The Dominican Republic celebrated its 170th year of independence from Haiti on February 27th earlier this year. Since then, the Dominican Republic has become a cultural hub of the Caribbean and one of the more popular travel destinations for tourists. In honor of this great countries independence, here are ten facts that you probably didn’t know about the culture and life of the Dominican Republic, especially Dominican Republic holidays and traditions.
1. The only flag in the world today with the bible on it belongs to the Dominican Republic. One of the oldest flags in the world today, it was officially introduced for the first time on November 6th, 1844. It is based off of the 19th century Haitian flag.
2. Baseball is the Dominican Republic’s national sport. Many of the best baseball players in the world hail from the Dominican Republic. Some of these stars include former Major League Baseball stars Pedro Martinez and Sammy Sosa, and current stars Albert Pujols and David Ortiz.
3. The Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo holds many firsts throughout North and South America. It is its first capital city and boasts the first university and hospital. Many of these buildings have been restored to their original state and may be visited by tourists in the Colonial City in Santo Domingo.
4. Santo Domingo holds the oldest Cathedral in the entire world. Construction for the Cathedral began in 1514 led by Diego Columbus, who was the son of Christopher Columbus.
5. The world-famous fashion designer Oscar de la Renta is known as one of the greatest fashion artists of the 21st century. This Dominican was born in the great Santo Domingo and his designs can be seen on celebrities such as current United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, previously first lady to president George Bush.
6. The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but many Dominicans are also fluent in languages such as Italian, English, French and German.
7. The creation and development of the merengue style of music is attributed to the Dominican Republic. Merengue is an upbeat style of music renowned for its fast pace and rhythm, making it an excellent style of dance music.
8. The world-famous amber stone that holds a preserved prehistoric mosquito is housed by Puerto Plato’s Amber Museum. This amber stone was made famous when it was featured in Jurassic Park, a global box office hit. Amber is tree resin that has been fossilized and can be found in only a few places around the world.
9. The Dominican Republic is colloquially known of the Caribbean’s bread basket. This nickname is given to the Dominican Republic because they catch, farm and grow almost everything that is served for each meal throughout the day.
10. Jurassic Park is not the only box office hit that has direct ties to the Dominican Republic. Scenes from The Godfather Part II were filmed by world-famous director Francis Ford Coppola in the capital city of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo.