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People of the Dominican Republic

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Map of the Dominican people around the world
Total population
14 million
Diaspora 2.5 million
Regions with significant populations
 Dominican Republic9,341,916 (2017)[1][2]
 United States2,393,718 (2021)[3][4]
 Spain190,190 (2021 census)[5][6]
 Puerto Rico54,025 (2021)[7][8]
 Italy48,000 (2020)(28,812 as 2022)[8]
 Chile19,481 (2021)[10]
 Venezuela14,743 (2015)[11]
 Germany11,091 (2015)[11]
 United Kingdom10,000[13][failed verification]
 Netherlands8,688 (2015)[11]
 Panama8,095 (2015)[11]
 U.S. Virgin Islands5,442[14][8]
 Sint Maarten4,000[8]
 France3,843 (2019)[15]
 Mexico2,849 (2020)[16]
 Turks and Caicos Islands2,000[8]
 British Virgin Islands2,000[8]
 Antigua and Barbuda2,000[8]
Dominican Spanish
Predominantly Roman Catholic;[18]
Related ethnic groups
Spaniards, other Latin Americans

Dominicans (Spanish: Dominicanos) are an ethno-national people, a people of shared ancestry and culture, who have ancestral roots in the Dominican Republic.[19][20] The Dominican ethnic group was born out of a fusion of European (mainly Spanish), native Taino, and African elements, this is a fusion that goes as far back as the 1500s.[19][21] Due to this fusion, all Dominicans are of mixed-race heritage,[22][23] tracing roots mainly to these three sources, the vast majority being evenly mixed,[24] and smaller numbers being predominantly European or African.[25] The demonym Dominican can be traced as far back as the 1621, the name came from Santo Domingo, which was not only the name of the capital city but also of the entire island at the time, Spain used this term to refer to the inhabitants of Spanish colony of Santo Domingo.[26][27] Recent immigrants and their children, who are legal citizens of the Dominican Republic, can be considered "Dominican" by nationality but not ethnicity due to not having ancestral roots in the country.

"Dominican" was historically the name for the inhabitants of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo, the site of the first Spanish settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Majority of Dominicans primarily trace their origin to the Captaincy General's European settlers, with native Taino and African influences.[28]

The majority of Dominicans reside in the Dominican Republic, while there is also a large Dominican diaspora, mainly in the United States and Spain. The total population of the Dominican Republic in 2016 was estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics of the Dominican Republic at 10.2 million, with 9.3 million of those being natives of the country, and the rest being of foreign origin.[2] The country has a right of blood citizenship law.


Historically the Dominican Republic was known as Santo Domingo, the name of its present capital and its patron saint, Saint Dominic. Hence the residents were called "Dominicanos" (Dominicans). The revolutionaries named their newly independent country "La República Dominicana". It was often referred to as the "Republic of San Domingo" in English language 19th century publications.[29]

The first recorded use of the word "Dominican" is found in a letter written by King Phillip IV of Spain in 1625 to the inhabitants of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo. In this letter, which was written before the arrival of French settlers on the Western side of the island, the King congratulates the Dominicans for their heroic efforts in defending the territory from an attack by a Dutch fleet. This letter can be found today in the "Archivo General de Indias" in Seville, Spain.[citation needed]

Another name that is commonly used is "Quisqueyans". In the national anthem of the Dominican Republic the author uses the term Quisqueyans instead of Dominicans. The word "Quisqueya" is derived from a native tongue of the Taino Indigenous People which means, "Great thing", "Big thing", or "Mother of all Lands." It is often used in songs as another name for the country.[citation needed]


Pre-European history[edit]

Prior to European colonization, the inhabitants of the island were the Arawakan-speaking Taíno, a seafaring people who moved into Hispaniola from the north-east region of South America, displacing earlier inhabitants,[30] c. AD 650. The native Tainos divided the island into several chiefdoms and engaged in farming, fishing,[31] as well as hunting, and gathering.[30]

