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Afro-Dominican facts for kids

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Arlenis Sosa Alfonso Soriano
Total population
(Approx. 9,378,818 (92% of the population))
Regions with significant populations
 Dominican Republic (Approx. 8,440,936)
South Florida, Boston, New York City, New Jersey, Spain, Puerto Rico
Dominican Spanish, Samana English
Roman Catholic, Christianity, Dominican Voodoo, Others
Related ethnic groups
Afro-Caribbean, Yoruba

Afro-Dominicans or Dominicans of African ancestry are Dominicans whose ancestry ties within the continent of Africa. Most of them came from West Africa and the Congo. The first Africans in the Dominican Republic came in 1502 from Spain, 8 years later African-born slaves came in large numbers. They were forced to work the Mines, Sugar Plantaitions, Cattling, Cowboys, Maids, Farming and Others.

Today, Afro-Dominicans are the largest ethnic group in the Dominican Republic. They makeup nearly 92% (59.3% black, 32.7% mixed black) of the Country's population. They can be found anywhere in the Island, but they makeup the majorities in the southwest, south, east, and the north parts of the Country. In the Central Cibao region, you can find people of either European, Mixed, and African descent.


Atlantic slave trade

Region of Embarkment, 1503-1870 Amount %
Senegambia (Mandinka, Fula, Wolof) 7.9
Sierra Leone (Mende, Temne) 4.5
Windward Coast (Mandé, Kru) 6.7
Gold Coast (Akan, Fon) 5.5
Bight of Benin (Yoruba, Ewe, Fon, Allada and Mahi) 12.4
Bight of Biafra (Igbo, Ibibio) 16.1
West-central Africa (Kongo, Mbundu) 47.0
Southeast Africa (Macua, Malagasy) 0.0
(Unknown) 0.0

The Atlantic slave trade began in the very early 1500s. Santo Domingo (present-day Dominican Republic) was the first place to transport African slaves in the Americas. The dying of Indigenous people in the island, cuased the Spanish to quickly grant permission from Spain to use slaves to work the plantations. In 1510, the first sizable ship consisted of 250 Black Ladinos (Spanish-speaking Blacks), 8 years later, African born slaves arrived in massive numbers. The slave and black population was so big that they would out-number whites from 9 out of 10. The first major slave revolt took place in Dominican Republic's hills in 1522. These Maroons were originally from the senegambian region of Africa; of which most were Muslims of the Wolof nation. Many centuries later the Maroon populations became so large that the only way whites could travel would be in large armed groups. Most of the Maroon populations established themselves in mostly in rivers, hills/mountains, coastal and in caves. The Congolese people were known to be very aggressive and naturally strong, they and many of the Mandingas, Wolofs, and Fulanis were the main ethnicities to have been born in Maroon villages.

Haitian Immigration

Though The Haitian influence is not much among Afro-Dominicans, some 10,000 Haitian farmers came into the Dominican Republic during the Haitian Revolution and before or after from marooning. Among the Afro-Haitian population, they originated among the Ewe and Fon tribes of present-day Benin and Togo West Africa.


Enslaved Dominicans tended to come from the Bantu/Congolese (majority-wise especially the Bakongo), Akan, Yoruba, Igbo, Ewe, Fon, Mandinga, Wolof-Fulanis and Others. The Congolese-Bakongo tribes has had the most dominant culteral impact in the Dominican Republic today.


As Dominican slaves came from predominately West-Central Africa, many of their customs survived based-on memory and myths, along with religion, names, words, music, language etc. Known survived religions are the Regla de palo, Arara, Dominican Vudu, Dominican Santeria etc. Many villages among the Dominican Republic have kept their African languages among their descendants. Recongnized African languages spoken by Dominicans are the Lucumi language which is practically the Yoruba language with very few Spanish words, the Kikongo language is still spoken, especially in places like Villa Mella, Dajabon, Altagracia, and Monte Plata. Merengue is the typical music of the Dominican Republic, it is believed that the origins of merengue camefrom a mixture between predomanitely Congolese origins along with some Igbo and Yoruba influences. Typical Dominican foods such as Mangu (mashed plantains) is of African origin.

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