The recorded history of the Dominican Republic began in 1492 when the Genoa-born navigator Christopher Columbus, working for the Crown of Castile, happened upon a large island in the region of the western Atlantic Ocean that later came to be known as the Caribbean. It was inhabited by the Taíno, an Arawakan people, who called the eastern part of the island Quisqueya (Kiskeya), meaning "mother of all lands." Columbus promptly claimed the island for the Spanish Crown, naming it La Isla Española ("the Spanish Island"), later Latinized to Hispaniola. After 25 years of Spanish occupation, the Taíno population in the Spanish-dominated parts of the island drastically decreased through genocide. With fewer than 50,000 remaining, the survivors intermixed with Spaniards, Africans, and others, forming the present-day tripartite Dominican population. What would become the Dominican Republic was the Spanish Captaincy General of Santo Domingo until 1821, except for a time as a French colony from 1
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