A republic occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies. The Dominican Republic was ruled by Spain until c.1800, thereafter falling under periods of Spanish, French and Haitian rule until 1844. In 1861-65, the republic was again occupied by Spain. A Dominican request for annexation by the United States was rejected in 1865. The first stamps used in the country were Spanish colonial issues for Cuba and Puerto Rico. After the Spanish withdrawal, the Dominican Republic began issuing its own stamps. The rest of the 19th century was marked by political instability. From 1916 to 1922, the country was under U.S. military administration, and U.S. troops remained until 1924.
In 1930, Gen. Rafael Trujillo Molina came to power and ruled the country for the next three decades. Trujillo maintained order (at the expense of individual liberties) and brought a degree of economic development. Increasing popular dissatisfaction with Trujillo's repressive regime brought his assassination in 1961 and the fall of his designated successor the following year. Free elections were held in 1962, but the president was deposed in 1963. In 1965, the ousted leader's followers staged a revolt, and U.S. troops occupied the country to restore order, remaining, along with small contingents from five South American countries, as a peacekeeping force until September 1966. Since that time, the Dominican Republic has enjoyed relative stability and economic progress.