The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean Sea on
the island of Hispaniola.
The country shares its western border with Haiti and
the next closest neighboring island country is Puerto Rico.
The north and the south of the Dominican Republic are bordered by
the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, respectively.
The Mona Passage, which is about 80 miles wide, separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Reason for naming the country
The "Dominican" word comes from the Latin Dominicus, meaning Sunday. However, the island has this name by Santo Domingo de Guzmán (Saint Dominic), founder of the Order of the Dominicans.
The Dominican Republic flag was adopted on November 6, 1844, making it one of the world's oldest flags.
It gained its independence from Haiti on February 27, 1844.
The flag of the Dominican Republic has a white cross going through the middle of it, sectioning the flag into quarters.
The upper left and lower right quarters are blue
and the upper right and lower left quarters are red.
The military and government flag of the Dominican has a coat of arms in the center of it.
The blue represents liberty;
the red Represents the fire and bloodshed of the struggle for independence; and the white cross represents the sacrifice of the people.
The official language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish.
The local dialect of the Dominican Republic is called Dominican Spanish and has some African influences. Moreover, it has borrowed vocabulary from the Arawak language.
Dominican Spanish, spoken in the Dominican Republic, is similar to Coastal Caribbean Spanish dialects and based on Canarian Spanish dialect, however, it has strong influences from West African languages.
English is one of the foreign languages recognized by the government of the Dominican Republic. It is a mandatory language in schools.
Aside from English, French is also a mandatory foreign language taught in schools. Other notable foreign languages spoken in the Dominican Republic include Chinese, Italian, and Japanese.
Roman Catholic Christianity is the religious group with the biggest following in the country.
Protestant Christianity is also significant in its membership and is growing fast.
The other religious groups include Atheism, Islam, Judaism, and Eastern religions among others.
Unitary presidential republic
The Dominican Republic, the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola, has a tropical climate, hot all year round, with a hotter and muggy season from May to October and a relatively cool season from December to March, while November and April are intermediate months.
As regards to the rainfall, along the eastern and southern coasts, there is a rainy season between late April and October, while the northern coast, exposed to the trade winds, is rainy throughout the year, although the north-western coast experiences a decrease in rainfall from June to September.
Temperatures in the Dominican Republic are high throughout the year, at least in the plains, however, during the summer season, from May to October, the heat is sweltering, while it is more pleasant, but still a bit humid, in winter.
Because of the north-east trade winds, which blow from November to March, the north facing slopes are usually wetter than those exposed to the south. However, the presence of mountain ranges can increase or decrease the effect of the trade winds, so much so that some areas have a very humid climate and lush vegetation, while others are nearly barren.
In the Dominican Republic, as generally happens in the Caribbean, the rains occur mainly as short showers and thunderstorms, sometimes intense, which therefore do not reduce the sunshine hours by much; moreover, they are often concentrated in certain periods, so it might not rain for an entire week even in the rainy season.
Every now and then, from December to March, the country can be affected by some frontal systems from the United States, which can bring clouds and rains, and also a cool wind, able to lower the temperature by a few degrees, although in a less noticeable way than in Cuba and Yucatan (Mexico), which are closer to the American continent. However, in these cases, the temperature can drop below 10 °C (50 °F) in the inland hilly areas, and around freezing in the mountains.
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