Columbus landed on the Dominican Republic in 1492, and was greeted by the peaceful, hospitable Tainos Indians. Tragically, the discovery of gold by his crew spelt the beginning of the end for the Tainos. Europeans built settlements and enslaved the Tainos. Within 25 years, the Tainos had been annihilated. The Dominican Republicís past is a story of slavery, sugar plantations and civil war, all of which culminated in the deployment of US troops sent by Lyndon B. Johnson to restore order in the mid-1960ís The election process, which has been in effect since, has kept the country stable.
Today, a population of nearly 9 million Dominicans share the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the nation that occupies the islandís western side. The rugged mountains of the Dominican Republic slope down toward fertile sugarcane valleys, caressed by Caribbean breezes and embraced by the pristine beaches that fringe the island. The climate here is tropical. Santa Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, where, at the Zona Colonial, one can tread the footsteps of the first Spanish conquerors to land here. The Amber World Museum in Santa Domingo showcases the Dominican Republicís status as one of the worldís largest Amber producers.