August 5, 2010

Foundation Day – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This holiday celebrates the establishment of Santo Domingo in 1498. Actually, Spaniards (under Christopher Columbus himself) began to settle in this area as early as 1496, making Santo Domingo the oldest European city anywhere in the Americas. It became the largest city and the capital of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is located on the same island (Hispaniola) as Haiti. This Caribbean nation has a tropical climate with way too many hurricanes.

Santo Domingo is steeped in history.
The oldest cathedral in the Americas, Catedral de Santa Maria la Menor, is found here and is lovely with its golden-colored coral-limestone facade and silver high altar. It is believed that Christopher Columbus's remains were in that cathedral, although they have been relocated to the Columbus Lighthouse, which was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of the New World (in 1992).

Santo Domingo is a port city located on the spot where the Ozama River meets the Caribbean Sea. Port cities along the banks of important rivers tend to be some of the biggest, oldest, most important cities of an area—naturally, since water-based transportation was and is so crucial to buying and selling crops, resources, and manufactured goods.

Did you know...?

  • According to Wikipedia, the Dominican Republic has the second-largest economy in the Caribbean and is the top tourist spot of the region, too. This sure surprised me! I always hear about people going to Jamaica or Belize...Never the Dominican Republic!

  • The Dominican Republic has the Caribbean's highest mountain, largest lake, and lowest elevation. There are tons of golf courses, which bring lots of tourists.

  • Another sport important to the Dominican Republic is baseball. Every town has a team and a field, and many Dominican players become Major League Baseball players—this tiny country contributes more players to MLB than any country other than the U.S.!

See some pics, find out checking out the National Geographic website,

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