The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with Haiti, making Hispaniola one of only two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest nation in the Antilles by area at 48,671 square kilometers, and third-largest by population, with approximately 10.8 million people, of whom approximately 3.3 million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city. The official language of the country is Spanish.
The native Taíno people had inhabited Hispaniola before the arrival of Europeans, dividing it into five chiefdoms. The Taíno people had eventually moved north over many years, and lived around the Caribbean islands. The Taíno natives had constructed an advanced farming and hunting society, and were on their way to being an organized civilization. Christopher Columbus explored and claimed the island for Spain, landing there on his first voyage in 1492.