Identification. "Dominicans" is the term used to describe the people of the Dominican Republic. The native population of Taino Indians was decimated during the Spanish Conquest, which began in 1492 and came to be characterized by forced labor and newly introduced diseases. Africans were imported as slaves to replace the Indians on the plantations and in the mines. Today Dominicans physically reflect the ancestry of Europe and Africa; over 70 percent of Dominicans are now officially considered mulatto. Even though the majority of the Dominican people are classified by the government as mulattoes, social status and skin color are correlated, with lighter-skinned Dominicans dominating business, government, and society. Mulattoes constitute most of the Dominican middle class; the working classes are mostly Black or dark mulatto. Other ethnic groups in the Dominican Republic are Lebanese, Chinese, Italians, French, Jews, Japanese, Haitians, and West Indians.
Location. The island of Hispaniola, one of the Greater Antilles, lies between Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds (i.e., 48,464 square kilometers) of Hispaniola and is strikingly diverse geographically. The Dominican Republic contains mountain ranges interspersed with fertile valleys, lush rain forests, semiarid deserts, rich farmlands, and spectacular beaches. The western third of the island of Hispaniola is the nation of Haiti.
Many Dominicans have migrated to other countries in search of employment and increased opportunity. Between 5 and 8 percent of the population of the Dominican Republic live and work in the United States—most of them in New York City, but substantial numbers have also settled in New Jersey and Florida. Migration between the Dominican Republic and other islands of the Caribbean is less well documented.
Demography. There were about 7,915,000 Dominicans in 1993. About half of them lived in the campo (countryside) and worked mainly as peasant farmers. Because of the relative poverty in the countryside, more and more Dominicans have migrated to cities such as Santo Domingo (the capital city), Santiago de los Caballeros, La Vega, San Francisco de Macorís, La Romana, and Puerto Plata on the north coast.
During the period of Rafael Trujillo's rule, from 1930 to 1961, Dominican immigration to the United States was severely limited, given Trujillo's domestic agenda, which depended on a steady supply of an expendable labor source. Dominicans did migrate however, even with Trujillo's restrictive policies. Between 1950 and 1960, almost 10,000 Dominicans emigrated to the United States and became legal residents. Following the overthrow of Trujillo in 1961 and the lifting of his restrictive policies, migration to the United States increased substantially. Between 1961 and 1981, 255,578 legal immigrants entered the United States from the Dominican Republic. It is much more difficult to estimate the number of undocumented Dominicans in the United States. Reports suggest that Dominicans are third among immigrant groups from Latin America admitted into the United States. The economic crisis of the early 1980s has further increased the number of Dominicans seeking to emigrate to the United States. Research suggests that those Dominicans who succeed in doing so are most often young, predominantly urban in origin, often skilled and semiprofessional, and better educated than Dominican nonmigrants.
In 1993 the crude birthrate in the Dominican Republic was 25.2 per thousand, the crude death rate was 5.8 per thousand, the infant mortality rate was 49.3 per thousand, and total life expectancy at birth was 69 years.
Linguistic Affiliation. Spanish is the language spoken by Dominicans. Although there are some regional dialects of Spanish in the Dominican Republic, Dominicans pride themselves on the "purity" of their Spanish. Dominican Spanish is considered by some to be perhaps the clearest, most classical Spanish spoken in Latin America. According to some authors, this may be the result of the virtual elimination of the native population and the fact that the Dominican Republic was the first Spanish-settled colony in the New World.
History, Politics, and Cultural Relations
The history of the Dominican Republic, both colonial and postcolonial, is marked by continued interference by international forces and a Dominican ambivalence toward its own leadership. Between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Dominican Republic was ruled both by Spain and France and occupied both by the United States and Haiti. Three political leaders influenced Dominican politics from the 1930s to the 1990s. The dictator Rafael Trujillo ran the country for thirty-one years, until 1961. In the years following Trujillo's murder, two aging caudillos, Juan Bosch and Joaquín Balaguer, vied for control of the Dominican government.
In 1492, when Columbus first landed in what is now the Dominican Republic, he named the island "Española," which means "Little Spain." The spelling of the name was later changed to Hispaniola. The city of Santo Domingo, on the southern coast of Hispaniola, was established as the Spanish capital in the New World. Santo Domingo became a walled city, modeled after those of medieval Spain, and a center of transplanted Spanish culture. The Spanish built churches, hospitals, and schools and established commerce, mining, and agriculture.
In the process of settling and exploiting Hispaniola, the native Taino Indians were eradicated by the harsh forced-labor practices of the Spanish and the diseases the Spanish brought with them, to which indigenous peoples had no immunity. Because the rapid decimation of the Taino left the Spanish in need of laborers in the mines and on the plantations, Africans were imported as a slave labor force. During this time, the Spanish established a strict two-class social system based on race, a political system based on authoritarianism and hierarchy, and an economic system based on state domination. After about fifty years, the Spanish abandoned Hispaniola for more economically promising areas such as Cuba, Mexico, and other new colonies in Latin America. The institutions of government, economy, and society that were established, however, have persisted in the Dominican Republic throughout its history.
After its virtual abandonment, once-prosperous Hispaniola fell into a state of disorganization and depression lasting almost two hundred years. In 1697 Spain handed over the western third of Hispaniola to the French, and in 1795 gave the French the eastern two-thirds as well. By that time, the western third of Hispaniola (then called Hayti) was prosperous, producing sugar and cotton in an economic system based on slavery. The formerly Spanish-controlled eastern two-thirds was economically impoverished, with most people surviving on subsistence farming. After the Haitian slave rebellion, which resulted in Haitian independence in 1804, the Black armies of Haiti attempted to take control of the former Spanish colony, but the French, Spanish, and British fought off the Haitians. The eastern part of Hispaniola reverted to Spanish rule in 1809. The Haitian armies once again invaded in 1821, and in 1822 gained control of the entire island, which they maintained until 1844.
In 1844 Juan Pablo Duarte, the leader of the Dominican independence movement, entered Santo Domingo and declared the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola an independent nation, naming it the Dominican Republic. Duarte was unable to hold power, however, which soon passed to two generals, Buenaventura Báez and Pedro Santana. These men looked to the "greatness" of the sixteenth-century colonial period as a model and sought out the protection of a large foreign power. As a result of corrupt and inept leadership, the country was bankrupt by 1861, and power was handed over to the Spanish again until 1865. Báez continued as president until 1874; Ulises Espaillat then took control until 1879.