The Spaniards arrived in 1492. Columbus and his crew were the first recorded Europeans to encounter the Taíno people. Columbus described the native Taínos as a physically tall and well-proportioned people, with a noble character. After initially amicable relationships, the Taínos fought against the conquest, led by the female Chief Anacaona of Xaragua and her ex-husband Chief Caonabo of Maguana, as well as Chiefs Guacanagaríx, Guamá, Hatuey, and Enriquillo. The latter's successes gained his people an autonomous enclave for a time on the island. Within a few years after the 1492 arrival, the population of Taínos had declined drastically, due to smallpox, measles, and other diseases that arrived with the Europeans. Census records from 1514 reveal that at least 40% of Spanish men in Santo Domingo were married to Taino women,[32] and many present-day Dominicans have significant Taíno ancestry.[33][34]

European colonization[edit]

Christopher Columbus arrived on the island in December 5, 1492, during the first of his four voyages to the Americas. He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Española due to its diverse climate and terrain which reminded him of the Spanish landscape. In 1496, Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher's brother, built the city of Santo Domingo, Western Europe's first permanent colonization in the "New World." The colony thus became the springboard for the further Spanish conquest of America and for decades the headquarters of Spanish colonial power in the hemisphere.[citation needed]

In 1501, the colony began to import African slaves. In 1697, after decades of armed struggles with the French, Spain ceded the western coast of the island to France with the Treaty of Ryswick, whilst the Central Plateau remained under Spanish domain.[citation needed]

By the middle of the 18th century, the population was bolstered by European emigration from the Canary Islands, resettling the northern part of the colony and planting tobacco in the Cibao Valley, and importation of slaves was renewed. After 1700, with the arrival of new Spanish colonists, the African holocaust resumed. However, as industry moved from sugar to cattle ranching, racial and caste divisions became less important, eventually leading to a blend of cultures—Spanish, African, and indigenous—which would form the basis of national identity for Dominicans.[35] It is estimated that the population of the colony in 1777 was 400,000, of which 100,000 were European, 70,000 African, 100,000 European/indigenous mestizo, 60,000 African/indigenous mestizo, and 70,000 African/European.[36]

Dominican privateers in the service of the Spanish Crown captured British, Dutch, French and Danish ships in the Caribbean Sea throughout the 18th century.[37]


Map of the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844 from the Haitian government, who tried to turn a Latin American country into becoming a pure black Caribbean country for 22 years of annexation by trying to force Dominicans to surrender their spanish language and the rest of their latin cultures. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865.[38] A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo from 1930 to 1961. Trujillo's regime carried out killings of thousands of Haitians and committed crimes in the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Mexico.[39] Raids on the national treasury enabled Trujillo to amass a net worth of 800 million dollars (5.3 billion dollars today).[40] It has been estimated that Trujillo's tyrannical rule was responsible for the death of more than 50,000 Dominicans. The Dominican Civil War of 1965 was ended by a United States-led intervention, and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer, the leader from 1966 to 1978. Since that time, the Dominican Republic has moved steadily toward representative democracy.

Genetics and ethnicities[edit]

Timeline of the Dominican Republic's genetic make-up since 500 years ago, showing a predominantly European-admixed founder population and increase of the African population in the later years. During most of its colonial period, the share of each ancestry group was as follows: 73% European, 10% Native, 17% African. After the 19th-century Haitian and Afro-Caribbean migrations the ratio changed to: 57% European, 8% Native and 35% African.[dubiousdiscuss]
  European DNA
  Native American DNA
  African DNA

According to a 2015 genealogical DNA study of the Dominican population, the genetic makeup was estimated to be predominantly European and Sub-Saharan African, with a lesser degree of Native American ancestry.[19] The average DNA of the Dominican founder population is estimated to be 42% European, 8% Native, and 50% African. After the Haitian and Afro-Caribbean migrations the overall percentage changed to 57% European, 8% Native and 35% African.[dubiousdiscuss]

Dominican Republic people in the town of Moca.

