Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1340

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984 SANTO DOMINGO

departments of the Interior and Police, Finance and Commerce, Justice and Public Instruction, War and Marine, Public Works and Foreign Affairs.

Each province and district is administered by a governor appointed by the President. The various communes, cantons, and sections are presided over by jn-efects or magistrates appointed by the governors. The communes have municipal corporations elected by the inhabitants.

Area and Population.

The area of Santo Domingo, which embraces the eastern portion of the island of Haiti — the western division forming the Republic of Haiti — is estimated at 18,045 English square miles, with a population in 1888 otiicially estimated at 610,000 inliabitants, or about 34 to the square mile.

The Republic is divided into six provinces and five maritime districts. The population, unlike that of the neighbouring Haiti, is mainly composed of a mixed race of the original Spanish inhabitants and the aborigines, of mulattoes and of negroes, the latter being less in number ; the whites, or European-descended inhabitants, are comparatively numerous, and owing to their influence the Spanish language prevails, though in the towns both French and English are spoken. The capital of Santo Domingo, founded 1494, at the mouth of the river Ozama, has (1892) 14,150 inhabitants; Puerto Plata, the chief port, has 4,500 inhabitants.

Many immigrants have recently arrived from Cuba, and are encouraged to settle on the land.

Religion and Instruction.

The religion of the State is Roman Catholic, other forms of religion being permitted under certain restrictions. There are 54 parishes.

Primary instruction is gratuitous and obligatory, being supported by the communes and by central aid. The public or state schools are primary, superior, technical schools, normal schools, and a professional school with the character of a university. On December 31, 1884, when the last school census was taken, there were 201 municipal schools for primary instruction, with 7,708 pupils. It is estimated that there are now 300 schools with about 10,000 pupils.

There are several literary societies in the capital and other towns ; and in the Republic there are pul)lishcd about 40 newspapers.

Justice.

The chief judicial power resides in the Supreme Court of Justice, which consists of a president and 4 justices chosen by Congress, and 1 (ministro fiscal) appointed by the executive — all these appointments being only for the presi- dential period. The territory of the Repuldic is divided into 11 judicial districts, each having its own tribunal or court of first instance, and these districts are subdivided into communes, each w ith a local justice (alcalde), a secretary and baililf (alguacil).

Finance.

The revenue, derived mainly from customs duties on imports and exports amounted, in 1892, to 652,500 dollars gold: in 1893, 1,115,500 dollars; in 1894, 1,378,450 dollars; in 1895, 1,382,500 dollars; in 1896, 1,545,450 dollars ; in 1897, 1,601,294 dollars. The expenditure in 1895 amounted to 1,351,250 dollars gold. In 1897 the foreign debt of the Republic was converted into a new Unified Loan of 4,236,750/., consisting of 2,736,750/. in 2^^^ per cent, bonds and 1,500,000/. in 4 per cent, bonds. Both classes of bonds are secured on customs duties and specially assigned