In 1882 a modernizing dictator, Ulises Heureaux, took control of the Dominican Republic. Under Heureaux's regime, roads and railways were constructed, telephone lines were installed, and irrigation systems were dug. During this period, economic modernization and political order were established, but only through extensive foreign loans and autocratic, corrupt, and brutal rule. In 1899 Heureaux was assassinated, and the Dominican government fell into disarray and factionalism. By 1907, the economic situation had deteriorated, and the government was unable to pay the foreign debt engendered during the reign of Heureaux. In response to the perceived economic crisis, the United States moved to place the Dominican Republic into receivership. Ramón Cáceres, the man who assassinated Heureaux, became president until 1912, when he was in turn assassinated, by a member of one of the feuding political factions.
The ensuing domestic political warfare left the Dominican Republic once again in political and economic chaos. European and U.S. bankers expressed concern over the possible lack of repayment of loans. Using the Monroe Doctrine to counter what the United States considered potential European "intervention" in the Americas, the United States invaded the Dominican Republic in 1916, occupying the country until 1924.
During the period of U.S. occupation, political stability was restored. Roads, hospitals, and water and sewerage systems were constructed in the capital city and elsewhere in the country, and land-tenure changes that benefited a new class of large landowners were instituted. To act as a counterinsurgency force, a new military security force, the Guardia Nacional, was trained by U.S. marines. In 1930 Rafael Trujillo, who had risen to a position of leadership in the Guardia, used it to acquire and consolidate power.
From 1930 to 1961, Trujillo ran the Dominican Republic as his own personal possession, in what has been called the first truly totalitarian state in the hemisphere. He established a system of private capitalism in which he, his family members, and his friends held nearly 60 percent of the country's assets and controlled its labor force. Under the guise of economic recovery and national security, Trujillo and his associates demanded the abolishment of all personal and political freedoms. Although the economy flourished, the benefits went toward personal—not public—gain. The Dominican Republic became a ruthless police state in which torture and murder ensured obedience. Trujillo was assassinated on 30 May 1961, ending a long and difficult period in Dominican history. At the time of his death, few Dominicans could remember life without Trujillo in power, and with his death came a period of domestic and international turmoil.
During Trujillo's reign, political institutions had been eviscerated, leaving no functional political infrastructure. Factions that had been forced underground emerged, new political parties were created, and the remnants of the previous regime—in the form of Trujillo's son Ramfis and one of Trujillo's former puppet presidents, Joaquín Balaguer—vied for control. Because of pressure from the United States to democratize, Trujillo's son and Balaguer agreed to hold elections. Balaguer quickly moved to distance himself from the Trujillo family in the realignment for power.
In November 1961 Ramfis Trujillo and his family fled the country after emptying the Dominican treasury of $90 million. Joaquín Balaguer became part of a seven-person Council of State, but two weeks and two military coups later, Balaguer was forced to leave the country. In December 1962 Juan Bosch of the Dominican Revolutionary party (PRD), promising social reform, won the presidency by a 2-1 margin, the first time that Dominicans had been able to choose their leadership in relatively free and fair elections. The traditional ruling elite and the military, however, with the support of the United States, organized against Bosch under the guise of anticommunism. Claiming that the government was infiltrated by communists, the military staged a coup that overthrew Bosch in September 1963; he had been president for only seven months.
In April 1965 the PRD and other pro-Bosch civilians and "constitutionalist" military took back the presidential palace. José Molina Ureña, next in line for the presidency according to the constitution, was sworn in as interim president. Remembering Cuba, the United States encouraged the military to counterattack. The military used jets and tanks in its attempt to crush the rebellion, but the pro-Bosch constitutionalists were able to repel them. The Dominican military was moving toward a defeat at the hands of the constitutionalist rebels when, on 28 April 1965, President Lyndon Johnson sent 23,000 U.S. troops to occupy the country.
The Dominican economic elite, having been reinstalled by the U.S. military, sought Balaguer's election in 1966. Although the PRD was allowed to contest the presidency, with Bosch as its candidate, the Dominican military and police used threats, intimidation, and terrorist attacks to keep him from campaigning. The final outcome of the vote was tabulated as 57 percent for Balaguer and 39 percent for Bosch.
Throughout the late 1960s and the first part of the 1970s, the Dominican Republic went through a period of economic growth and development arising mainly from public-works projects, foreign investments, increased tourism, and skyrocketing sugar prices. During this same period, however, the Dominican unemployment rate remained between 30 and 40 percent, and illiteracy, malnutrition, and infant mortality rates were dangerously high. Most of the benefits of the improving Dominican economy went to the already wealthy. The sudden increase in oil prices by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the mid-1970s, a crash in the price of sugar on the world market, and increases in unemployment and inflation destabilized the Balaguer government. The PRD, under a new leader, Antonio Guzmán, once more prepared for presidential elections.
Since Guzmán was a moderate, he was seen as acceptable by the Dominican business community and by the United States. The Dominican economic elite and military, however, saw Guzmán and the PRD as a threat to their dominance. When the early returns from the 1978 election showed Guzmán leading, the military moved in, seized the ballot boxes, and annulled the election. Because of pressure from the Carter administration and threats of a massive general strike among Dominicans, Balaguer ordered the military to return the ballot boxes, and Guzmán won the election.
Guzmán promised better observance of human rights and more political freedom, more action in health care and rural development, and more control over the military; however, the high oil costs and the rapid decline in sugar prices caused the economic situation in the Dominican Republic to remain bleak. Even though Guzmán achieved much in terms of political and social reform, the faltering economy made people recall the days of relative prosperity under Balaguer.
The PRD chose Salvador Jorge Blanco as its 1982 presidential candidate, Juan Bosch returned with a new political party called the Dominican Liberation party (PLD), and Joaquín Balaguer also entered the race, under the auspices of his Reformist Party. Jorge Blanco won the election with 47 percent of the vote; however, one month before the new president's inauguration, Guzmán committed suicide over reports of corruption. Jacobo Majluta, the vice president, was named interim president until the inauguration.
When Jorge Blanco assumed the presidency, the country was faced with an enormous foreign debt and a balance-of-trade crisis. President Blanco sought a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF, in turn, required drastic austerity measures: the Blanco government was forced to freeze wages, cut funding to the public sector, increase prices on staple goods, and restrict credit. When these policies resulted in social unrest, Blanco sent in the military, resulting in the deaths of more than one hundred people.
Joaquín Balaguer, nearly eighty years old and legally blind, ran against Juan Bosch and former interim president Jacobo Majluta in the 1986 election. In a highly contentious race, Balaguer won by a narrow margin and regained control of the country. He once more turned to massive public-works projects in an attempt to revitalize the Dominican economy but this time was unsuccessful. By 1988 he was no longer seen as an economic miracle worker, and in the 1990 election he was again strongly challenged by Bosch. In the campaign, Bosch was portrayed as divisive and unstable in contrast to the elder statesman Balaguer. With this strategy, Balaguer again won in 1990, although by a narrow margin.
