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Symbols and Names

pic1Some of the most important symbols are the flag, the coat of arms and the national anthem, titled HimnoNacional. The flag has a large white cross that divides into four quarters. Two quarters are red and two are blue. Red represents the blood shed by the liberators. Blue expresses God’s protection over the nation. The white cross symbolizes the struggle of the liberators to bequeath future generations a free nation. An alternative interpretation is that blue represents the ideals of progress and liberty, whereas white symbolizes peace and unity amongst Dominicans.

In the center of the cross is the Dominican coat of arms, in the same colors as the national flag. The coat of arms pictures a red, white and blue flag-draped shield with a Bible and cross, the shield is surrounded by an olive branch (left) and a palm branch (right). A blue ribbon above the shield says: “Dios, Patria, Libertad” (meaning “God, Fatherland and Freedom”). A red ribbon on the coat says: “Dominican Republic”. Of all the flags of the world, the representation of the Bible is unique only to the Dominican flag.

The national flower is the West Indian mahogany (Swieteniamahagon). The national bird is the Cigua Palmera or palmchat (Dulusdominicus).

For most of its history (up to independence) the colony was known as Santo Domingo, the name of its present capital, and its patron saint, Santo Domingo. The residents were called “Dominicans” (Dominicans), the adjective of “Domingo”, and the revolutionaries named their newly independent country “Dominican Republic”.

At present, the Dominican Republic is one of the few countries in the world with a gentile name-based (such as Czech Republic, et al.). For example, the French Republic is generally known as France, but the Dominican Republic has no equivalent, – although the name “Quisqueya” is used sometimes.

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