However, with European discovery came home worries, as is repeated so often in history. It was Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus who claimed to have discovered the island, landing on what is modern-day Haiti the nation that shares the same island as the Dominican Republic on December 6th 1492, on his first voyage. He claimed the island for the Spanish, and ingeniously named it Le Espanola. Luckily, he was a better sailor than ideas man!
Although relations between the Tainos and the Spanish started civilly enough, it was not to last. Numerous battles erupted between the two groups, with the Tainos defending the land they themselves had taken so many centuries before, viciously. By the mid 1500s, the Tainos had declined to as few as 21,000. The main culprit for this drastic drop was thought to be European infectious diseases, which they caught from their invaders and had no previous exposure, and therefore immunity, to.
Having won dominance of the island, Spanish interest in it quickly declined due to what was seen as more crucial land gains in the Aztec and Inca empires. In 1697, following French buccaneers landing on the island of the Dominican Republic, the Spanish agreed to cede the area to the French. Once more, the Dominican Republic had new masters, as the entire island comprising of the modern day Dominican Republic and Haiti became theirs in 1795.
The land changed hands again in 1808, as a direct result of the Napoleonic Wars. With the aid of Great Britain, the population of the Dominican Republic revolted against French rule and the land was returned to Spain in 1808.
Following this, thoughts turned to civil matters and the island itself was divided into the modern day separate countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Literally decades of civil war were to follow, with political murder and difficult living conditions for all a regular feature. While the United States, at the start of the 20th century, sought to intervene, little could be done.
The turmoil was to continue, with fractions between the now separate nations of Haiti and Dominican Republic continuing. The United States retained an interest in affairs, and to an extent still do to this day. However, the country is more balanced and stable now than it has been for centuries, with a decisive move toward an elective democracy now in place. Hopefully, this will be the final chapter in the bloody Dominican Republic history.
Plan your next vacation to the beautiful Dominican Republic, as it offers you an unforgettable travel experience.
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Article Added on Wednesday, April 22, 2009
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