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The central region is dominated by the Cordillera Central (central range) which ends at the Caribbean Sea.The highest point in the Caribbean is Pico Duarte, which reaches an elevation of over 10,414 feet (3,175 meters) and has alpine forests near the summit.Dominicans have migrated from rural areas to the cities.
The society was established by Juan Pablo Duarte, the son of a wealthy Dominican family.
In the west and southwestern regions the climate is dry and desertlike because of low rainfall and/or deforestation.
The capital, Santo Domingo, was the first permanent European settlement in the New World and was established by Spain in 1496.
Much of the region is a desert and it includes Lake Enriquillo, the island's largest lake.
Lake Enriquillo is a saltwater lake that lies 150 feet (46 meters) below sea level and is inhabited by unique fauna, including crocodiles, huge iguanas, and flamingos.Estimates of the birth rate range from seventeen per thousand (1994) to twenty-five per thousand (2000 estimated).