The Dominican Republic recently celebrated their Independence Day on Monday, February 27th, marking the 173rd anniversary of their independence. Here on campus, there was a celebration in the Campus Center Atrium. The event was a celebration of Dominican culture, as well as the food associated with it. People from all over campus came to have their share of the exotic Dominican foods: plantains, and rice and chicken were offered to all the guests. There was music for people to dance to, such as Merengue and Bachata, the two Dominican genres of music.
Historically, the Dominican Republic has a long history of foreign rule. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus and taken over by the Spanish, with Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, being one of the first sites of Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Eventually, France would have complete control over Hispaniola (the island that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share), after Spain ceded it in 1795, but it would go back to Spanish rule after a revolt in 1809. The Spanish ruled the island until 1821.
The holiday on February 27th does not commemorate the Dominican Republic’s independence from Spain, but from Haiti. After the Dominican Republic gained its Independence from Spain in November 1821, Haiti entered the Republic of Spanish Haiti (now the Dominican Republic). The Haitian government expelled from Dominican Republic after a 12 year struggle. The Dominican War of Independence ended in 1856, thus ending the unification of Hispaniola.
Today, the Dominican Republic is a vibrant and beautiful tourist hotspot. Santo Domingo and Punta Cana are very popular tourist spots for people to vacation. Baseball is the most popular sport on the island, reflecting years of American influences. Many famous baseball players such as Sammy Sosa and Robinson Canó have come from this island. Bachata and Merengue are widely danced throughout Latin America and the United States, with artists such as Toño Rosario and Romeo Santos experiencing great popularity. The Dominican Republic and its people have left their mark not only campus, but across the world.