In a survey published in 2021, 74% self-identified as mixed (Indio[a] 45%, mulatto/moreno 25%, mestizo/jabao 2%), 18% as white, 8% black, and 0.5% as "other".[41] Previously, in the 1996 electoral roll, 82.5% of the adult population were Indio, 7.55% white, 4.13% black, and 2.3% mulatto.[42]

Other groups in the country include the descendants of West Asians—mostly Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians. A smaller, yet significant presence of East Asians (primarily ethnic Chinese and Japanese) can also be found throughout the population. Dominicans are also composed of Sephardic Jews that were exiled from Spain and the Mediterranean area in 1492 and 1497,[43] coupled with other migrations dating to the 1700s[44] and during the Second World War[45] contribute to Dominican ancestry.[46][47]

In recent times, Dominican and Puerto Rican researchers identified in the current Dominican population the presence of genes belonging to the aborigines of the Canary Islands (commonly called Guanches).[48] These types of genes have also been detected in Puerto Rico.[49]

In Dominican Republic[edit]

Dominican Republic's citizenship is given by right of blood (Jus sanguinis), not right of soil, meaning being born in Dominican Republic does not guarantee citizenship if parents are illegal immigrants,[50] one would either have to be born in Dominican Republic to parents who are legal citizens or apply for citizenship, citizenship is granted quite easily to people born abroad if they can prove Dominican ancestry.[51] This means that being a Dominican citizen and being a ethnic Dominican is not always interchangeable, as the former implies citizenship that one can receive moving from any country in the world to Dominican Republic, while the latter implies a people tied by ancestry and culture. Ethnic Dominicans are people who are not only born in Dominican Republic (and have legal status) or born abroad with ancestral roots in the country, but more importantly have family roots in the country going back several generations and descend from a mix of varying degrees of Spanish, Taino, and African, the three principal foundational roots of Dominican Republic.[22][52] Nearly all Dominicans are mixed race, with 75% being "visibly" and "evenly" mixed, and the remaining 25% being predominantly of African or European blood but still with notable admixture.[25] According to a 2017 estimate from the Dominican government, Dominican Republic had a population of 10,189,895, of which 847,979 were immigrants or descendants of recent immigrants and 9,341,916 were ethnic Dominicans.[1]

Immigration in the 20th and 21st centuries[edit]

In the twentieth century, many Chinese, Arabs (primarily from Lebanon and Syria), Japanese and to a lesser degree Koreans settled in the country, working as agricultural laborers and merchants. Waves of Chinese immigrants, the latter ones fleeing the Chinese Communist People's Liberation Army (PLA), arrived and worked in mines and building railroads. The current Chinese Dominican population totals 50,000 (2010 year).[53] The Arab community is also rising at an increasing rate.

Population of foreign origin (excluding Haitians) in the Dominican Republic, by regions.

In addition, there are descendants of immigrants who came from other Caribbean islands, including Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua, St. Vincent, Montserrat, Tortola, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. They worked on sugarcane plantations and docks and settled mainly in the cities of San Pedro de Macorís and Puerto Plata, they have a population of 28,000. There is an increasing number of Puerto Rican immigrants in and around Santo Domingo; they are believed to number at about 10,000. Before and during World War II 800 Jewish refugees moved to the Dominican Republic, and many of their descendants live in the town of Sosúa.[54] Nationwide, there are an estimated 100 Jews left.[55] Immigration from Europe and the United States is at an all-time high.[citation needed] 82,000 Americans (in 1999),[56] 40,000 Italians,[57] 1,900 French,[55] and 800 Germans.[55]

The 2010 Census registered 311,969 Haitians; 24,457 Americans; 6,691 Spaniards; 5,763 Puerto Ricans; and 5,132 Venezuelans.[58]

In 2012, the Dominican government made a survey of immigrants in the country and found that there were: 329,281 Haitian-born; 25,814 U. S.-born (excluding Puerto Rican-born); 7,062 Spanish-born; 6,083 Puerto Rican-born; 5,417 Venezuelan-born; 3,841 Cuban-born; 3,795 Italian-born; 3,606 Colombian-born; 2,043 French-born; 1,661 German-born; 1,484 Chinese-born; among others.[59][60][61][62]

