The Dominican Republic is located in the West Indies, occupying the eastern two-thirds of the Island of Haiti, between Cuba and Porto Rico. The country has an area of about 20,000 square miles, about five times the size of Porto Rico or as large as the States of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. The people, about 800,000 in number, are a mixture of Spanish, Indian, and African, the negro element predominating and are noticeably Spanish in language, traditions and customs. The greater portion of the people are illiterate, the smaller number of educated people comprising the professional and political classes. The capital and largest city, Santo Domingo, has a population of about 27,000.
Owing to the failure of the Dominican government to observe its treaty obligations and the menace of unsettled conditions, both to foreigners and to the Dominican people themselves, due to revolutions, the United States government, in May, 1916, found it necessary to direct its naval authorities to occupy the country and to restore and maintain order.