Dating culture and geographics

In addition, they retain close ties with the United States, which occupied the island in the early twentieth century.The national community is struggling to build a democracy against a corrupt and authoritarian political elite. The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola and is 18,816 square miles (48,734 square kilometers), about twice the size of New Hampshire.The Caribbean coastal plain includes a series of limestone terraces that gradually rise to a height of about 328 feet (100 meters) and has sugarcane plantations.The southwestern region lies south of the Valle de San Juan and encompasses the Sierra de Neiba.Much of the region is a desert and it includes Lake Enriquillo, the island's largest lake.Lake Enriquillo is a saltwater lake that lies 150 feet (46 meters) below sea level and is inhabited by unique fauna, including crocodiles, huge iguanas, and flamingos.

France gained a foothold on the western end of the island, which became prosperous, and by 1795 Spain ceded the entire island to France.

The central region is dominated by the Cordillera Central (central range) which ends at the Caribbean Sea.

The highest point in the Caribbean is Pico Duarte, which reaches an elevation of over 10,414 feet (3,175 meters) and has alpine forests near the summit.

In 1838 a small group of Spanish-speaking Dominican intellectuals from Santo Domingo organized a secret society called La Trinitaria to overthrow the Haitian rule.

The society was established by Juan Pablo Duarte, the son of a wealthy Dominican family.

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Estimates of the birth rate range from seventeen per thousand (1994) to twenty-five per thousand (2000 estimated).

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