The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean on the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. Its capital city is Santo Domingo, which is also the largest city in the country.
The Dominican Republic became independent from the United States on July 12, 1924. The country has a total area of 18,704 square miles and a population of 9.44 million people as of the 2010 census. The country is governed as a presidential republic, containing both an upper and lower house of government. The area was first colonized by Spain beginning in 1493. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish the land was inhabited by the Taíno people.