PARADISUS

Yes, it was paradise in Punta Cana.

Sunny days, smiles galore and water

And just a few suds on Foam Party

Really, Spanish history abounds here. It is claimed that Christopher Columbus found this island, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic) in 1492 claiming it for the Spanish Crown. It was originally inhabited by the Taino people, of 5 chiefdoms

Santa Domingo was built in 1496 and became the new capital. The people didn’t give up their paradise easily, shooting arrows. 100,000 Tainos died from 1494-96, through self starvation, poison and leaps from cliffs. The remaining Tainos were enslaved to work in gold mines or sugar plantations. By 1508 only 60k were still alive.

European colonization:

So, the colonists imported slaves from Portugal and Africa. 250 black ladinos, some were kidnapped or taken from villages. It wasn’t great living for the unfortunate Indigenous peoples of the Island. In fact, almost complete decimation.

The first rebellion of enslaved Africans occurred in 1521. Did you know that Dominicans perceive themselves as different from Haitians? Lots of warring, republics, coups, dictatorships, revolutions and Presidents. In 1905 the US took over financial affairs, replacing the peso by the US $. The US occupation:1916-1924, eventually they withdrew, kind of…..

It’s a very long story. And a very diverse country in terms of geography and weather with four mountain ranges, Savannah’s, mangroves, lakes and coastal lagoons. One could feel the tropical rainforest climate.

Today the Dominican Republic is a democratic republic. I did spot a Dominican soldier with gun on the bus drive to the airport. I thought about that, but my guess is that a delivery of cash was being made to La Banco.

The average real GDP per capita is 392us per month, or nearly 18k DOP.

The country has a noted problem of child labour still in its coffee, rice, sugarcane and tomato industries

I find it so difficult to grasp that in 2016 according to the Global Slavery Index still an estimated 104k people are enslaved in the modern day Republic or 1% of the population

We were sheltered from this knowledge as the most visited destination in the Caribbean with Eco tourism on the rise.

We vacationed in the 9th largest economy in Latin America. Millions of tourists visit there every year! Still the country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the world. The average temperature is 78.8f

Music and sports are of great importance to this culture. You know, the Merengue and of course, Baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays Jose Batista comes from there!

Staff kept calling us Puntacanada.

A Dichotomy indeed.

But you know when you are there to Holiday, you Holiday, and that’s exactly what we did!

And over so quickly. Goodbye Sweet and good natured people. Again, I learned about your lives. ❤️❤️❤️

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