Map Page 1137 Area 20,729 square mi (48,730 square km) Population 8,715,602 Capital Santo Domingo Highest Point 10,416 ft (3,175 m) Lowest Point 151 ft (46 m) GDP per capita $6,300 (2002) Primary Natural Resources nickel, gold, silver.
THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, which sits on the western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the CARIBBEAN SEA, was once covered with lush rainforests full of thousands of flora and fauna species throughout its steep mountains and deep valleys.
However, this country has faced hundreds of years of deforestation, and many of the swamps were drained.
Because of its tropical maritime climate, frequent rainstorms send topsoil into the ocean, and a barren landscape has been created.
The top soil deposits in the ocean have also destroyed marine coral reefs.
But portions of the countryside have retained their beauty with different trees and over 218 bird species.
In the surrounding waters, humpback whales gather, and sea turtles, manatees, and pilot whales dominate the marine life.
The island of Hispaniola was founded by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and ultimately became a permanent Spanish settlement.
After years of oppression and unrest, an independent Dominican Republic was created in 1844.
For 25 years after independence, the Dominican Republic was ravaged in a leadership conflict between General Pedro Santana and General Buenaventura Baez and their armies.
In 1882, General Ulysses Heureux rose to power and, until his assassination in 1899, mismanaged the nation's affairs.
He violently repressed any opponents and poorly managed the economy.
By the end of the 19th century, the Dominican Republic's economy had progressed to an agriculturally driven one.
Tobacco and coffee became two of the main crops.
After Heureux's death, the sugar industry was revived and American businessmen began to invest in the plantations.
In 1916, U.S.
military forces were sent to the Dominican Republic.
For eight years, these forces occupied the country, disbanded the Dominican army, and remodeled the legal system.
The military also trained local militias.
By 1924, the American military had left the Dominican Republic with Raphael Leonidas Trujillo in charge of the army.
Six years later, Trujillo gained complete power of the government.
Trujillo enforced a very repressive dictatorship.
His followers wreaked havoc against political opponents, even reverting to assassinations.
However, he maintained positive relations with the UNITED STATES, by offering favorable conditions to American companies, and not supporting communism.
However, in the 1950s, Trujillo's power base slowly began to crumble, and his relations with the United States suffered.
One year after being connected to an assassination attempt against the Venezuelan president, Trujillo himself was assassinated.
For the following four years, the Dominican Republic teetered on the edge of a socialist state.
In 1965, President Lyndon B.
Johnson called on the U.S.
military to once again enter the country, and restore order.
One year later, Dr.
Joachim Ballaguer, a former Trujillo lieutenant, was elected president in an allegedly corrupt election.
He remained in power for 12 years, and then after a tumultuous election was replaced by Antonio Guzman of the Dominican Revolutionary Party.
In 1982, Guzman committed suicide and was replaced by Salvadore Blanco.
However, corruption led to his downfall and eventual imprisonment.
Ballaguer was again voted in to office in 1986.
A public works reconstruction program was implemented, but by 1988, the country suffered a two-year recession.
In June 1989, massive demonstrations were held in protest of the economic difficulties and lack of basic resources such as water and electricity.
Balaguer instituted a second series of economic reforms, which included balancing the budget and limiting inflation.
These measures were overall successful, and economic growth continued through the decade.
In June 1996, Leonel Fernandez Reyna was elected president.
He continued the economic reforms but was not reelected in 2000.
Hipnlito Mejia from the Revolutionary Democratic Party was voted in as president.
The economic reforms continue in the country and the country is slowly beginning to prosper.
- The seaweed invasion prevents tourists to enjoy the Dominican beaches
"Tourists couldn’t but leave the country due to the experienced inconveniences. Basically, these are the eastern resorts that prevent tourists to enjoy their vacation. The embarrassing seaweed made their staying here simply intolerable. Local travel agencies say that the number of holidaymakers went down up to 95%.
The authorities are trying to deal with a bad luck collecting the weeds around the coastal areas. However, they are still facing a problem and the number of the sea “inhabitants” is still growing. It is stated that it is a priority to clean all the rubbish stored at the beaches, otherwise the country will have no tourists that will bring them no income afterwards.
Scientists report that the mounting pollution may be caused by two reasons. According to the first assumption the seaweed appeared on the Dominican coastlines due to the climate change: the average temperature has considerably increased over recent years. The second theory goes that the hurricane has brought them. "
- Traveling to Ellada is getting more expensive
"Because of the abolition of tax benefits for the most visited islands, the traveling prices to Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Skiathos will be considerably increased.
The preferential tax treatment, regulated on the islands, was canceled from October 1, 2015 according to the Government decision. The capacity to pay 30% less tax will also be concerned towards hotels located on the above mentioned islands. And from the beginning of the summer next year the new rules will be applied to the rest of the islands.
The imposed measures will affect the tourists, who will have to pay the bills without any tax treatment benefits. The new rule will first of all be applied to the hotel room prices, which may be increased up to 7-10% according to the experts forecast. Consequently, the vacation package price will also be increased, which does not favor the tourists. "