Art is an integral part of Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic.
The cuisine of the Dominican Republic is rich, varied and delicious.
Merengue and Bachata are two world renowned types of music.
An Overview of Dominican Culture
The Dominican Republic has a fascinating culture that brings together Taino, Spanish and African influences.
The Tainos were the inhabitants of the island when Columbus arrived in 1492. The native culture quickly declined, due primarily to new diseases brought from Europe but also to the hostile relations between the Tainos and the Spanish. Within less than a century, most of the native population had disappeared. However, since there was extensive intermarraige between the Tainos and Spanish, many of the native traditions were kept alive in future generations.
Soon after the Spanish arrived, they created a plantation economy on the island. The first source of labor was the native Taino population. As their numbers diminished, the Spanish found it increasingly necessary to bring slaves from Africa. Slavery continued on the island for the next three centuries. During this period, a large mulatto (mixed race) population developed. Many of these mulattos were freedmen even before slavery was finally abolished in the 1800s.
Today, the population of the Dominican Republic is approximately 70% multiracial, 15% white and 15% black.
This blending of cultures can be seen in all aspects of Dominican life, but is perhaps most apparent in the country’s rich artistic, musical and culinary traditions.