On December 6, 1492, Columbus discovered the island of Santo Domingo which he called La Española, now called Hispaniola, and the city of Santo Domingo, founded by his brother, Bartholomew, in 1496, was for long the centre of Spanish power in America. The western part of the island—about one-third of the whole, and now known as the Republic of Haiti—was later occupied and colonized by the French to whom the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo was also ceded in 1795. In 1808 the Dominican population, aided by British troops, expelled the French, and the colony returned to the rule of Spain, from which it declared its independence in 1821. It was invaded and held by the Haitians from 1822 to 1844 when they were expelled, and the Dominican Republic was founded and a Constitution adopted. The country was occupied by American marines from 1916 to the adoption of a new constitution in 1924. In 1936, the name of the capital city was changed from Santo Domingo to Ciudad Trnjillo.
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