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 had constructed an advanced farming and hunting society, and were in the process of becoming an organized civilization. Christopher Columbus explored and claimed the island for Spain, landing there on his first voyage in 1492. The colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, and the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World.