In the second half of 2017, a second survey of foreign population was conducted in the Dominican Republic. The total population in the Dominican Republic was estimated at 10,189,895, of which 9,341,916 were Dominicans with no foreign background. According to the survey, the majority of the people with foreign background were of Haitian origin (751,080 out of 847,979, or 88.6%), breaking down as follows: 497,825 were Haitians born in Haiti, 171,859 Haitians born in the Dominican Republic and 81,590 Dominicans with a Haitian parent. Other main sources of foreign-born population were Venezuela (25,872), the United States (10,016), Spain (7,592), Italy (3,713), China (3,069), Colombia (2,642), Puerto Rico (2,356), and Cuba (2,024).[2]


United States[edit]

The first recorded person of Dominican descent to migrate to what is now known as the United States was sailor-turned-merchant Juan Rodriguez. He arrived on Manhattan in 1613 from his home in Santo Domingo, which makes him the first non-Native American person to spend substantial time in the island. He also became the first Dominican, the first Latino, first Caribbean and the first person with European (specifically Portuguese) and African ancestry to settle in what is present day New York City.[63]

Dominican emigration to the United States continued throughout the centuries. Recent research from the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute has documented some 5,000 Dominican emigrants who were processed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924.[64]

During the second half of the twentieth century, there were three significant waves of immigration to the United States. The first period began in 1961, when a coalition of high-ranking Dominicans, with assistance from the CIA, assassinated General Rafael Trujillo, the nation's military dictator.[65] In the wake of his death, fear of retaliation by Trujillo's allies, and political uncertainty in general, spurred migration from the island. In 1965, the United States began a military occupation of the Dominican Republic and eased travel restrictions, making it easier for Dominicans to obtain American visas.[66] From 1966 to 1978, the exodus continued, fueled by high unemployment and political repression. Communities established by the first wave of immigrants to the U.S. created a network that assisted subsequent arrivals. In the early 1980s, unemployment, inflation, and the rise in the value of the dollar all contributed to the third and largest wave of emigration from the island nation, this time mostly from the lower-class. Today, emigration from the Dominican Republic remains high, facilitated by the social networks of now-established Dominican communities in the United States.[67]

Besides the United States, significant numbers of Dominicans have also settled in Spain and in the nearby U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

Dominicans in New York Dominican Day Parade.
Dominicans in Spain dance in culture parade of Valencia.

Dominican Emigration[edit]

Top Dominican Emigration (2022)[12]
Rank Country Dominican Population
1 United States United States 2,453,185
2 Spain Spain 158,393
3 Italy Italy 43,012
4 Venezuela Venezuela 14,972
5 Switzerland Switzerland 11,154
6 Germany Germany 11,127
7 Canada Canada 9,823
8 Netherlands Netherlands 9,383
9 Panama Panama 8,358
10 Haiti Haiti 5,110
11 France France 3,544
12 Austria Austria 3,441
13 Mexico Mexico 2,043
14 Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 1,819
15 United Kingdom United Kingdom 1,217
16 Costa Rica Costa Rica 1,104
17 Norway Norway 856
18 Belgium Belgium 745
19 Sweden Sweden 741
20 Argentina Argentina 709
21 Greece Greece 555
22 Colombia Colombia 410
23 Brazil Brazil 381
24 Ecuador Ecuador 363
25 The Bahamas Bahamas 303
26 Chile Chile 289
27 Finland Finland 204
28 Australia Australia 187
29 Denmark Denmark 187
30 Peru Peru 185

Dominican Immigration[edit]

