Dominican Republic [formerly Santo Domingo] (Sp. República Dominicana)
- Martha Ellen Davis
- and Paul Austerlitz
[formerly Santo Domingo] (Sp. República Dominicana)
Country in the West Indies. It occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Greater Antillean island of Hispaniola (La Española), today shared with Haiti. Hispaniola was called ‘Quisqueya’ by the original Amerindian inhabitants, the Taínos (subgroup of Arawak, one of the four major language families of the greater Amazon region), who numbered at least one million at the time of European contact in 1492. The island became the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo and thus the first European colony in the New World (1492). The modern Dominican Republic reflects its cultural heritage. Its vernacular musical culture is of Spanish and West and Central African heritage.
Martha Ellen Davis
The Taínos were virtually decimated by disease, warfare and suicide within the first 40 years of conquest. African slaves were introduced as a substitute labour force as early as 1502. However, the island was abondoned by Spain after the exhaustion of gold and the discovery of greater riches on the mainland (Mexico, ...