The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...
. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....
, at the mouth of the Ozama River
The Ozama River in the Dominican Republic can trace its source to the Loma Siete Cabezas in the Sierra de Yamasá close to Villa Altagracia....
. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...
, and was the first seat of Spanish colonial rule
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....
in the New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...
. It lies within the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional
The Distrito Nacional is a subdivision of the Dominican Republic enclosing the capital Santo Domingo. It is not within any of the provinces, but is itself counted as a province. Before October 16, 2001, the Distrito Nacional was much larger, including what is now known as Santo Domingo Province....
(D.N.; "National District"), itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province.
Santo Domingo was called "Ciudad Trujillo", from 1930 to 1961, after the Dominican Republic's dictator, Rafael Trujillo, named the capital after himself.