In the 1994 presidential election, Balaguer and his Social Christian Reformist party (PRSC) were challenged by José Francisco Peña Gómez, the candidate of the PRD. Peña Gómez, a Black man who was born in the Dominican Republic of Haitian parents, was depicted as a covert Haitian agent who planned to destroy Dominican sovereignty and merge the Dominican Republic with Haiti. Pro-Balaguer television commercials showed Peña Gómez as drums beat wildly in the background, and a map of Hispaniola with a dark brown Haiti spreading over and covering a bright green Dominican Republic. Peña Gómez was likened to a witch doctor in pro-Balaguer campaign pamphlets, and videos linked him with the practice of Vodun. Election-day exit polls indicated an overwhelming victory for Peña Gómez; on the following day, however, the Central Electoral Junta (JCE), the independent electoral board, presented preliminary results that placed Balaguer in the lead. Allegations of fraud on the part of the JCE were widespread. More than eleven weeks later, on 2 August, the JCE finally pronounced Balaguer the winner by 22,281 votes, less than 1 percent of the total vote. The PRD claimed that at least 200,000 PRD voters had been turned away from polling places, on the grounds that their names were not on the voters list. The JCE established a "revision committee," which investigated 1,500 polling stations (about 16 percent of the total) and found that the names of more than 28,000 voters had been removed from electoral lists, making plausible the figure of 200,000 voters turned away nationally. The JCE ignored the findings of the committee and declared Balaguer the winner. In a concession, Balaguer agreed to limit his term in office to two years instead of four, and not to run for president again. Bosch received only 15 percent of the total vote.
Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Throughout most of its history, the Dominican economy has been based largely on the production and export of sugarcane. Sugarcane is still the biggest cash crop grown in the Dominican Republic, with coffee and cocoa being the other most important export crops. Agriculture continues to be the largest source of employment in the Dominican Republic, but mining has recently surpassed sugar as the biggest source of export earnings. Tourism is the most rapidly growing sector of the Dominican economy, with receipts in 1990 of U.S.$944 million. With the relative stability of Dominican democracy since the 1970s, tax incentives for building tourist facilities, the most hotel rooms of any country in the Caribbean, and beautiful uncluttered beaches, tourism is now the largest source of foreign exchange. Manufacturing, especially in the Free Trade Zones (FTZ), is also a rapidly growing sector of the Dominican economy.
Industrial Arts. The three main industrial activities in the Dominican Republic are mining, manufacturing, and utilities. In 1991 mining accounted for 33.5 percent of the total earnings from exports. Ferro-nickel is the major mineral mined in the country; bauxite, gold, and silver are also extracted. Manufacturing accounted for 16.1 percent of the Dominican gross domestic product in 1991. A rapidly growing part of the Dominican manufacturing sector are the FTZ being established by foreign multinational corporations. In these FTZ, the main activity is the assembly of products (mainly textiles, garments, and light electronic goods) intended for sale in nations such as the United States. Assembly industries locate in these zones because there they are permitted to pay low wages for laborintensive activities and because the Dominican government grants exemptions from duties and taxes on exports from FTZ. Sixteen FTZ had been established in the Dominican Republic by 1991, comprising more than 300 companies, which employed around 120,000 workers.
Trade. In 1991 the Dominican Republic had a trade deficit of U.S.$1,070.5 million, with the United States receiving 56 percent of Dominican exports. The other major trading partners of the Dominican Republic are Venezuela and Mexico. The main exports from the Dominican Republic in 1991 were raw sugar and ferro-nickel.
Division of Labor. In 1991 an estimated 34.9 percent of Dominicans worked in the agricultural sector, 28.1 percent were employed in industry, and many others worked in the service sector, which caters mainly to tourism. Labor is divided along the lines of ethnicity, class, and gender. Light-skinned individuals control most of business, finance, government, and other high-status professions, whereas darker-skinned individuals are predominant in the military officer corps and constitute much of the new middle class. More than three-quarters of the workers in the free trade zones are women; employers can pay them low wages and keep them from forming strong labor unions.
Land Tenure. Land-tenure patterns reflect both Dominican and international politics. Sugar and cattle are significant products for the Dominican economy, and land-tenure patterns associated with sugar production and cattle raising have changed over time. The 1916 U.S. invasion is often conceptualized an action under the Monroe Doctrine to protect regional security and counter European "interference" in the Americas, especially to stop German expansion in the region; however, the invasion was also a means to protect U.S. sugar producers in the Dominican Republic. World War I destroyed the European sugar-beet industry, allowing for the rapid expansion of Dominican sugar production. During the U.S. occupation, U.S. military authorities enacted legislation to facilitate the takeover of Dominican land by U.S. sugar growers. The 1920 Law Registration Act was designed to break up the communal lands and transfer them into private ownership. In 1925, one year following the withdrawal of U.S. troops, eleven of the twenty-one sugar mills in the Dominican Republic belonged to U.S. corporations, and 98 percent of the sugar exports went to the United States.
Cattle raising, an important source and symbol of wealth in the Dominican countryside, was feasible for many people because the animals were branded and then left to graze freely on open land. In the 1930s Trujillo expropriated large portions of land, reducing the amount available for free grazing. Those lands became further reduced in the 1950s when Trujillo established "La Zona," a law requiring the enclosure of large livestock that effectively prohibited free grazing. In the 1960s and 1970s the Balaguer government tried to increase cattle production for meat exports and, in so doing, created state-subsidized credits for cattle production. Some of these credits made it easier and more rewarding for people to buy parcels of land on which to graze their cattle.
Kin Groups and Descent. Kinship in the upper classes of Dominican society is patrilineal, based on the Spanish model. The eldest man is the ultimate authority; brothers and unmarried sisters stay very close, and sons give their allegiance to their father and mother. Brothers and sons help to support their unmarried sisters and mother, whereas married sisters are expected to become part of their husbands' families. The extended family is also the locus of social activity among the Dominican upper class.
Kinship among the Dominican lower class, on the other hand, is more matrilineal. The eldest woman is the head of the family, with very close ties with her daughters and their children. Because of the practice of consensual unions among lower-class Dominicans, men are not as integral a part of the kin grouping.
Marriage and Family
Marriage. Three different types of marital union can be found among Dominicans: church marriage, civil marriage, and consensual or common-law union. Church and civil marriage are most prevalent among the upper classes of Dominican society, whereas consensual unions predominate among the poor. These patterns of marriage in Dominican society can be traced back to the Spanish-colonial and slave periods. Among the Spanish settlers that came to Hispaniola, there was a strong ethic of family solidarity, and the father was the dominant figure in the family structure. Among the slaves, however, families were frequently broken up, and marriages were often not allowed. There was also an established pattern of informal unions between Spanish-colonial settlers and African slave women. Reflections of these practices are present today in the range of skin tones and marriage practices among Dominicans.
