SANTO DOMINGO (officially known as the Dominican Republic) occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Haiti and has an area of about 19,300 square miles. Its population was estimated to be 1,200,00o in 1932. There are several hundred Spanish and a few other European families living in the country but the mass of the population is mulatto and negro. In general, the people average a shade lighter than in the neighbouring Re public of Haiti. Spanish is the universal language and the cultural heritage is that of Spain.
The Dominican Republic is very mountainous (see HAITI). Extending north-west to south-east and almost in the centre of the country is the great Cordillera Central whose highest eleva tion exceeds i 0,000 feet and whose maximum width is eighty miles. This great mountain mass is largely unoccupied and is heavily forested. It receives an abundant rainfall and is the chief drainage divide of the country. The mountains and valleys north of this central core are well watered as a rule and support nearly two-thirds of the population. Sugar, cacao, tobacco and coffee are the chief money crops, but as elsewhere in the republic, most of the land is held by small farmers and utilized for sustenance crops. This section contains the famous Vega Real of early Spanish days. South of the Cordillera Central much of the land is arid and has poor soils. However, a thriving sugar industry is found east and west of Ciudad Trujillo. It is the general opinion that the country as a whole is capable of supporting several times its present population. There are a number of good harbours in the republic. Docks are in operation at Ciudad Trujillo, Puerto Plata, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris and Barahona. At the other ports lighters must be used.
A representative government is established under the Consti tution. All males over 18 years of age are qualified to vote. The administration is in the hands of three co-ordinate powers : the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The chief executive is the president. Prior to the Constitution of June 13, 1924, he was elected by indirect vote for six years and was not eligible for re-election to a second successive term. At that time, the
term was reduced to four years and election was made by direct vote. The office of vice president was created for the first time. The president cannot be re-elected to the presidency nor elected to the vice presidency for the constitutional period following. He is assisted by a cabinet consisting of the secretaries of the seven departments : interior and police, foreign affairs, treasury and commerce, war and navy, justice and public instruction, agri culture and immigration, promotion and communications. There are 12 provinces, each of which elects by direct popular vote, for four periods, one senator and two members to the chamber of deputies. Each province has an appointed governor and is di vided into communes. with necessary local officials. The supreme court is composed of a chief justice and six justices. Courts of appeal are located in two or three of the larger centres. A court of first instance is located in each province and in each commune there is at least one local court. The Policia Nacional Dominicana (Guardia) has the double function of police and army. This or ganization was trained by and largely modelled after the U.S.
Marine Corps. Primary education is free and, in theory, com pulsory and is largely supported by the local authorities. The efficiency of the system, however, may be judged by the fact that 9o% of the population is illiterate. The higher schools are sup ported by the Government, including a university. Roman Cath olicism is the state religion; all others are tolerated under restric tion. The gold standard was adopted in 1897 and the United States gold dollar became standard currency in 1905. The collection of customs is supervised by an American official appointed by the president of the United States. This latter situation is to last until the retirement of the bond issue necessitated by the refund ing scheme entered into between the United States and the Dominican Republic.