Top Countries Immigration to the Dominican Republic (2022)[68]
Rank Country Population in the Dominican Republic
1 Haiti Haiti 496,112
2 Venezuela Venezuela 34,063
3 United States United States 14,626
4 Spain Spain 7,272
5 Italy Italy 4,375
6 China China 3,942
7 France France 3,894
8 Cuba Cuba 3,402
9 Colombia Colombia 2,962
10 Germany Germany 1,938
11 Mexico Mexico 1,563
12 Peru Peru 1,489
13 Canada Canada 1,267
14 Argentina Argentina 1,116
15 Switzerland Switzerland 1,088
16 Panama Panama 789
17 Brazil Brazil 671
18 Chile Chile 661
19 Netherlands Netherlands 617
20 Ecuador Ecuador 605
21 South Korea South Korea 587
22 United Kingdom United Kingdom 503
23 Russia Russia 503
24 Guatemala Guatemala 446
25 Honduras Honduras 442
26 Japan Japan 359
27 Costa Rica Costa Rica 320
28 Nicaragua Nicaragua 303
29 El Salvador El Salvador 278
30 Belgium Belgium 266


The culture of the Dominican Republic, like its Caribbean neighbors, is a blend of the cultures of the European settlers, African slaves and settlers, and Taíno natives. Spanish is the official language. Other languages, such as English, French, German, Italian, and Chinese are also spoken to varying degrees. European, African, and Taíno cultural elements are most prominent in food, family structure, religion, and music. Many Arawak/Taíno names and words are used in daily conversation and for many foods native to the Dominican Republic.[citation needed]

National symbols[edit]

Dominican flag.

Some of the Dominican Republic's important symbols are the flag, the coat of arms, and the national anthem, titled Himno Nacional. The flag has a large white cross that divides it into four quarters. Two quarters are red and two are blue. Red represents the blood shed by the liberators. Blue expresses God's protection over the nation. The white cross symbolizes the struggle of the liberators to bequeath future generations a free nation. An alternative interpretation is that blue represents the ideals of progress and liberty, whereas white symbolizes peace and unity among Dominicans.[69]

Dominicans in Santiago de los Caballeros.

In the center of the cross is the Dominican coat of arms, in the same colors as the national flag. The coat of arms pictures a red, white, and blue flag-draped shield with a Bible, a gold cross, and arrows; the shield is surrounded by an olive branch (on the left) and a palm branch (on the right). The Bible traditionally represents the truth and the light. The gold cross symbolizes the redemption from slavery, and the arrows symbolize the noble soldiers and their proud military. A blue ribbon above the shield reads, "Dios, Patria, Libertad" (meaning "God, Fatherland, Liberty"). A red ribbon under the shield reads, "República Dominicana" (meaning "Dominican Republic"). Out of all the flags in the world, the depiction of a Bible is unique to the Dominican flag.

The national flower is the Bayahibe Rose and the national tree is the West Indian Mahogany.[70] The national bird is the Cigua Palmera or Palmchat ("Dulus dominicus").[71]


Spanish is the predominant language in the Dominican Republic; the local dialect is called Dominican Spanish, it closely resembles Canarian Spanish, Andalusian Spanish, and has influences from Arawak languages.[72] Schools are based on a Spanish educational model, with English and French being taught as secondary languages in both private and public schools. Haitian Creole is spoken by the population of Haitian descent.[73] There is a community of about 8,000 speakers of Samaná English in the Samaná Peninsula. They are the descendants of formerly-enslaved African Americans who arrived in the 19th century. Tourism, American pop culture, the influence of Dominican Americans, and the country's economic ties with the United States motivate other Dominicans to learn English.


Iglesia Sagrado Corazón de Jesus in Moca, Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is 80% Christian, including 57% Roman Catholic and 23% Protestant.[74] Recent but small scale immigration, as well as proselytizing, has brought other religions, with the following shares of the population: Spiritist: 1.2%,[75] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1.1%,[76] Buddhist: 0.10%, Baháʼí: 0.1%,[75] Islam: 0.02%, Judaism: 0.01%, Chinese folk religion: 0.1%.[75]

People attending mass in Cathedral of Santo Domingo.

Roman Catholicism was introduced by Columbus and Spanish missionaries. Religion was not really the foundation of their entire society, as it was in other parts of the world at the time, and most of the population did not attend church on a regular basis. Nonetheless, most of the education in the country was based upon the Catholic religion, as the Bible was required in the curricula of all public schools. Children would use religious-based dialogue when greeting a relative or parent. For example, a child would say "Bless me, mother", and the mother would reply "May God bless you". The nation has two patroness saints: Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Our Lady Of High Grace) is the patroness of the Dominican people, and Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady Of Mercy) is the patroness of the Dominican Republic. The Catholic Church began to lose popularity in the late nineteenth century. This was due to a lack of funding, of priests, and of support programs. During the same time, the Protestant evangelical movement began to gain support. Religious tension between Catholics and Protestants in the country has been rare.