There are also contemporary reasons for the strong class and racial basis of the different types of marital union. One reason is the high cost of church and civil-marriage ceremonies in the Dominican Republic. Another is that, as throughout the Caribbean, early pregnancies result from consensual relationships. Both sexes initially tend to form a series of consensual unions, each resulting in more children.
Domestic Unit. The extended family, composed of three or more generations, is the predominant domestic unit among the Dominican elite. Within this extended-family structure, the oldest man holds authority, makes public decisions on all family matters, and is responsible for the welfare of the rest of the family. The eldest married woman commands her household, delivers the decisions in the private sphere, and is a source of love and moral support for the family. The family unit often includes grandparents, parents, and unmarried siblings, along with married brothers and their wives and children; married daughters become part of their husbands' families.
The practice of consensual unions, more prevalent among the Dominican lower classes, creates a much more loosely structured domestic unit. Given that the father often does not live in the household, parental authority and responsibility fall to the mother. In this situation, the eldest woman becomes the center of both public and private authority and the main breadwinner, in contrast to the patriarchal public authority among the elite. The result of this pattern is that a lower-class household often becomes a kind of extended matrilineal family, with the matriarch at the head and her unmarried children, married daughters, and grandchildren constituting the household.
Social Organization. Dominican society is organized strongly on the basis of class and race. Dominicans of the more powerful classes, who control the economic and political processes of the country, have historically been of European ancestry. The poorest of Dominicans are most often Black, descendants of the original African slave population or migrant workers from Haiti. Mulattoes make up the majority of the Dominican population and have created a burgeoning middle class. In the twentieth century the military and lower levels of government have provided avenues of advancement for darker-skinned men, and some have reached the level of general, and even president (i.e., Trujillo).
Political Organization. The Dominican Republic consists of twenty-six provinces, each run by an appointed governor, and the Distrito Nacional (DN), where the capital is located. The 1966 constitution established a bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional), which is split into the 30-member Senate (Senado) and the 120-member Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados). Members of Congress are elected for four-year terms. There is an executive branch with a president who is elected by popular vote every four years, a vice president, and a cabinet. There is also a Supreme Court (Corte Suprema).
Although the Dominican political system has long been modeled after that of the United States, with a constitution and tripartite separation of power, the political reality is different. Dominican politics has been based on a system of presidential control since colonial times. Developed to its extreme under the totalitarian dictatorship of Trujillo, this system, even in its most liberal periods, has not strayed very far from its historical model.
In the 1990s the major political parties in the Dominican Republic were the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC), led by Joaquín Balaguer; the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), led by Juan Bosch; the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), led by José Francisco Peña Gómez; and the Independent Revolutionary Party (PRI), led by Jacobo Majluta.
Religion and Expressive Culture
Religious Beliefs. The Catholic church and Catholic beliefs are nominally central to Dominican culture. It is estimated that 98 percent of Dominicans are Catholic, even if not all of these people attend church regularly. Catholicism was introduced to the Dominican Republic by Columbus and the Spanish missionaries and has remained a force in Dominican society ever since. Toward the end of the twentieth century, the dominance of the Catholic church diminished because of a decrease in funding, a shortage of new priests, and a lack of social programs for the people. As a result, Protestant evangelical movements, with their emphasis on personal responsibility and family rejuvenation, economic entrepreneurship, and biblical fundamentalism, have been gaining support among some Dominicans. An unknown number of Dominicans practice synchronistic religions combining Catholicism and Vodun. Santería is also found among Dominicans.
Medicine. The Dominican Republic, like many other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, has three parallel public health-care delivery systems. The largest is the government-funded Secretaria de Estado de Salud Publica y Asistencia Social (SESPAS), which serves the general population. Because of structural and economic constraints, SESPAS is concentrated in urban areas, has a focus on curative rather than preventive care, often has inoperative medical equipment, and is known for high absenteeism among physicians. These factors severely limit access to health care for the majority of Dominicans in the rural areas. This system, which is inadequate for the needs of the majority of Dominicans, is a result of the Spanish-colonial tradition and the biomedical system put into place by the United States during its occupation from 1916 to 1924. The other health-care delivery systems in the Dominican Republic are the Instituto Dominicano de Sequros Sociales (IDSS), which is a social-security health system, and the Instituto de Seguridad Social de las Fuerzas Armadas (ISSFAPOL), which provides health care to members of the armed forces. Private health care is also available, primarily in the urban centers.
Ferguson, James (1992). The Dominican Republic: Beyond the Lighthouse. London: Latin America Bureau.
Georges, Eugenia (1990). The Making of a Transnational Community: Migration, Development, and Cultural Change in the Dominican Republic. New York: Columbia University Press.
Whiteford, Linda M. (1990). "A Question of Adequacy: Primary Health Care in the Dominican Republic." Social Science and Medicine 30(2): 221-226.
Whiteford, Linda M. (1992). "Contemporary Health Care and the Colonial and Neo-Colonial Experience: The Case of the Dominican Republic." Social Science and Medicine 35(10): 1215-1223.
Whiteford, Linda M. (1993). "Child and Maternal Health and International Economic Policies." Social Science and Medicine 37(11): 1391-1400.
Whiteford, Linda M., and Donna Romeo (1991). "The High Cost of Free Trade: Women, Work, and Health in Dominican Free Trade Zones." Manuscript.
Wiarda, Howard J., and Michael J. Kryzanek. (1992). The Dominican Republic: A Caribbean Crucible. 2nd ed. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
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LINDA M. WHITEFORD AND KENNETH J. GOODMAN
"Dominicans." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
"Dominicans." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
LANGUAGE: English; kwéyòl (French-based dialect)
RELIGION: Roman Catholicism; small groups of Anglicans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baha'is, and Rastafarians
1 • INTRODUCTION
Dominica is a mountainous island in the Caribbean island chain known as the Lesser Antilles. Historically, the island's rugged terrain discouraged foreign settlement; more recently, it has slowed modernization. Today, Dominica—referred to as "the nature island of the Caribbean"—is one of the world's few locations with virtually untouched tropical rain forests. The island is also home to the Lesser Antilles' largest settlement of American Indians, the Caribs. They live on a reserve on Dominica's northeast coast. The Caribbean Sea is named after the Caribs.
The Caribs lived on Dominica, which they called Waitikubuli, when it was sighted by explorer Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) on a Sunday (dies dominica) in 1493. The Spanish did not attempt to colonize Dominica. Later, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the French and British fought for possession of the island. During the struggle, both nations attempted to dominate the Caribs. In 1805 the French gave up its claims to Dominica. The island remained a British colony until it gained independence in 1978. However, due to the long French presence on the island and the proximity to the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the cultural influence of the French has endured.
