The Caribbean coastal plain includes a series of limestone terraces that gradually rise to a height of about 328 feet (100 meters) and has sugarcane plantations.
The southwestern region lies south of the Valle de San Juan and encompasses the Sierra de Neiba.
Estimates of the birth rate range from seventeen per thousand (1994) to twenty-five per thousand (2000 estimated).
The death rate estimate varies from one per thousand in 1994 to five per thousand (2000 estimated).
In the west and southwestern regions the climate is dry and desertlike because of low rainfall and/or deforestation.
The capital, Santo Domingo, was the first permanent European settlement in the New World and was established by Spain in 1496.
Independence was won before slavery was abolished in the Spanish Caribbean and a century before the decolonization of the other islands.
The Dominicans consider themselves more Latin American than Caribbean.
Seventy-three percent of the population is mixed race—combinations of descendants of Spaniards and other Europeans, West African slaves, and natives.
Sixteen percent is Caucasian and 11 percent is black, which includes a Haitian minority.
After the overthrow, Pedro Santana, one of the leaders in the revolution, became the first president of the Dominican Republic.