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New York State first declared January 21–February 27 as Dominican Heritage month in 2016. Sharemoney knows how important Dominican immigrants are both to New York City and to the United States! So this year, we’re celebrating Dominican Heritage month all month long, too! Keep reading below for a “Top Ten” list of fun, interesting facts about the beautiful country of the Dominican Republic, its rich culture, and warm, friendly people:
- Dominican Heritage month begins on January 21st, the Feast of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia, a popular Dominican celebration, and ends on February 27, which is Dominican Independence Day.
- Juan Rodríguez arrived in Manhattan in 1613, making him the first documented immigrant to make his home in New York.
- In downtown Manhattan, you can visit the Juan Pablo Duarte Square in the Hudson Square neighborhood, which features a statue of the founder of the nation of the Dominican Republic. The statue was a gift from the nation to New York City in 1978, celebrating the 165th anniversary of Duarte’s birth, and the close relationship between the DR and NYC.
- The Merengue dance and musical style originated in the Dominican Republic, and is now popular throughout the world!
- The mines around Barahona in the Dominican Republic are the only spots in the world where you can find Larimar, a beautiful gemstone in the bluish-green color of the sea.
- Speaking of being unique to the DR, the Caribbean country is also home to two species of animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world! One is a large lizard called the rhinoceros iguana, and the other is called a solenodon, a small, venomous, shrew-like mammal with a long snout.
- Junot Díaz is the first Dominican writer to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, one of the top awards for literature, for his 2007 novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
- Everyone knows Dominicans are passionate about baseball! During the 2022 Major League Baseball season, 171 Dominican players played on the 30 teams across the US. Aside from American players, there were more Dominican players than from any other country!
- One of the most successful and well-known fashion designers of the 20th century, Oscar de la Renta, was a native of the Dominican Republic. He is especially known for having dressed many of the American First Ladies beginning with Jackie Kennedy, and including Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama.
- Both the highest point in all of the Caribbean countries, Pico Duarte, and the lowest point, Lake Enriquillo, can both be found in the Dominican Republic.
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