A country of the West Indies on the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola. Originally inhabited by Arawaks, it was claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and remained a Spanish colony until 1795, when it was ceded to France. Ruled by Haiti after 1821, the country became independent in 1844 but has had a turbulent history, including many years of dictatorship under Rafael Trujillo Molina (1930–1961). Santo Domingo is the capital and the largest city.
(place) Country occupying the E part of the island of Hispaniola, in the West Indies: independent since 1844: 18,815 sq mi (48,730 sq km); cap. Santo Domingo.