Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is a country situated in the Caribbean Sea, occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago. Bordered by Haiti to the west, the Dominican Republic is the second largest nation in size and population in the Caribbean. Inhabited by Arawakan-speaking Taínos, in 1492 the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus on behalf of Spain. The first permanent European settlement of Santo Domingo was established in 1496, by Columbus' brother Bartholomew, which became a centre of Spanish administration of American territories. The 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, forced Spain to cede the western end of Hispaniola (now Haiti) to France. The entire island was occupied by the French following the Peace of Basel in 1795, but the Spanish re-established control with the aid of Great Britain, following a local rebellion in 1808. Decades of sporadic border conflicts with Haiti followed into the late-19th century. Independence from Spain was initially declared in 1821, and formally recognized in 1863. Between 1916 and 1924 the Dominican Republic was briefly occupied by the United States, on the pretext to protect the trade routes to the Panama Canal from political instability in the country during the First World War. The capital and largest city is Santo Domingo. The population of the Dominican Republic in the 2010 census was 9,445,281.