Dominican Republic: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Dominican Republic, U.S. businesses, famous firsts in the Capital, colony of escaped slaves.



U.S. business interests are very prominent: Falconbridge Nickel, a Canadian-based, U.S.-operated mining concern, has opened a $200 million mining/refining complex; Shell Oil is building a $30 million oil refinery; and Gulf & Western has extensive interests in sugar and tourism. In addition, the Dominican Government has established 4 "free zones" where U.S. firms may operate free of taxes for up to 20 years, while they exploit the $2 daily wage and the absence of unions. The country's official unemployment rate is around 30%, not including the cyclical unemployment or underemployment of the 80% of the work force engaged in the sugar industry.

Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, boasts an impressive series of 1sts: Oldest city in the Western Hemisphere, it has the oldest cathedral, and its university was authorized in 1538, 13 years before that of Lima or Mexico City. The remains of Christopher Columbus lie in the cathedral. Santo Domingo also had the 1st mint and the 1st hospital in the New World.

There is a small group of English-speaking blacks living at Samana, in the northeastern part of the island. They escaped from slavery in the U.S., and were settled there by the Dominican Government in 1824. For nearly 100 years they lived in near-total isolation. They still speak the English of the antebellum Deep South.

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