Santo Domingo (sometimes improperly called San Domingo), a republic comprising the eastern and larger portion of the island of Hayti, in the West Indies, otherwise called the Dominican republic. (For its physical characteristics, see Hayti.) It includes all the territory E. of the boundary line fixed by treaty between Spain and France in 1777, which extends from the mouth of the river Pedernales on the S. coast to that of the river Massacre, which flows into the bay of Manzanillo on the N. coast. Its greatest length, from Cape En-gańo to the Haytian frontier, is about 260 m., and its greatest breadth, from Cape Isabella to Cape Beata, 165 m.; area estimated at 18,000 sq. m. The republic is divided into five provinces: Santo Domingo, Azua de Compostela, Concepcion de la Vega, Santiago de los Caba-lleros, and Santa Cruz del Seybo, the capitals of which have the same names respectively. The principal harbors are Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and the bay of Samana. The last, which is formed by the peninsula of Samana on the N. E. end of the island, is about 35 m. long and 10 m. wide. Its entrance is made difficult by extensive banks and a reef. Samana bay proper, or the port of Santa Barbara, on the N. side of the large bay, is formed by a line of reefs and islets parallel with the shore.
It is 1/4 m. wide, and, though difficult of access, is deep enough for large vessels, - The soil of Santo Domingo is of extraordinary fertility. Tobacco, sugar cane, cotton, maize, coffee, cacao, and the plantain are the staple productions. The coffee is left in many places to grow wild; and the tobacco, from want of cultivation, is inferior, though with proper care it might equal that of Cuba. The cotton is of fine staple and good length, and might be made as good as any in the world. The forests contain great varieties of valuable trees, among which are mahogany, lignum vitae, ebony, fustic, a species of logwood, and many other cabinet and dye woods. The plains furnish fine pasturage for the cattle of hundreds of owners, who annually collect and count the animals, and brand the young. The horses are in general small, but graceful and well adapted to the indifferent roads. Mules are numerous, as are also the other domestic animals; and swine raising forms an important industry. In the forests are large numbers of coaiti-mundis and agoutis. The rivers are infested with alligators. Various species of lizards are found, and the iguana, whose flesh is by some regarded as a delicacy, attains a large size.
Among the venomous insects are the scorpion, centipede, and tarantula, the stings of which, although causing much pain and inconvenience, are by no means fatal, as is commonly supposed. Gold, silver, iron, and copper are the chief minerals; the first two are said to be extremely abundant in all parts of the republic. The gold mines of La Vega and Buenaventura alone furnished Ovando with the half million of dollars which he sent home annually to the king of Spain, besides what he expended on improvements in the colony. As many as 240,000 crowns of gold were coined in the mint of La Vega in 1502, when the mines were not worked so thoroughly as in later times, and the city of Santiago de los Caballeros was chiefly inhabited by goldsmiths. No mines are now in operation, but considerable grain gold is still extracted. Silver was also mined in large quantities in the 16th century; but the mines were closed by a royal decree from Spain, and they have not been reopened, nor is their precise situation generally known.
Mines of tin, lead, quicksilver, sulphur, and rock salt are also mentioned by the Spanish writers; and considerable salt is still produced. - The climate is much more salubrious than that of any of the other West India islands; and the average health and longevity is said to be equal to that of the United States. In the highlands the temperature is equable and agreeable; in the lowlands the thermometer ranges from 84° to 91° F. The intensity of the heat is tempered by the sea breeze, which blows nearly all day long, and by the land breeze, which begins two or three hours after sunset and continues until sunrise. From May to October heavy rains fall, frequently accompanied by thunder and lightning. From February to April it is uniformly dry. Yellow fever and cholera have made considerable ravages on several occasions in the island, but have never been epidemic there. - The population, which is set down by some authorities at 200,000, is said by the United States commissioners, who visited the republic in 1871, not to exceed 150,-000. About nine tenths are native Dominicans, springing for the most part from the union of Spaniards, Indians, and negroes, though some are of pure African blood.
