TOP-50 interesting facts about Dominica and Dominicans
Dominica is a country in the Caribbean Sea on the eastern part of the island of Haiti, which shares many similarities with its neighbours. But at the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in the Dominican Republic.
50 most interesting facts about Dominicans and Dominica
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. It is believed that the first people on the island of Haiti did not appear until the beginning of our era. The colonisation of the island by the Taino Indians, who came from what is now Venezuela, began around 600 AD.
2. In 1100, the Carib Indians, who feuded with the Taino, appeared in the Dominican Republic.
3. Europeans discovered Haiti on 5 December 1492 when the Columbus expedition arrived at its shores. The Spanish gave the discovered land the name Española. Columbus became the island’s first governor.
4. The oldest city in the Dominican Republic is considered to be the capital city of Santo Domingo. It was founded in 1496 by Columbus’ brother Bartolomeo
5. The Spanish established sugar cane cultivation on the island. For a long time it was the main income of Dominica.
6. In 1586 Santo Domingo was captured by the English pirate Francis Drake, who held the city for several months and returned it to the Spanish for a decent ransom.
7. In 1697, the united Española was divided into two parts. The French colony of Haiti was founded on the west and the Spanish Dominican Republic on the east.
8. Juan Duarte, who later became a national hero, played a major role in the history of the republic. He led the struggle for independence from Haiti, which ended in 1844 with a complete victory.
9. Later in Dominican history, there were periods of new Spanish colonisation in the 19th century and American occupation from 1916 to 1924.
10. In the last century, Dominica was shaken by numerous coups and uprisings. Only at the end of the century, the situation calmed down, and the country began to develop dynamically.
Dominican Republic today
11. Today, Dominica is the second largest country by area among the states of the Caribbean. It is home to 11 million people.
12. Tourism plays a major role in the economy of the republic. More than 60 per cent of GDP is provided by the service sector, three times ahead of industry.
13. Every year, about 5 million tourists visit the resorts of the Dominican Republic. Most of them come from the USA and Mexico.
14. The second important part of the country’s economy is the production of cigars. There are both large factories, where production is automated, and family enterprises, where cigars are rolled manually.
15. Almost 40 per cent of the Dominican population live below the poverty line. But it’s much better than in neighbouring Haiti. And that’s why Dominican cities are filled with Haitian migrants.
16. Modern Dominicans are mostly descendants of mixed marriages – mestizos and mulattos. Pure-blooded Africans or Europeans here only 30%.
17. In the mountains of the northern coast of the island, there is a lot of amber. The locals make beautiful trinkets from it, and a considerable part of the fossilised resin is exported. The Republic is second only to the Baltic Sea in amber reserves.
18. Another symbol of modern Dominica is the Larimar, a semi-precious stone discovered only in 1974. It is also called Dominican turquoise.
19. There is no pension in the country. Upon retirement, people are paid a one-time allowance in the amount of contributions made during their years of service. Further, old Dominicans can count only on themselves.
20. The most part of the population of the republic professes Christianity. The famous voodoo cult, widespread in neighbouring Haiti, has not taken root here, although tourists can perform a theatrical ritual.
21. electric networks in the country are designed for voltage of 110 volts. Therefore, tourists should take an adapter with them.
22. One of the main architectural sights of the country is considered to be the Columbus Lighthouse in Santo Domingo. It is a huge memorial building in the shape of a cross, built in 1992. It houses an urn with Columbus’ ashes and heart.
23. No monuments relating to the culture of the local Indians of the pre-Columbian era have survived in the country. One of the oldest buildings is the cathedral in the capital. It was built in 1546.
24. From modern religious sights, it is necessary to pay attention to Basilica of Virgin Mary in the city of Iguey. It was built in 1971 and is distinguished by the high arches above the basilica.
25. Another popular attraction in the capital is the National Aquarium. Its 90 tanks are home to more than 3,000 different marine animals.
26. The city of Altos de Chavon can also be called a landmark of the country. It is an artificial city in medieval European style, which even has an amphitheatre. The famous film «Anaconda» was filmed there.