Dominica remained relatively poor and undeveloped until recently. In 1951, universal adult suffrage (the right to vote) was granted by the British government. This was followed by a new constitution in 1960. The independent Commonwealth of Dominica was established on November 3, 1978. In 1980, Dame Mary Eugenia Charles (1919–), head of the Democratic Freedom Party, became the first female head of government in the Caribbean. Reelected in 1985 and 1990, Dame Charles retired in 1995 at the age of seventy-five.
2 • LOCATION
Dominica is at the midpoint of the Lesser Antilles island chain, near the Leeward Islands. It faces the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. Dominica's area of 290 square miles (750 square kilometers) is slightly more than four times the size of Washington, D.C. Rainfall is extremely heavy. Much of the land is covered by dense, relatively untouched rain forests containing rare wild-life species. One of the island's most unusual features is the volcanically bubbling Boiling Lake, the second-largest lake of its kind in the world. An egg will supposedly boil within three minutes in its 198°f (92°c) waters.
Dominica is located just west of the chief point of origin of the hurricane belt. Hurricanes David and Frederick in 1979 caused more than 40 deaths and 2,500 injuries. Two-thirds of the population were left homeless, and crop damage was extensive.
Estimates of Dominica's population vary from 72,000 to around 82,000. With a population density of about 95 people per square mile (37 people per square kilometer), Dominica is one of the least populated countries in the Caribbean. The Carib population numbers approximately 3,400, most of whom live on a 3,700-acre reserve in the northeast called the Carib Territory.
The Caribs, whose language is no longer spoken, are working to preserve what little remains of their culture. They do not celebrate the nation's Independence Day (November 3) because the holiday also commemorates the date in 1493 when Columbus first sighted Dominica. That event ultimately led to the political, economic, and cultural decline of the Caribs. Today, most of Dominica's Caribs are of mixed ancestry; the population of full-blooded Caribs is estimated to be less than fifty.
3 • LANGUAGE
English is the official language of Dominica. Most of the population also speaks a French-based patois (dialect) called kwéyòl (derived from the word "Creole"). Kwéyòl has elements in common with dialects spoken on other islands in the area that were colonized by the French. Kwéyòl is a source of pride among Dominicans and its use in print is growing. A kwéyòl dictionary was published in 1991.
|Sa ki non'w?||What is your name?|
|Non mwen sé Paul.||My name is Paul|
|Bon jou, Misyé.||Good day, sir.|
|Bonn apwé midi.||Good afternoon.|
|Bon swé.||Good night.|
|Mon swèf.||I am thirsty.|
|Mon fen.||I am hungry.|
|Mon pa fen.||I am not hungry.|
|Jodi sé yon bèl jou.||It is a beautiful day.|
|Lapli ka tonbé.||It is raining.|
Cocoy, a type of pidgin English (a simple version of English mixed with other words), is spoken in the villages of Marigot and Wesley in northeastern Dominica. These villages were originally settled by freed slaves from the island of Antigua.
4 • FOLKLORE
According to a Carib legend, a giant boa constrictor (a kind of snake) called the Master Boa has lived for centuries in a hole on Morne Diablotin. The Escalier Tête-Chien (Master Boa's Staircase), a rock formation near Sineku, is believed to be the spot where the snake crawled onto the island from its original home at the bottom of the sea. Looking at the Master Boa is supposed to be fatal unless a person has abstained from both food and sex for a certain number of days beforehand.
Many Dominicans believe in obeah, a collection of religious beliefs and practices from Africa. Obeah is believed to have the power both to heal the sick and to harm one's enemies. Its practices include the use of herbal potions.
Flying witches called suquiyas are the subject of a number of Dominican proverbs.
5 • RELIGION
Because of the French influence on Dominica, the island's population is about 80 percent Roman Catholic. The rest belong to the Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist, and Seventh-Day Adventist churches. The Baha'i and Rastafarian religions are represented as well. The Caribs' religious practices combine features of Christianity—such as belief in Jesus, the saints, heaven, and hell—with the nature worship common among their ancestors.
6 • MAJOR HOLIDAYS
Dominica's public holidays are New Year's Day (January 1), Carnival (two days preceding Ash Wednesday), Good Friday and Easter Monday (late March or early April), May Day (May 1), August Monday (August 1), National Day—also called Independence Day (November 3), Community Service Day (November 4), and Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 25 and 26). The most important religious holidays are Christmas and Easter.
Tou Saintes (All Saints' Day) is celebrated on November 1. The country's largest festival is Carnival, which occurs on the two days preceding Ash Wednesday. It is marked by masquerades, calypso (folksong) contests, feasting, street dancing (called "jump ups"), and parties.
Independence Day on November 3 commemorates the date in 1978 when Dominica became an independent nation. It is celebrated with speeches, parades, and calypso music. On Creole Day, usually the Friday before Independence Day, Dominicans celebrate and display their Creole heritage. They wear traditional costumes, conduct all business in kwéyòl (their native dialect), eat Dominican dishes such as crapaud (frogs' legs), and dance to Dominican folk music.
7 • RITES OF PASSAGE
Major life transitions, such as birth, marriage, and death, are each marked by religious ceremonies.
8 • RELATIONSHIPS
Dominicans are more reserved than some of their neighbors in the Caribbean. They place a high value on good manners. A common greeting is Cakafete, which means "How are you?"
9 • LIVING CONDITIONS
Dominica is one of the poorest nations in the Caribbean. Many Dominicans live in single-story wooden houses with iron roofs.
Average life expectancy is seventy-four years for males and eighty years for females. The infant mortality rate (proportion who die in infancy) is 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Health care is provided at local clinics, twelve health centers, and the 136-bed Princess Margaret Hospital in Roseau. There are also hospital facilities at Portsmouth, Marigot, and Grand Bay.
10 • FAMILY LIFE
In addition to formal marriages, Dominicans also enter into common-law relationships (men and women living together—with or without children—without being married) and "visiting unions," where the man and woman live apart. Women are the heads of households in common-law relationships and visiting unions.
11 • CLOTHING
Dominicans wear modern Western-style clothing. However, on Creole Day and other special occasions, women still wear the traditional national costume. This includes the brightly colored jupe (a skirt with lace petticoats), la wobe douilette (a wide blouse), and a madras hat called tete case.
12 • FOOD
Dominican food combines French, English, and African influences. Basic dietary staples include fish, yams, and other vegetables. The ti-ti-ri, a tiny whitefish found in Dominican rivers, is eaten fried with garlic and lime. A unique local food is mountain chicken, which is not actually chicken but the legs of the crapaud, a local frog.
Other regional favorites include crab backs (stuffed crabshells); boija, a coconut-cornmeal bread; funchi, a cornmeal-andokra pudding; and pumpkin soup. A recipe for pumpkin soup follows.
