After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule, the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821. The leader of the independence movement, José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years later in 1844, after victory in the Dominican War of Independence. Over the next 72 years, the Dominican Republic experienced mostly civil wars (financed with loans from European merchants), several failed invasions by its neighbour, Haiti, and brief return to Spanish colonial status, before permanently ousting the Spanish during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. During this period, three presidents were assassinated (José Antonio Salcedo in 1864, Ulises Heureaux in 1899, and Ramón Cáceres in 1911).
Zombia antillarum, commonly known as the zombie palm, is a species of palm tree and the only member of the genus Zombia. It is endemic to the island of Hispaniola (both the Dominican Republic and Haiti) in the Greater Antilles. Usually found in dry, hilly areas of northern and southern Haiti and the northwest of the Dominican Republic, Z. antillarum is a relatively short fan palm with clustered stems and a very distinctive appearance caused by its persistent spiny leaf sheaths. Threatened by habitat destruction in Haiti, Z. antillarum is a popular ornamental species due to its distinctive appearance, low maintenance requirements and salt tolerance. (Full article...)
Image 2A bohío near Santo Domingo. Many Dominicans —especially those in rural areas— used to live in bohíos until well into the mid-20th century, like the native Taínos. (from Culture of the Dominican Republic)