The whites, about one tenth of the whole, are Spaniards of unmixed race, mainly descendants of the early settlers, and other Europeans, who reside mostly in the seaports and larger towns, and have almost exclusively under their control the foreign commerce of the country. The Dominicans are sober, courteous, affable, and hospitable, and in their intercourse with each other make little distinction of class, race, or color. Very little absolute poverty exists, and mendicancy is almost unknown. Cock fighting is the chief amusement, and gaming is largely practised both in public and in private. High crimes are rare, and one may safely travel with money and valuables, alone and unarmed, in any part of the country. Few genuine representatives of the indigenous race of the island are now to be found. As they decreased with great rapidity, the colonists brought slaves from Africa. By 1522 so many Africans had been introduced that they rose in insurrection on account of cruel treatment. A colony of blacks emigrated from the United States to Santo Domingo in 1824, and their descendants are still to be traced among the population. - The prevailing religion is the Roman Catholic, but all other sects are tolerated; and there are some Methodist and Baptist churches, supported mainly by the colored emigrants from the United States. The archbishop of Santo Domingo still preserves the title of primate of the Indies, bestowed on him in the Spanish colonial days.
There is a so-called university in the capital, and there are several schools there and in the other towns; but public education is little attended to, even in its primary branches. - The commerce of Santo Domingo is small, owing partly to anarchy and partly to customs duties so excessive as to be almost prohibitory. In 1863 the total imports amounted to about $1,500,000; exports, $2,500,000. In 1870 the imports were estimated at $560,-000; exports, $700,000. In 1873 the imports at the chief port, Puerto Plata, amounted to $871,116; exports, $1,093,753. The number of vessels that entered that port in the same year was 201, of 12,191 tons. The principal exports are tobacco, coffee, cotton, sugar, cacao, ginger, hides, wax, mahogany, and dye woods. Inland commerce is cramped by the want of good roads, all highways being neglected, and transportation being confined almost entirely to the backs of horses and mules. Steamers run regularly from Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo city to the other West India islands and to New York. - The government is a republic, founded on a constitution adopted in 1844, and proclaimed anew on the departure of the Spaniards in 1865. The president and vice president are elected for six years, with a difference of three years in the time of their election.
The president appoints a council of state consisting of four ministers, on one of whom, at his will, devolve the duties of minister of foreign relations. The legislative branch consists of a senate (senado consultor) elected for six years, and composed of nine members, two each for the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago, and one for each of the five provinces. Each province and district has a government, and each parish and military post a commandant nominated by the executive. The towns are governed by councils elected for three years. The judiciary consists of a supreme court which sits in the capital, and a court of first instance in each province and district, sitting in the respective capitals. Each town and parish has also an alcalde or justice of the peace. The revenue is derived from customs duties, which average 40 per cent., direct and indirect taxation, and sales of public property. There are no recent official returns of the receipts and disbursements of the government; but the United States commission reported the total income for 1870 to be $772,684 75, of which $728,605 58 was derived from customs, $35,466 55 from direct and indirect taxes, and the remainder from sales, rents, etc.
The total debt of the republic in 1870 was reported by the commission to amount to $1,565,831, wholly internal. Besides this, a foreign debt of £757,700 was contracted in London in 1869, which at the close of 1872 had been reduced by a sinking fund to £722,700. The army consists of 4,000 men in time of peace, and on a war footing of 15,000 men. The navy comprises three corvettes and five schooners, with 44 guns. - For the history of Santo Domingo previous to 1844, see Hayti. On Feb. 27 of that year the inhabitants of the Spanish part of the island declared their independence, and proclaimed the Dominican republic, under the lead of Pedro Santana. The Haytians invaded their territory with 20,000 (according to some authorities, 15,000) men, but were defeated by Santana on March 19. In November a constitution was formed, and Santana was elected president. He resigned in 1848, and was succeeded by Jimenes, who conspired with Sou-louque, president of Hayti, and induced the latter to invade Dominica; but Santana, called to command the troops, defeated 5,000 Haytians with but 400 men at Ocoa, April 22, 1849. Santana received the title of liberator of his country, and, having deposed Jimenes, ruled as dictator until the election to the presidency of Buenaventura Baez in the autumn of 1849. Baez secured the recognition of the republic by Great Britain, France, and Denmark. About 1850 the question of annexation to the United States was mooted, but Baez did not favor it, on account of the existence of slavery there.