27. A unique and mystical attraction of the Republic is considered to be the Magnetico Field in the province of Baroona in the south-west of the country. It is a small stretch of road where cars start driving uphill by themselves. It is believed to be the location of some kind of magnetic anomaly.
Character and customs of the Dominicans
28. Like the inhabitants of other hot southern countries, Dominicans are not punctual, preferring not to hurry anywhere. They like to postpone things until tomorrow, saying «mañana». And if they mention the day after tomorrow, «pasada mañana», you can forget about fulfilment of the promise.
29. The main character trait of the Dominicans is their love of contemplation. They often sit in large groups at intersections and roadsides and comment animatedly on everything they see.
30. At the same time, Dominicans are very gambling people. They love to argue and constantly participate in lotteries, the branches of which can be found even in the most miserable village.
31. Another weakness of Dominican men turns out to be cuisine. They all like to eat well, and therefore the restaurant business on the island is one of the most profitable.
32. The traditional local dish, which has survived since pre-Columbian times, is cassava tortillas – casabe.
33. Another popular local dish is La Bandera, which literally translates from Spanish as “the flag”. It is a dish in the colours of the national flag, where white is rice, red is meat and beans, and blue is vegetables.
34. Women in the country are very careful about their appearance and visit local beauty parlours at least once a week. Especially popular among them is the procedure of hair straightening, which most mulatto women have naturally curly hair.
35. If you see women on the streets of the country with a load on their heads – know that they are from Haiti. Dominican women will never mess up their hair.
36. Dominicans are very cheerful and sociable people. There is no prejudice against taking photos, on the contrary, locals often annoy tourists by persuading them to take photos.
37. Locals are always keen to help tourists, but you can’t trust them. After all, they often do not tell you the truth, but what they think you will be pleased to hear.
38. When meeting Dominicans, it is customary not only to say hello and hug, but also to kiss on the cheeks. And to women usually address «My Soul», which does not oblige to anything.
39. The country is very fond of organising lavish carnival processions, timed to coincide with the beginning of Lent. They take place at the end of February in many cities of the country, but the most magnificent one is in Santo Domingo. It is even compared to the famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
40. Another popular holiday on the island is the festival of merengue, a local dance. It is held in July and is very popular with tourists.
41. The favourite musical instruments of Dominicans are the maracas, which came from Spain, and the Guira, a cylinder-shaped percussion instrument with many notches.
42. Very early marriages are the norm in the country. According to local laws, girls can marry from the age of 15 and boys can marry from 16.
43. At the same time, most modern Dominican women are not in a hurry to legalise their relationships. Here you can often meet unmarried women who have several children from different men, and it is not considered something special.
44. Dominican families tend to have many children. The European tradition of having one or two children has not reached here. Children in the country are loved and spoilt as much as possible.
45. The main sign and natural attraction of the republic are its luxurious beaches, everywhere surrounded by coconut palms. They have white fine sand and are surrounded by coral reefs.
46. A significant part of the territory of the Republic is occupied by mountains. The highest point of the country is Duarte Peak. It rises 3087 metres above sea level. There are many rivers in the mountains, which abound with colourful waterfalls.
47. There are many amazingly beautiful caves in the mountains of the island. One of the most visited by tourists is the Three Eyes Cave, which is located near the capital’s airport. It has three lakes with water of different temperatures.
48. In the south-west of the country is Lake Enriquillo. It is the largest salt lake in the West Indies and the largest in the country. It is also famous for having real crocodiles in its salty waters.
49. The Dominican Republic includes several islands, the largest of which is Saona in the south-east of the country. It is part of a nature reserve and there are no tourist hotels on the island. But still thousands of tourists go there to admire the Caribbean Bounty.
50. One of the symbols of the country is the royal palm tree. It is an ornamental tree, up to 40 metres high. Its luxurious branches even got on the coat of arms of the Dominican Republic.
Friends! If you know any more interesting facts about Dominicans and Dominica, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be happy to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!