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In addition, they retain close ties with the United States, which occupied the island in the early twentieth century.

The national community is struggling to build a democracy against a corrupt and authoritarian political elite. The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola and is 18,816 square miles (48,734 square kilometers), about twice the size of New Hampshire.

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.

In the west and southwestern regions the climate is dry and desertlike because of low rainfall and/or deforestation.

The society was established by Juan Pablo Duarte, the son of a wealthy Dominican family.The mountains of the Dominican Republic divide the country into northern, central, and southwestern regions.The northern region includes the Cordillera Septentrional (northern mountain range), the Cibao Valley, which is the country's major agricultural area; and the tropical Saman√° Peninsula with its coconut plantations and bay, where humpback whales breed.The diverse geography of the country includes 800 miles (1,288 kilometers) of coastline with beautiful white-sand beaches and rocky cliffs and warm water, all of which are attractive to tourists.The most significant river in the country, with a drainage basin of 2,720 square miles (7,044 square kilometers), is Yaque del Norte, which starts at Pico Duarte and empties into the Bahia de Monte Cristi on the northwest coast.

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