Dominican Republic - Country history and economic development

1492. Christopher Columbus arrives on island of Hispaniola; Spanish colonization begins.

1697. Western part of Hispaniola is ceded to France under terms of the Treaty of Ryswick. The French develop the colony of Saint-Domingue, while Santo Domingo remains Spanish.

1791. Slave insurrection breaks out in Saint-Domingue, leading to 13-year period of war.

1822-44. Haitian forces occupy Spanish colony of Santo Domingo.

1844. Dominican Republic declares independence.

1861. Spanish sovereignty is re-established at the request of the Dominican government.

1865. Second independence is declared.

1916-24. First U.S. occupation occurs after a period of political chaos. Influx of U.S. capital leads to development of sugar industry.

1930-61. Rafael Leónidas Trujillo is dictator. National assets are centralized under personal control of the Trujillo family.

1939. Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) is founded in Havana.

1961. Trujillo is assassinated.

1965. Second U.S. occupation takes place after fighting between supporters of ousted PRD President Juan Bosch and military forces threatens civil war.

1966. Joaquín Balaguer wins election and begins 30-year domination of Dominican politics.

1996. Leonel Fernandez is elected on modernizing program in first free and fair elections.

2000. Hipolito Mejia is elected president.

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