Dominican Rep.


The Dominican coat of arms has undergone a long process of modifications. The history of the country has recorded no less than fourteen different coats of arms all the way to the one we know today. The first one ever used as a symbol of the Independence War bore a close resemblance with the Republic of Haiti's original coat of arms. The current slogan was not blazoned in it at the time. The second major modification was outlined by Article 195 of the Constitution in November 1844. The name of the country (The Dominican Republic) was added and a ribbon reading God, Homeland and Liberty was inserted in it, too. Of all the Dominican coats of arms from the 19th century, the one designed in 1857 bears the closest resemblance with today's version. The coat of arms as we know it today was made official by a decree signed by president Nouel in 1913 on an original sketch outlined by Casimiro de Moya. The shape of the national coat of arms is a square bearing the national colors: red, white and blue. The square features jutting upper angles and round lower angles. The center of the base is prickly finished, thus making a perfect square. In the center of the coat of arms there are six flagpoles, four of them with the banners tied up around the lower portion, holding an open Bible and featuring a cross that rests on top of it. A branch of laurel on the left side symbolizes immortality, while a branch of palm leaves on the right side stands for freedom. The upper side is crowned by an azure ribbon with a motto reading God, Homeland and Liberty. The base is decked out with a dark red ribbon reading The Dominican Republic.

National Anthem

The Dominican national anthem was composed by musician Jose Reyes who used the lyrics provided by poet and educator Emilio Prud'homme in 1883. The first version of Prud'homme's verses was published on August 16, 1883 in El Eco de la Opinion, a weekly publication in the nation's capital. On August 17, 1883, the national anthem was played for the first time ever in a social function held by the local press at the Esperanza Loggia in Santo Domingo. A group of youngsters accompanied by a small orchestra -in which Jose Reyes himself played the cello- performed the piece. The composition had a warm welcome in the public and since then the anthem started out a slow process toward popularization. On May 30, 1934, Dominican president Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina signed Law 700 and declared Jose Reyes composition the official national anthem. Quisqueyanos valientes, Alcemos Nuestro canto con viva emoción, Y del mundo a la faz ostentemos Nuestro Invicto, glorioso pendón Salve! el pueblo que, intrépido y fuerte, A la guerra a morir se lanzó, Cuando en bélico reto de muerte Sus cadenas de esclavo rompió. Ningún pueblo ser libre merece Si es esclavo, indolente y servil; Si en su pecho la llama no crece Que templó el heroísmo viril. Más Quisqueya la indómita y brava Siempre altiva la frente alzará; Que si fuere mil veces esclava Otras tantas ser libre sabrá. Que si dolo y ardid la expusieron De un intruso señor al desdén, Las Carreras! Beler! ... campos fueron Que cubiertos de gloria se ven. Que en la cima de heroico baluarte De los libres el verbo encarnó, Donde el genio de Sánchez y Duarte A ser libre o morir enseñó. Y si pudo inconsulto caudillo De esas glorias d brillo empañar, De la guerra se vió, en Capotillo La bandera de fuego ondear Y el incendio que atónito deja De Castilla al soberbio león, De las playas gloriosas le aleja Donde flota el cruzado pendón. Compatriotas, mostremos erguida Nuestra frente, orgullosos de hoy más; Que Quisqueya será destruida Pero sierva de nuevo, jamás! Que es santuano de amor cada pecho Do la patria se siente vivir; Y es su escudo invencible, el derecho; Y es su lema: ser libre o morir. Libertad! que aún se yergue serena La Victoria en su carro triunfal, Y el clarín de la guerra aún resuena Pregonando su gloria inmortal. Libertad! Que los ecos se agiten Mientras llenos de noble ansiedad Nuestros campos de gloria repiten Libertad! Libertad! Libertad!.

