Dominicans (Spanish: Dominicanos) are people who are ethnically associated with the Dominican Republic. Dominican was historically the name for the inhabitants of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo, the site of the first European settlement in the Western Hemisphere. The culture held in common by most Dominicans is referred to as mainstream Dominican culture, a mixture of different influences and customs having origins predominately in a European cultural basis, largely derived from the traditions of Spain, especially from Andalusia and the Canary Islands. The country has also been highly influenced by African culture, and Native Taino being a significant minority. The Dominican Republic has also received immigration from other parts of Spain such as Catalonia as well as from other European countries such as France and Portugal.
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 population of the Dominican Republic in 2016 was estimated at 10.2 million by the National Bureau of Statistics of the Dominican Republic.
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), which is the adjective form of "Domingo", and 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.
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.
Another name that's been commonly used is "Quisqueyans".
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, c. AD 650. The native Tainos divided the island into several chiefdoms and engaged in farming, fishing, as well as hunting, and gathering.
The Spaniards arrived in 1492.
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 settlement 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.
The southern city of Santo Domingo served as a hub for military expeditions pushing across to the American mainland.
On April 17, 1655, the English landed on nearby Hispaniola and marched 30 miles overland to Santo Domingo, the main Spanish stronghold on the island. The sweltering heat soon felled many of the northern European invaders. The Spanish defenders, having had time to prepare an ambushed and sprang on them with mounted lancers, sending them careening back. The elite defenders of Santo Domingo were amply rewarded with titles from the Spanish Crown.
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 slave trade 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. It is estimated that the population of the colony in 1777 was 400,000, of which 100,000 were Europeans and Criollos, 60,000 African, 100.000 mestizo, 60,000 zambo and 100,000 mulatto.
Genetics and ethnicities
The overall genetic makeup of the Dominican Republic's population is estimated to be approximately 60% Caucasian/European, 30% Black African, and 10% Native American on average according to recent genealogical DNA testing. Recent studies in population genetics have concluded that the Dominican gene pool is on average predominantly Black African with European, Native Taino and Guanche influences, the latter two originating in the indigenous people of the Canary Islands and Dominican's pre-Hispanic Taíno inhabitants. European and native components are highest in the north-central region (Cibao), while the African input is higher in the southeastern plain, and generally in coastal areas.
Most Dominicans fall within three major ethnic racial groups.
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). These types of genes have also been detected in Puerto Rico.
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. The Arab community is also rising at an increasing rate.
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. Nationwide, there are an estimated 100 Jews left. Immigration from Europe and the United States is at an all-time high. 82,000 Americans (in 1999), 40,000 Italians, 1,900 French, and 800 Germans.
The 2010 Census registered 311,969 Haitians; 24,457 Americans; 6,691 Spaniards; 5,763 Puerto Ricans; and 5,132 Venezuelans.
In 2012, the Dominican government made a survey of immigrants in the country and found that there were: 458,233 Haitian-born; 13,514 U. S.-born (excluding Puerto Rican-born); 6,720 Spanish-born; 4,416 Puerto Rican-born; 4,044 Italian-born; 3,643 Chinese-born; 3,599 French-born; 3,434 Venezuelan-born; 3,145 Cuban-born; 2,738 Colombian-born; 1,792 German-born; among others.
In the second half of 2017, a second survey of foreign population was conducted in the Dominican Republic.
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 and the first person with European (specifically Portuguese) and African ancestry to settle in what is present day New York City.
Dominican emigration to the United States continued throughout the centuries.
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. 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. 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 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.
Besides the United States, significant numbers of Dominicans have also settled in Spain and in the nearby U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
The culture of the Dominican Republic, like its Caribbean neighbors, is a blend of the cultures of the European colonists, African slaves, and Taíno natives.
Spanish is the predominant language in the Dominican Republic; the local dialect is called Dominican Spanish, it closely resembles Canarian Spanish, and borrowed vocabularies from the Arawak language. 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. 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.
The Dominican Republic is 80% Christian, including 57% Roman Catholic and 23% Protestant,. Recent but small+scale immigration, as well as proselytizing, has brought other religions, with the following shares of the population: Spiritist: 1.2%, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1.1%, Buddhist: 0.10%, Bahá'í: 0.1%, Islam: 0.02%, Judaism: 0.01%, Chinese folk religion: 0.1%,.
Roman Catholicism was introduced by Columbus and Spanish missionaries.
There has always been religious freedom throughout the entire country.
Judaism appeared in the Dominican Republic in the late 1930s.
Dominican cuisine is predominantly made up of a combination of Spanish, Native American and a little of African influences over the last few centuries.
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.
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).
The beverages Dominicans enjoy include Morir Soñando, rum, beer, Mama Juana, batida (smoothie), jugos naturales (freshly squeezed fruit juices), mabí, and coffee.
Musically, the Dominican Republic is known for the creation of the musical style called merengue, 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, 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.
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
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.
Particularly among the young, a genre that has been growing in popularity in recent years in the Dominican Republic is Dominican rap.
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. 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.
Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic. 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. Among the outstanding MLB players born in the Dominican are: Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Pedro Martínez, Albert Pujols, Adrián Beltré, José Reyes, José Bautista, Hanley Ramírez, Miguel Tejada, Juan Marichal, Rafael Furcal and Sammy Sosa.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Dominican American
- Dominican-Puerto Rican
- List of Dominican Americans
- Dominicans in Spain
- Culture of the Dominican Republic
- Demographics of the Dominican Republic
- History of the Dominican Republic
- The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and Dominican National Identity*. April J. Mayes. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014. ISBN 978-0-8130-4919-9