This together with his alliance with the clerical party made him unpopular, and in 1853 Santana was elected president. He banished Baez, and compelled the archbishop to take the oath of allegiance to him as a power greater than the church; but he in turn became unpopular, and Baez was recalled in 1856. In the following year a rebellion broke out, and in 1858 Baez was driven from the island, Santana and liberalism again coming into power. In 1861 Santana, disheartened with affairs and despairing of his ability to preserve peace, suddenly invited Spain to resume her authority over the republic. Geffrard, president of Hayti, protested against the cession to Spain, and gave refuge to many prominent Dominicans who were opposed to it. The Spaniards sent troops into the island, but discontent prevailed everywhere, particularly among the negroes, who feared a return to slavery. In 1863 a serious rebellion broke out, and after two years of fighting, in which every atrocity was perpetrated, Spain was at last forced to retire, and by an act of cortes, March 3, 1865, declared the independence of Santo Domingo. Large numbers of troops were sent to the island, a great proportion of whom perished in the struggle.
Anarchy prevailed on the withdrawal of the Spaniards. Toward the close of 1865 Baez was recalled to the presidency, but in 1866 a conspiracy secured his overthrow, and a triumvirate consisting of Pimentel, Garcia, and Luperon came into power. These were succeeded by José Maria Cabral as president, who attempted to lease Samana bay to the United States, but the offer was declined. In 1868 Baez again became president. In 1871 three commissioners were sent by President Grant to examine into the condition of the Dominican republic, whose inhabitants had voted almost unanimously for annexation to the United States; their report was favorable to annexation, but congress took no action upon it. On Jan. 10, 1873, the bay and peninsula of Samana were ceded to a company formed in the United States; but on March 25, 1874, all the rights of the company were confiscated for non-payment of the stipulated annual rent. Baez was succeeded as president by Ignacio Gonzales, elected Dec. 20, 1873.
Santo Domingo, a city, capital of a province of the same name and of the republic of Santo Domingo, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Ozama, lat. 18° 28' N., lon. 69° 55' W.; pop. said to be 10,000, but estimated by the United States commission in 1871 at about 6,000. The town is built on a solid limestone formation, with a perceptible incline toward the river, and is surrounded by a wall, 8 ft. thick and 10 ft. high, built of mamposteria, a composition of earth, powdered stone, and lime; it is 4,500 yards in circumference, and is strengthened with bastions. The streets are straight, wide, and at right angles to each other. Many of the ancient houses and buildings are still standing, but are only remarkable for their solidity. Few of the many churches which once graced the city now remain. The most noteworthy is the cathedral, in which the remains of Columbus and of his brother Bartholomew reposed for two and a half centuries. It was begun in 1512 and finished in 1540, and was modelled after a church in Rome. On the bank of the river are the ruins of the so-called castle of Columbus, a fortified stone house built by Diego Columbus. There are in the city a seminary, a college, and a primary school, all under the care of the church, with about 300 pupils.
In the college are a school of medicine and a night school for gratuitous instruction. The climate is healthful. The trade is principally in cabinet and dye woods, which are brought down from the interior. The' port is deep enough for large vessels, the river being 24 ft. deep for three miles, but there is only 18 ft. of water at the entrance. - Santo Domingo city, the oldest existing settlement by white men in the new world, was founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1494 on the left bank of the Ozama, and was originally called Nueva Isabella. In 1502 it was destroyed by a hurricane, when its location was changed to the opposite side of the river, The walls were built in 1506. In 1586 Sir Francis Drake captured the city, but ransomed it for 25,000 ducats. In 1655 the English under Admiral Penn and Gen. Vena-bles were defeated here.
Cathedral of Santo Domingo.