The Dominican Republic is a sovereign state occupying the eastern five-eighths of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western three-eighths of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two countries. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area (after Cuba) at 48,445 square kilometers (18,705 sq mi), and 3rd by population with approximately 10 million people, of which approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.
Christopher Columbus landed on the Western part of Hispaniola, in what is now Haiti, on December 6, 1492. The island became the first seat of Spanish colonial rule in the New World. The Dominican people declared independence in November 1821 but were forcefully annexed by their more powerful neighbor Haiti in February 1822. After the 1844 victory in the Dominican War of Independence against Haitian rule the country fell again under Spanish colonial rule until the Dominican War of Restoration of 1865. [more]