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After the overthrow, Pedro Santana, one of the leaders in the revolution, became the first president of the Dominican Republic.The complex heritage of Arawak, Spanish, African, and French traditions, plus an early independence, set the Dominican Republic apart from other Caribbean islands.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.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 Samaná Peninsula with its coconut plantations and bay, where humpback whales breed.
Hispaniola is near the center of the West Indies, a group of islands that extend from Florida to Venezuela.
Estimates of the birth rate range from seventeen per thousand (1994) to twenty-five per thousand (2000 estimated).
The death rate estimate varies from one per thousand in 1994 to five per thousand (2000 estimated).
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.