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People, Language & Religion
 
 
 

People

The ethnic composition of the Dominican population is 73% multiracial, 16% white, and 11% black. The multiracial population is primarily a mixture of European and African with a notable amount of Taíno influence. The country's population also includes a large Haitian minority. Other ethnic groups in the country include West Asians – mostly Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians. A smaller, yet significant presence of East Asians (primarily ethnic Chinese and Japanese) can also be found throughout the population.

Language

The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, also known as Castellano (Castilian). Other languages, among them English, French, German, Italian and Chinese, are also spoken to varying degrees. Of these, English is the most commonly spoken or learned as a second language due to its significant presence in the island through tourism, American pop-culture and Dominican-Americans. There is also the recent boom in popularity of English-based education and independent English lessons among the upper-middle class and the elite. French and Haitian Creole, though not official, are spoken by a growing number of the population. They are spoken more frequently near the border with Haiti. Residents near the border with Haiti have often learned enough French for conversation. Due to its ties to the United States, English has also become an important tool in the business sector.

Religion

The Dominican Republic is 95.2% Christian, including 88.6% Roman Catholic and 4.2% Protestant. Recent but small scale immigration, as well as proselytising, has brought other religions, with the following shares of the population: Spiritist: 2.2%, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1.0%, Buddhist: 0.10%, Bahá'í: 0.1%, Islam: 0.02%, Judaism: 0.01%, Chinese Folk Religion: 0.1%, and Dominican Vudu (no census).

Roman Catholicism was introduced by Columbus and Spanish missionaries. Religion wasn’t really the foundation of their entire society, as it was in other parts of the world at the time, and most of the population didn’t attend church on a regular basis. Nonetheless, most of the education in the country was based upon the Catholic religion, as the Bible was required in the curricula of all public schools.

The nation has two patroness saints: Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Our Lady Of High Grace) is the patroness of the Dominican people, and Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady Of Mercy) is the patroness of the Dominican Republic.

The Catholic Church began to lose popularity in the late 1800s. This was due to a lack of funding, of priests, and of support programs. During the same time, the Protestant evangelical movement began to gain support. However, religious tension between Catholics and Protestants in the country has been rare.

There has always been religious freedom throughout the entire country. Not until the 1950s were restrictions placed upon churches by Trujillo. Letters of protest were sent against the mass arrests of government adversaries. Trujillo began a campaign against the church and planned to arrest priests and bishops who preached against the government. This campaign ended before it was even put into place, with his assassination.

Judaism appeared in the Dominican Republic in the late 1930s. During World War II, a group of Jews escaping Nazi Germany fled to the Dominican Republic and founded the city of Sosúa. It has remained the centre of the Jewish population since.

 

 
 

 



 


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