talented baseball players and its playful merengue rhythm, the Dominican Republic is also an extremely popular vacation destination for North Americans.  But beyond the all-inclusive resorts and colorful hotels, a lively, hard-working, and friendly culture waits to be explored.

The Dominican Republic is a middle-income developing country primarily dependent on trade and services, especially tourism. Although the service sector has recently overtaken agriculture as the leading employer of Dominicans, agriculture remains the most important sector in terms of domestic consumption and is in second place (behind mining) in terms of export earnings. According to the 2005 Annual Report of the United Nations Subcommittee on Human Development in the Dominican Republic, the country is ranked # 71 in the world for resource availability, # 94 for human development, and # 14 in the world for resource mismanagement. These statistics emphasize the national government corruption, the foreign economic interference in the country, and the rift between the rich and poor.

The Dominican Republic is located on the island Hispanola which it shares with its French-speaking neighbor, Haiti.  Though the island was originally occupied by the Tainos, an Arawak-speaking people, their population was reduced from one million to about 500 in the first decades of colonial rule.  The Dominican Republic was the first European settlement in the New World and became the first point of colonisation in the Americas from explorers from Europe.  Beginning in the early 1500s, African slaves were imported to serve the Spanish empire on vast plantations spread over the island.   In 1697, Spain recognised French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became independent Haiti after a slave rebellion.

The Haitians conquered the whole island in 1822 and held it until 1844, when forces led by Juan Pablo Duarte, the hero of Dominican independence, drove them out and established the Dominican Republic as an independent state.  The United States ruled Dominican territory with a military government from 1916 to 1924. From 1931 to his assassination in 1961 dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic. During this time, the nation experienced social and economic progress at the expense of democratic freedom and human rights.

The years following Trujillo's dictatorship were characterized by attempts at democracy, military coups, and US intervention.  Throughout the 1980s, the DR suffered from a deeply ailing economy which directly impacted the country's population through high food prices and problems with the delivery of basic services - all of which culminated in a paralyzing nationwide strike in 1989.  The 1990s brought neo-liberal reforms via IMF recommendations and in 2004, President Mejia signed a free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the United States and five Central American countries.  The current President, Leonel Fernández, works closely with the United States on law enforcement and immigration and counter-terrorism matters.

For detailed PDF map of Latin America and the Carribbean

More Info on Dominican Republic

For general information about the Specialty Coffee production in Dominican Republic, like its history see this link.

Roast Magazine created a whole profile dedicated to coffee production in the Dominican Republic.

Resources:

CIA World Factbook Country Profile

US State Department Profile

UNICEF country profile

Dominican Republic official website

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