There have always been religious freedom throughout the entire country. Not until the 1950s were restrictions placed upon churches by Trujillo. Letters of protest were sent against the mass arrests of government adversaries. Trujillo began a campaign against the church and planned to arrest priests and bishops who preached against the government. This campaign ended before it was even put into place, with his assassination.

Judaism appeared in the Dominican Republic in the late 1930s. During World War II, a group of Jews escaping Nazi Germany fled to the Dominican Republic and founded the city of Sosúa. It has remained the center of the Jewish population since.[77]


Dominican cuisine is predominantly made up of a combination of Spanish, Native American, and African influences over the last few centuries. The typical cuisine is quite similar to what can be found in other Latin American countries, but many of the names of dishes are different. One breakfast dish consists of eggs and mangú (mashed, boiled plantain). For heartier versions, these are accompanied by deep-fried meat (typically Dominican salami) and/or cheese. Similarly to Spain, lunch is generally the largest and most important meal of the day. Lunch usually consists of rice, some type of meat (chicken, beef, pork, or fish), beans, plantains, and a side portion of salad. "La Bandera" (literally, The Flag), the most popular lunch dish, consists of meat and red beans on white rice. There is a famous soup "Sancocho" a typical national soup made with seven kinds of variety of meats.[citation needed]

Dominican cuisine usually accommodates all the food groups, incorporating meat or seafood; rice, potatoes, or plantains; and is accompanied by some other type of vegetable or salad. However, meals usually heavily favor starches and meats over dairy products and vegetables. Many dishes are made with sofrito, which is a mix of local herbs and spices sautéed to bring out all of the dish's flavors. Throughout the south-central coast, bulgur, or whole wheat, is a main ingredient in quipes or tipili (bulgur salad). Other favorite Dominican dishes include chicharrón, yuca, casabe, and pastelitos (empanadas), batata, pasteles en hoja, (ground-roots pockets)[78] chimichurris, plátanos maduros (ripe plantain), and tostones.

Some treats Dominicans enjoy are arroz con dulce (or arroz con leche), bizcocho dominicano (lit. Dominican cake), habichuelas con dulce (sweet creamed beans), flan, frío frío (snow cones), dulce de leche, and caña (sugarcane).[citation needed]

The beverages Dominicans enjoy include Morir Soñando, rum, beer, Mama Juana, batida (smoothie), jugos naturales (freshly squeezed fruit juices), mabí, and coffee.[79]

Music and dance[edit]

Dominican merengue singer Fernando Villalona

Musically, the Dominican Republic is known for the creation of the musical style called merengue,[80] a type of lively, fast-paced rhythm and dance music consisting of a tempo of about 120 to 160 beats per minute (it varies wildly) based on musical elements like drums, brass, and chorded instruments, as well as some elements unique to the music style of the DR. It includes the use of the tambora (Dominican drum), accordion, and güira. Its syncopated beats use Latin percussion, brass instruments, bass, and piano or keyboard. Between 1937 and 1950 the merengue music was promoted internationally, by some Dominicans groups like, Billo's Caracas Boys, Chapuseaux and Damiron Los Reyes del Merengue, Joseito Mateo and others. Later on it was more popularized via television, radio and international media, well-known merengue singers include singer/songwriter Juan Luis Guerra, Fernando Villalona, Eddy Herrera, Sergio Vargas, Toño Rosario, Johnny Ventura, and Milly Quezada and Chichí Peralta. Merengue became popular in the United States, mostly on the East Coast, during the 1980s and 90s,[81] when many Dominican artists, among them Victor Roque y La Gran Manzana, Henry Hierro, Zacarias Ferraira, Aventura, Milly, and Jocelyn Y Los Vecinos, residing in the U.S. (particularly New York City) started performing in the Latin club scene and gained radio airplay. The emergence of bachata, c along with an increase in the number of Dominicans living among other Latino groups in New York, New Jersey, and Florida have contributed to Dominican music's overall growth in popularity.[82]

