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Under the control of President Joaquín Balaguer, the country became reasonably stable.This independence was short-lived, however, as in 1822, the Haitians invaded the colony and occupied it for 22 years, until, on 27 February 1844, the territory of Santo Domingo recovered its sovereignty and declared independence as the Dominican Republic.After years of civil war and US occupation, the republic was taken over by General Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961), whose dictatorship was characterised by cruelty and megalomaniac excess.After defeat to Guzmán Fernández in the 1978 elections, Balaguer was re-elected four times between 19.In November 1995, amid a cycle of protests and strikes caused by a serious energy crisis, steep inflation and deterioration of public services, Balaguer was forced to stand down, with Leonel Fernandez becoming president.

However, there is also great variety in the way the Dominicans behave as the country is quite diverse ethnically and geographically.As a visitor to Dominican Republic try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing conservatively (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Dominican Republic Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.The Battle of Palo Hincado, in 1808, heralded the collapse of French rule in the eastern part of the island.The colony reverted to Spanish sovereignty the following year, and in 1821, the colonial treasurer, José Nunez de Caceres, proclaimed Santo Domingo's independence.There are no issues with wearing shorts of short-sleeved shirts in Dominican Republic, but don't wear anything too revealing or short and try to avoid these clothes in more formal settings.Lastly, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is often restricted so check with locals before doing so.

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