- 3 cups canned pumpkin or 2 pounds cooked fresh pumpkin
- 3 cups milk
- 1 Tablespoon buter
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnnamon
- ½ cup finely chopped ham or bacon
- Put the milk in a large saucepan and heat it until it boils. Remove from heat.
- Add the pumpkin to the milk and stir to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients and return to the heat. Heat slowly until mixture is heated through, but do not boil.
Cassava bread is a staple among the Carib population. A popular beverage is a sea-moss drink—made from vanilla, algae, and milk—which is also a favorite in Grenada. Another local drink, Bwa bande (brewed from the bark of the tree of the same name), is believed to enhance male sexual potency.
13 • EDUCATION
The adult literacy rate (percentage of the population able to read and write) in Dominica is approximately 95 percent. Widespread access to public education was not provided until the 1960s. Children attend school from age five to age fifteen, at which point they are in the U.S. equivalent to eighth grade. Most students end their secondary schooling in the U.S. equivalent of the tenth grade. A few continue their studies in order to qualify for admission to a university. Many qualified Dominican students lack the financial resources to attend college. The United States, Great Britain, Canada, and France have made scholarships and other forms of financial aid available to Dominican students. Education is a high priority even though many young people must work to supplement the family income.
14 • CULTURAL HERITAGE
Dominican-born novelist Jean Rhys (1894–1979) spent much of her life in Europe. Caribbean scenes appear in her 1934 novel, Voyage in the Dark. Her last work, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), is set in the Caribbean. Phyllis Shand Allfrey (1908–86), a poet and novelist, returned to Dominica in the 1950s after being educated in the United States and England. Lennox Honychurch (1952–), author of The Dominica Story: A History of the Island and Our Island Culture, is a well-known Dominican historian, folklorist, and painter.
Alwin Bully, a Dominican playwright, co-authored Speak Brother Speak and was a founding member of the Peoples' Action Theatre. He has also written radio plays and musicals. Dominica also has a School of Dance and a professional dance troupe, the Waitukubuli Dance Company. The Carib Territory is home to several famous artists, including Faustulus Frederick and Jacob Frederick.
15 • EMPLOYMENT
The Dominican labor force totals about 25,000 people. About 40 percent are employed in agriculture (including food processing), while industry and commerce employ 32 percent. The rest work in other areas of the economy. The standard work day is eight hours long. Unemployment is between 10 and 15 percent. Many Dominicans have sought work on St. Thomas and other nearby islands.
16 • SPORTS
The nation's most popular sports are cricket and soccer (called "football"). Major cricket games draw thousands of fans. The game is especially popular in the Carib Territory. Other popular sports include volleyball, basketball, and squash. Tourists, although relatively few in number, enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling.
17 • RECREATION
Dominican men, like men in other parts of the Caribbean, enjoy playing dominoes in one of the many rum shops on the island. Popular music on the island includes reggae, Zouk, and Cadance. In 1997, Dominica launched an annual music festival featuring performers from all over the Caribbean region.
18 • CRAFTS AND HOBBIES
A popular traditional Dominican dance is the "Jing-ping." Instruments used to accompany this dance include an accordion, a bass instrument called a "boom-boom," and a percussion instrument called a "shak-shak."
The Carib Territory has sixteen craft shops that turn out intricate, colorful straw hats, baskets, and other woven goods. The Caribs are also known for their carved canoes. Other crafts on Dominica include mats woven from a grass called vertivert.
19 • SOCIAL PROBLEMS
Dominica's limited water supply is threatened by pollution from agricultural chemicals, untreated sewage, and industrial waste. Dominica has been used by international drug traffickers as a shipping point for narcotics.
20 • BIBLIOGRAPHY
Booth, Robert. "Dominica, Difficult Paradise." National Geographic (June 1990): 100–120.
Cameron, Sarah, and Ben Box, eds. Caribbean Islands Handbook. Chicago: Passport Books, 1995.
Meditz, Sandra W., and Dennis M. Hanratty. Islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean: A Regional Study. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989.
Myers, Robert A. Dominica. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1987.
Schwab, David, ed. Insight Guides. Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
Walton, Chelle Koster. Caribbean Ways: A Cultural Guide. Westwood, Mass.: Riverdale, 1993.
Caribbean Investments Ltd. [Online] Available http://www.delphis.dm/home.htm, 1997.
Dominica Festivals Commission. [Online] Available http://www.dominica.dm, 1997.
Microsoft. Expedia.com. [Online] Available http://www.expedia.msn.com/wg/Places/Dominica/HSFS.htm, 1998.
World Away Travel. [Online] Available http://www.worldaway.com/islands/dominica/home.html, 1998.
World Travel Guide. Dominica. [Online] Available http://www.wtgonline.com/country/dm/gen.html, 1998.
"Dominicans." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
"Dominicans." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
POPULATION: 7.8 million in the Dominican Republic; 0.5–1 million or more in New York City
RELIGION: Roman Catholicism; Evangelical Protestantism; voodoo
1 • INTRODUCTION
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the nation of Haiti. Hispaniola was sighted by Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) in 1492. Four years later, his brother, Bartolome (c.1444–1514), founded Santo Domingo, the present-day capital of the Dominican Republic and the oldest European-founded city in the Western Hemisphere. Because of its importance as a trading port location in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic was ruled by several foreign powers, including France, Haiti, and Spain.
Under the leadership of national hero Juan Pablo Duarte (1813–76), independence from Spanish rule was declared in 1844, but the government remained unstable. The nation was again ruled by the Spanish between 1861 and 1865. The United States occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924. The thirty-year rule of Rafael Trujillo began in 1930. Trujillo was assassinated (1891–1961) in 1961, and writer Juan Bosch (1908–) came into power briefly before being ousted by a military coup in 1963. The U.S. military intervened in 1965. Joaquin Balaguer (1907–) was elected president, a position he held into the 1990s. The country has basically been governed democratically since the 1960s.
2 • LOCATION
With an area of approximately 18,819 square miles (48,741 square kilometers), the Dominican Republic is about the same size as Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south by the Caribbean Sea, the island is separated on the east by a seventy-mile-wide body of water called the Mona Passage. The country includes rugged mountain peaks, rolling hills, rich valleys, lush sugarcane plantations, and fine, white beaches. The climate is tropical. Both the highest and lowest points in the Caribbean region are found in the Dominican Republic. Pico Duarte is the highest mountain, rising 10,417 feet (3,820 meters) above sea level. The barren area between the two southern mountain ranges is called the Culde-Sac and is the lowest point.
Almost 8 million people live in the Dominican Republic, 60 percent in the cities and 40 percent in rural areas. The capital city of Santo Domingo houses a population of a little more than 2 million people.
About one in seven Dominicans now lives outside of the country. New York City has more Dominicans—between 500,000 and 1 million—than any city in the world except Santo Domingo. Large numbers of Dominicans also live in Florida and New Jersey. The money sent home by these dominicanos ausentes (absent Dominicans), estimated to be about $500 million each year, is an important factor in their homeland's economy.
