The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of a shared island with Haiti. The island was originally founded as the first Spanish colony of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and it wasn’t until 1844 that the Dominican Republic became its own nation. Santo Domingo is the capital city, located on the southern coast. It is the largest city and port in the country, and it is said that Christopher Columbus’ remains are located in one of the city’s cathedrals.
Today, the Dominican Republic is a democratic nation, but the people first had to endure a long string of repressive governments. It is a highly agricultural country, with the main crops being sugarcane, coffee, tobacco and cocoa. However, as tourism grows, it is challenging agriculture for the #1 spot in the economic sector. Sadly, there is a high rate for underemployment and income inequality – the poorest half of the country’s people hold less than a one fifth of the money.