Throughout the centuries, the Spanish language has gone through a chaotic evolution of dialects. In the Americas, Spanish quickly absorbed the native indigenous languages. The Dominican Republic in particular has had its fair share of cultural influences, well after Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island once known as La Hispaniola.
There are 3 major influences on the language of the Dominican Republic: African, European (Spanish, English, and French), and Indigenous languages.
In 1522, the Island was heavily populated by African slaves that spoke various African tongues, as well as an indigenous Taino population that had their own native language. Both populations were being ruled by Spanish overlords.
As time passed, Spain began to lose its grip on the Hispaniola, indulging in larger conquests over the Mayan and Incan civilizations throughout central and South America. By 1795, the French moved in and took hold of Santo Domingo (the modern day capital of the Dominican Republic).
The French quickly imposed their language on the people—once again altering the mixed Spanish that had already been developed. After many years of harsh French rule, the African slaves revolted and formed the French colony of Haiti, which governed the entire island. Dominicans who refused French assimilation kept the Spanish language alive.
By 1844, Dominicans arose and formed a revolution against Haitian rule, with the help of the British and Spaniards. Later, the United States occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924, bringing an influx of soldiers and another powerful cultural influence to the island.
With all the cultural tug-of-wars in its past, it’s not hard to see why the Dominican Republic has such a diverse people and unique language.