About 70 percent of the country's population is classified as mulatto (of mixed black and white ancestry), 16 percent as white, and 11 percent as black. The Dominican people actually use a more specific system of racial labeling. Blanco (white) refers to whites and persons of mixed white and Amerindian (native) descent (mestizos); Indio claro (tan) refers to mulattos, including those with Amerindian ancestry; Indio oscuro (dark Indian) describes anyone who is mostly black with some white or Amerindian ancestry; and Negro (not a derogatory term in the Dominican Republic) is reserved for persons who are 100 percent African.
3 • LANGUAGE
Spanish is the official and universally spoken language of the Dominican Republic. Compared with other Latin American countries, Dominican Spanish is considered close to classical (Castillian) Spanish, but has a distinctive accent and includes many local expressions. Some English is spoken in the capital city of Santo Domingo.
4 • FOLKLORE
Combining Catholic beliefs with African customs, formularios and oraciones are special chants that are used in the belief that they attract good luck or avoid the evil eye. Many Dominicans believe that the Catholic saints possess a kind of magical power, and express this belief in santos (saints) cults. Believers keep images of one or two saints in the house, and offer things to the images in the hope that their wishes will be fulfilled. On the "Night of the Saints" (Noche Vela), the saints are believed to be called to earth.
5 • RELIGION
Reverence for religion in the Dominican Republic is demonstrated by the cross and bible in the center of the nation's coat of arms. Although 93 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, many Dominicans do not attend church regularly. Religious customs among Catholics include rosarios, which are processions organized to pray for help from a patron saint or the Virgin Mary.
Evangelical Protestantism has become popular in recent years. Its emphasis on family values and condemnation of alcohol, prostitution, and wife-beating, have made this religion attractive to low-income Dominicans, who traditionally have had unstable family structures.
Followers of spirit worship and voodoo, which was introduced into the country by Haitian immigrants, are thought to number about 60,000.
6 • MAJOR HOLIDAYS
Many holidays in the Dominican Republic are religious ones. In addition to Christmas and Good Friday, the Day of Our Lady of Altagracia (January 21), Corpus Christi (June 17), and the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy (September 24) are celebrated. Secular, or non-religious, holidays include Día de Duarte, a commemoration of the birthday of national hero Juan Pablo Duarte (January 26), Independence Day (February 27), Labor Day (May 1), and Dominican Restoration Day (August 16).
Every town also holds a festival in honor of its patron saint, combining religious observance with non-religious activities; dancing, drinking, and gambling. The Dominican Independence Day (February 27) falls around the beginning of Lent. It is the occasion for a rambunctious Carnival celebration that draws more than half a million people each year to Santo Domingo.
7 • RITES OF PASSAGE
Major life events such as birth, marriage, and death, are marked by religious ceremonies according to each Dominican's faith community.
8 • RELATIONSHIPS
When greeting one another, Dominicans use the formal pronoun usted instead of the familiar form tu, unless the relationship is a very close one.
Compadrazgo, a relationship similar to that of godparents in the United States, is an important part of growing up in the Dominican Republic. The compadre (which literally means, "co-parent") is chosen when a child is baptized, and the special relationship of the compadre with the child and the child's parents is enduring, strong, and loyal.
9 • LIVING CONDITIONS
Traditional rural dwellings are made of wood with thatched or tin roofs and are often painted in bright colors. To keep the house cool, cooking is usually done in a separate structure that has slotted sides to release smoke and heat. The extensive rural-to-urban migration has created a severe housing shortage in the cities. Slums and squatter settlements have sprung up in the capital city of Santo Domingo.
The Dominican Republic's infant mortality rate in 1993 was forty-nine deaths per one thousand births, and average life expectancy was sixty-nine years. Hospitals and medical practioners are concentrated in the two largest cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago. There is a lower quality of health care in rural areas. Health programs are offered through the nation's welfare system, which covers between 70 and 80 percent of the population. The poor economy has resulted in shortages of doctors and nurses, medicine, and surgical supplies. Those who can afford it consult private physicians.
Very few Dominicans own a car. Most of the passenger cars are driven either by the very wealthy or tourists.
10 • FAMILY LIFE
Traditionally, the extended-family household with a dominant father figure has been normal among the middle and upper classes. In contrast, low-income families have less stable ties, and many of these households consist of either a couple (with or without children) living together in a common-law marriage, or a female-headed household with an absentee father. Women still consider the man the head of the household, but they have exerted more authority within the family, have won greater educational and employment opportunities, and exercised more control over the number of children they bear.
11 • CLOTHING
People in the Dominican Republic wear Western-style clothing suitable for their tropical climate.
12 • FOOD
The popular Caribbean dish of rice and beans (arroz con habichuelas) is a staple in the Dominican diet. It is nicknamed "the flag" (la bandera) and served with stewed beef. Another favorite dish is sancocho, a stew made with local meats and vegetables, often including plantains. Plantains, closely related to bananas and found throughout the Caribbean islands, are especially popular in the Dominican Republic. Ripe fried plantains are called amarillas, green fried ones are patacon pisao, and they become tostones when fried and mashed. Popular snack foods include chicarrones (pieces of fried pork) and empanadillas (tangy meat tarts). Dominican food is rather greasy since most of the dishes are fried. Puddings—including sweet rice, corn, and banana—are popular desserts.
- 6 overripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine
- 3 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons of sweetened shredded coconut for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325°f.
- Combine bananas, melted butter or margarine, orange juice, and sugar with mixing spoon or electric mixer.
- Carefully fold in stiffly beaten egg whites and transfer mixture to buttered or nonstick casserole or baking pan.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with shredded coconut.
13 • EDUCATION
In 1990 the estimated literacy rate (percent of the population who can read and write) was 83 percent. The law requires students to attend school for eight years, but many leave earlier to help support their families. Additional problems with education include a shortage of teachers, especially in rural areas, and a lack of adequate facilities. Institutions of higher learning include the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and four private universities.
14 • CULTURAL HERITAGE
The Henriquez-Ureña family has been at the center of the Dominican Republic's literary heritage. Salomé Ureña de Henriquez (1850–97) was a nineteenth-century poet who established the country's first higher education facility for women, the Instituto de Señoritas. In the twentieth century, the critic Pedro Henriquez-Ureña was deeply involved in education. Many consider Gaston Fernando Delingue (1884–1946) the Dominican national poet. The country's best-known writer internationally is Juan Bosch, who served briefly as president. The Dominican Republic has a National Symphony Orchestra and a National School of Fine Arts, located in Santo Domingo.