Dominican musician Juan Luis Guerra

Bachata, a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and rural marginal neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic, has become quite popular in recent years. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original name for the genre was amargue ("bitterness", or "bitter music", or blues music), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. Bachata grew out of and is still closely related to, the pan-Latin American romantic style called bolero. Over time, it has been influenced by merengue and by a variety of Latin American guitar styles.

Salsa music has had a great deal of popularity in the country. During the late 1960s Dominican musicians like Johnny Pacheco, creator of the Fania All Stars played a significant role in the development and popularization of the genre.[citation needed]

Particularly among the young, a genre that has been growing in popularity in recent years in the Dominican Republic is Dominican rap. Also known as Rap del Patio ("yard rap") it is rap music created by Dominican crews and solo artists. Originating in the early 2000s with crews such as Charles Family, successful rappers such as Lapiz Conciente, Vakero, Toxic Crow, and R-1 emerged. The youth have embraced the music, sometimes over merengue, merengue típico, bachata, as well as salsa, and, most recently, reggaeton. Dominican rap differs from reggaeton in the fact that Dominican rap does not use the traditional Dem Bow rhythm frequently used in reggaeton, instead of using more hip hop-influenced beats. As well, Dominican rap focuses on urban themes such as money, women, and poverty, similarly to American rap.[citation needed]

Visual arts[edit]

Lluvia en el mercado (English: Rain in the Market), 1942 (Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo).

Dominican art is perhaps most commonly associated with the bright, vibrant colors and images that are sold in every tourist gift shop across the country. However, the country has a long history of fine art that goes back to the middle of the 1800s when the country became independent and the beginnings of a national art scene emerged.[citation needed]

Historically, the painting of this time were centered around images connected to national independence, historical scenes, portraits but also landscapes and images of still life. Styles of painting ranged between neoclassicism and romanticism. Between 1920 and 1940 the art scene was influenced by styles of realism and impressionism. Dominican artists were focused on breaking from previous, academic styles in order to develop more independent and individual styles. The artists of the times were Celeste Woss y Gil (1890–1985), Jaime Colson (1901–1975), Yoryi O. Morel (1906–1979) and Darío Suro (1917–1997).

The 1940s represent an important period in Dominican art. President Rafael Leónidas Trujillo provided asylum for Spanish Civil War refugees and a group of Europeans (including famous artists) subsequently arrived to the DR. They became an inspiration to young Dominican artists who were given a more international perspective on art. The art school Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes was founded as the first official center for teaching art. The country went through a renaissance heavily inspired by the trends happening in Europe.[citation needed]

Between 1950 and 1970 Dominican art expressed the social and political conditions of the time. A need for a renewal of the image language emerged and, as a result, paintings were created in non-figurative, abstract, geometric and cubistic styles. The most notable artists included Paul Giudicelli (1921–1965), Clara Ledesma (1924–1999), Gilberto Hernandez Ortega (1924–1979), Gaspar Mario Cruz (1925–2006), Luichy M. Richiez (1928–2000), Eligio Pichardo (1929–1984), Domingo Liz (b. 1931), Silvano Lora (1934–2003), Cándido Bidó (1936–2011) and José Ramírez Conde (1940–1987).