National Dance

Merengue is the national dance, widespread not only in the Dominican Republic but also all around the world. Indeed, very little is known about the origin of this dance that gets lost in the haze of the past. For all we know this is a blend of African rhythms, cotillion, mazurka and European waltz. All we know is that it saw the light of day as a Creole melody after the battle of Talanquera where the Dominicans prevailed. In the mid 19th century, from 1838 to 1849, a dance called Havana UPA or Havana URPA made the rounds across the Caribbean and landed in Puerto Rico with a warm welcome. This dance had hip moves called merengue -probably the name picked to dub this kind of dance- and under that moniker it reached the shores of the Dominican Republic where it didn't draw so much early attention. By 1850, the dance got all the rage and nudged tumba away. From that moment on, the number of detractors grew dime a dozen. Earlier in that same decade, a campaign advocating for tumba and blasting merengue hit the newspapers of the nation's capital, a clear reflection of the decline of the former and the heat upturn of the latter. From the very beginning, merengue was played with the instruments people had and that were easier for them to buy: Dominican guitar, double-patch drums, dry gourds and stringed instruments hailing from the region such as tiple, bordone, seis and doce. Then the German diatonic accordion popped up and it was so easy to use that eventually pushed the Dominican guitar off the scene. Merengue’s musical structure, is the form that can be rendered as the most representative way, consists of a merengue and a jaleo. The lyric outlay takes the commonest forms of popular art: copla, seguidilla and decima, sometimes intertwined. With these variants, merengue caught on in the Dominican society and branched out into hundreds of social layers and sectors, finally shoving away other dances like tumba and totally capturing the fervor of the people. Music scores and lyrics have had such outstanding authors as Johnny Ventura and Feliz del Rosario, who alongside the likes of Alberto Beltran and Juan Luis Guerra have panned out to be the country's best performers.

National Flora

The mahogany flower (swietenia mahagoni) is the national Dominican flower. Its small petal clusters are green and not very attractive. They are unisexual and the trees bloom both male and female flowers in every bludgeoning season. This tree provides the island nation with the top source of commercial mahogany wood. Nowadays, there are 200 different types of this wood sold under this brand in the world. However, the true mahogany only hails from the West Indies.

National Tree

Mahogany (swietenia mahogani) is the national tree, even though it’s not endemic. This is one of the most valuable wood species of Tropical America and is labeled as an endangered species, especially in Central America, given the irrational felling and exploitation this tree has been subjected to through the years. For many, this is the wood of choice for cabinets and deluxe furniture. It’s widely used in moldings, shipbuilding and musical instruments. Also great for woodcarvings. The tree is broadly planted to decorate parks and gardens.

National Animal

The endemic palm stork (dolus dominicus) is the Dominican Republic’s national bird. It can be seen in open fields, in lowlands and never fluttering up in the mountains. This 20-centimeter-long bird is olive green with a lighter shade in the wings and the tail. The lower part is light brown or pale yellow with reddish stripes.

National Poet

Pedro Mir Valentine is the national poet in the Dominican Republic. He was also a highly celebrated journalist and was recognized as the most outstanding poet of the 20th century. However, he was totally unknown overseas. The writer garnered the recognition of his peers and in the early 1980s, the National Congress named him the national poet. In 1993 he won the National Literary Award. His merits were not merely comprised in the literary field and a case in point is the National History Award he grabbed in 1975 for a work entitled "The Dominican Roots in the Monroe Doctrine." Pedro Mir's work has a universal scope because the topics he broached are commonplace to any poor country that longs for a better a brighter future.

National Sports

Baseball is no doubt the country’s national sport or pastime. It's played all year round, though the official season tees off in the winter. The country has superb players now performing in Major League Baseball and some hall-of-famers as Juan Marichal. On the other hand, the country boasts great golf course, including a bunch of them designed by famous artists like Trent Jones and Pete Dye. The golf courses of Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Los Cajuiles, Casa de Campo and la Romana rank among the best rated in the game. Another popular sport on the island nation is basketball, and as far as nautical sports are concerned, there are great areas for trout fishing. The entire island is outfitted with gorgeous beaches for scuba diving.


Juan Pablo Duarte (1884) was the Founding Father of the Dominican Homeland and leader of the independence struggle. In 1882, following 12 years of relative calmness, Santo Domingo was once again invaded by the Haitians. In 1844, the invaders were finally defeated by a group of Dominican patriots led by Juan Pablo Duarte, who proclaimed the independent state of the Dominican Republic.