15 • EMPLOYMENT
Agriculture has always been the main source of employment in the Dominican Republic, but today a growing number of Dominicans work in service-related jobs, especially in tourism. Most Dominican farmers do not own their land and are sharecroppers or tenant farmers. Those who do own their own farms generally have fewer than two hectares (five acres) and grow only enough food to feed their own families. The country suffers from an extremely high unemployment rate, one of the main reasons Dominicans leave the country. Race has traditionally been a significant factor in the employment options of Dominicans. Higher-status jobs in business, government, and the professions are usually held by lighter-skinned persons. Women's unemployment rate is also higher and many are denied full employment benefits.
16 • SPORTS
The Dominican Republic's national sport is baseball, with a season from October to February. Thousands of fans attend the games at Santo Domingo's stadiums. Major and minor league baseball teams in the United States have many Dominican players. Other popular Dominican sports include horse racing and cockfighting.
17 • RECREATION
Dance is a national passion in the Dominican Republic. The most popular dance is the merengue, traditionally accompanied by music played by a trio. Even the smallest towns have a dance hall. There are annual merengue festivals in Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Sosúa. Salsa music is also very popular. The major cities, especially Santo Domingo, have numerous nightclubs and gambling casinos where patrons may legally play blackjack, craps, and roulette.
18 • CRAFTS AND HOBBIES
Dominican folk music reflects Spanish, African, and Amerindian influences. A native percussion instrument, the güira, is a legacy of the island's original inhabitants. With maracas, palitos (also in the percussion family), and guitar, the güira is used to accompany romantic decimas ( folk songs.)
Other popular folk instruments include the balsié (accordion) and pandero (tambourine). The national dance of the Dominican Republic is the merengue, which features a stiff-legged step that is something like a limp. Other folk dances include the yuca, the sarambo, the zapateo, and the fandango.
Local crafts include woodcarvings, pottery, handmade rocking chairs (which have been popular ever since one was given to U.S. president John F. Kennedy [1917–63] as a gift), ceramics, macramé, and handknitted clothing. Dominicans also produce hand-crafted jewelry of amber and larimar, also known as Dominican Turquoise, a light-blue stone unique to the region.
19 • SOCIAL PROBLEMS
The Dominican Republic suffers from serious economic and social problems, including an unemployment rate of 30 percent. Another 20 percent of the work force is underemployed. Migration from rural to urban areas has created a shortage in housing and a rise in urban crime. In the country's capital city, Santo Domingo, much of the housing is substandard and the quality of the water is poor.
20 • BIBLIOGRAPHY
Creed, Alexander. Dominican Republic. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.
Schoenhals, Kai P. Dominican Republic. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1990.
Walton, Chelle Koster. Caribbean Ways: A Cultural Guide. Westwood, Mass.: Riverdale, 1993.
Embassy of the Dominican Republic, Washington, D.C. Dominican Republic. [Online] Available http://www.domrep.org/, 1998.
Ruiz-Garcia, Pedro. The Latino Connection. [Online] Available http://www.ascinsa.com/LATINOCONNECTION/dominica.html, 1998.
World Travel Guide, Dominican Republic. [Online] Available http:/www.wtgonline.com/country/do/gen.html, 1998.
"Dominicans." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans-0
"Dominicans." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans-0
DOMINICANS, or Order of Preachers, are part of a worldwide Roman Catholic religious community of friars founded in 1216 by Saint Dominic. The Dominicans arrived in America with the Spanish explorers. Although the first two Catholic bishops of New York—Richard L. Concanen (1808) and John Connolly (1815)—were Dominicans, the first community (organized with a democratic constitution) was established at Saint Rose in Springfield, Kentucky, in 1806. Its founder, Edward Dominic Fenwick, also established the first Catholic school for boys west of the Alleghenies (1806) and the first Catholic church in Ohio—at Somerset in 1818. In California, community life was established by José Sadoc Alemany, who was appointed bishop of Monterey (1851) and later the first archbishop of San Francisco (1853). About the same time, the Dominicans established themselves in Washington, D.C. (1852) and New York (1867).
By the 1990s, there were three Dominican provinces in the United States, with more than 1,000 priests, brothers, and sisters engaged chiefly in parochial, educational, and missionary apostates. Dominicans staff Providence College in Rhode Island and teach at many other universities, some high schools, and their own seminaries. In 1909, they organized the Holy Name Society, which, by mid-century, had a membership of over 5 million and joined an expanding list of Dominican lay organizations, including the international Dominican Youth Movement. The Dominicans publish scholarly periodicals (The Thomist and Cross and Crown) and critical editions of the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Significant foreign missionary work has been done by American Dominicans in Pakistan, Peru, Chile, China, Kenya, Bolivia, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Philippines.
Woods, Richard. Mysticism and Prophecy: The Dominican Tradition. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis; London: DLT, 1998.
Cornelius P.Forster,O. P./a. r.
"Dominicans." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dominicans
"Dominicans." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dominicans
Dominicans (dəmĬn´Ĭkənz), Roman Catholic religious order, founded by St. Dominic in 1216, officially named the Order of Preachers (O.P.). Although they began locally in evangelizing the Albigenses, before St. Dominic's death (1221) there were already eight national provinces. The rule and constitutions had novel features. For the first time the members of the order (friars) were accepted not into a specific house but into the whole order. The friar's life was to be one of preaching and study; the order provided houses of study at centers of learning. Unlike that of most orders, the Dominican plan of government is nonpaternalistic. Priors of houses and provinces are elected for specific terms, and they do not receive the honor and prestige accorded an abbot. Dominicans were prominent in the medieval universities; St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican, and the order has zealously propagated Thomism. It has been often called on to provide official theologians; this fact, as well as the coincidence of origin, accounts for the Dominicans being the order principally in charge of the Inquisition. In the 19th cent. the Dominicans had a revival in France and Great Britain, becoming leaders in Catholic social movements. Dominicans established themselves in the United States soon after 1800; their first U.S. province was founded in 1805. The Dominicans are especially attached to the rosary. Their habit is white, with a black mantle that is worn for preaching. They used to be called Black Friars. Dominicans are the seventh largest order. There is a contemplative order of Dominican nuns and a widespread third order, many of whose members are engaged in teaching.
See studies by R. F. Bennett (1937, repr. 1971), W. A. Hinnebusch (1966), and G. Bedouelle (tr. M. T. Noble, 1987).
"Dominicans." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
"Dominicans." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
The Dominicans first settled in England in Oxford and London in 1221 and by their dissolution in 1538–9 there were over 50 English friaries, constituting the English province, and divided into the four disciplinary ‘visitations’ of London, Oxford, Cambridge, and York.
"Dominicans." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
"Dominicans." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans
"Dominicans." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dominicans
"Dominicans." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dominicans
"Dominicans." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans-0
"Dominicans." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominicans-0