History of the Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles.

Successive waves of Arawak migrants, moving northward from the Orinoco delta in South America, settled the islands of the Caribbean. Around AD 600, the Taíno Indians, an Arawak culture, arrived on the island, displacing the previous inhabitants. They were organized into cacicazgos (chiefdoms), each led by a cacique (chief). The final Arawak migrants, the Caribs, began moving up the Lesser Antilles in the 12th century, and were raiding Taíno villages on the island's eastern coast by the time the Spanish arrived in 1492.


Spanish colony

The arrival of the Europeans

Christopher Columbus reached the island on his first voyage, on December 6, 1492,[1] naming it La Española. Believing that the Europeans were in some way supernatural, the Taínos welcomed them with all the honors available.[citation needed] This was a totally different society from the one the Europeans came from. Guacanagarix, the chief who hosted Christopher Columbus and his men, treated them kindly and provided them with everything they desired. Yet the Taínos' allegedly "egalitarian" system clashed with the Europeans' feudalist system's more rigid class structures. This led the Europeans to believe the Taínos to be either weak or misleading, and they began to treat the tribes with more violence. Columbus tried to temper this when he and his men departed from Quisqueya — as the Taínos called the island — and they left on a good note.

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