During the 1970s and 1980s artists were experimenting again with new styles, forms, concepts and themes. Artists such as Ada Balcácer (b. 1930), Fernando Peña Defilló (b. 1928) and Ramón Oviedo (b. 1927) count as the most influential of the decade.[citation needed]


Dominican cinema is an emerging film industry, being one of the first countries in Latin America where the Lumière brothers first brought the Curiel theater in San Felipe de Puerto Plata at the beginning of the century in the year 1900, with the industry's beginnings dating back to 1915 in which the first film is produced in Dominican territory.[citation needed]

The Dominican Film Market is officially the first film market in the history of the Caribbean Region, DFM was created and produced by filmmakers Roddy Pérez and Nurgul Shayakhmetova, executives of Audiovisual Dominicana. In its first edition, DFM had the support of important international brands such as Panasonic, Nikon and Blackmagic Design, as well as the co-sponsorship of the Directorate General of Cinema DGCINE, the Center for Export and Investment of the Dominican Republic CEI-RD and the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic.[citation needed]


In only seven years, the Dominican Republic's fashion week has become the most important event of its kind in all of the Caribbean and one of the fastest-growing fashion events in the entire Latin American fashion world. The country boasts one of the ten most important design schools in the region, La Escuela de Diseño de Altos de Chavón, which is making the country a key player in the world of fashion and design.

World-famous fashion designer Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932 and became a US citizen in 1971. He studied under the leading Spaniard designer Cristóbal Balenciaga and then worked with the house of Lanvin in Paris. Then by 1963, de la Renta had designs carrying his own label. After establishing himself in the US, de la Renta opened boutiques across the country. His work blends French and Spaniard fashion with American styles.[83][84] Although he settled in New York, de la Renta also marketed his work in Latin America, where it became very popular, and remained active in his native Dominican Republic, where his charitable activities and personal achievements earned him the Juan Pablo Duarte Order of Merit and the Order of Cristóbal Colón.[84]


Dominican native and Major League Baseball player Albert Pujols

Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic.[85] After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of Major League Baseball (MLB) players. Some of these players have been regarded among the best in the game. Historically, the Dominican Republic has been linked to MLB since Ozzie Virgil Sr. became the first Dominican to play in the league. Juan Marichal is the first Dominican-born player in the Baseball Hall of Fame.[86] Among the outstanding MLB players born in the Dominican are: Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Juan Soto, Bartolo Colón, Robinson Cano, Jose Ramirez, Nelson Cruz, Pedro Martínez, Albert Pujols, Adrián Beltré, José Reyes, José Bautista, Hanley Ramírez, Miguel Tejada, Juan Marichal, Rafael Furcal and Sammy Sosa.[citation needed]

Dominican ambassador Jonny de Jesús Martínez showcasing baseball culture.

Olympic gold medalist and world champion over 400 m hurdles Félix Sánchez hails from the Dominican Republic, as does current defensive end for the San Diego Chargers (National Football League [NFL]), Luis Castillo. Castillo was the cover athlete for the Spanish language version of Madden NFL 08.[87]

The National Basketball Association (NBA) also has had players from the Dominican Republic, like Charlie Villanueva, Al Horford and Francisco García. Boxing is one of the more important sports after baseball, and the country has produced scores of world-class fighters and world champions.[citation needed]


Date Name
January 1 New Year's Day Non-working day.
January 6 Catholic day of the Epiphany Movable.
January 21 Día de la Altagracia Non-working day. Patroness Day (Catholic).
January 26 Duarte's Day Movable. Founding Father.
February 27 Independence Day Non-working day. National Day.
(Variable date) Holy Week Working days, except Good Friday.
A Catholic holiday.
May 1 International Workers' Day Movable.
Last Sunday of May Mother's Day
(Variable date) Catholic Corpus Christi Non-working day. A Thursday in May or June
(60 days after Easter Sunday).
August 16 Restoration Day Non-working day.
September 24 Virgen de las Mercedes Non-working day. A Patroness Day (Catholic)
November 6 Constitution Day Movable.
December 25 Christmas Non-working days.


  • Non-working holidays are not moved to another day.
  • If a movable holiday falls on Saturday, Sunday or Monday then it is not moved to another day. If it falls on Tuesday or Wednesday, the holiday is moved to the previous Monday. If it falls on Thursday or Friday, the holiday is moved to the next Monday.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  • The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and Dominican National Identity. April J. Mayes. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014. ISBN 978-0-8130-4919-9


  1. ^ The term "indio" in the Dominican Republic is not associated with people of indigenous ancestry but people of mixed ancestry or skin color between light and dark


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External links[edit]