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The Spanish brought their religion, language, values, and traditions to the island to form the cornerstone of Dominican culture. What is not as widely recognized is that a later influx of Germans, Irish, Italians, and Sephardic Jews from the Dutch Caribbean and Lebanon further enriched this culture. Moreover, traditional histories of the island have long overlooked the influence on the national heritage of black Africans, although their rich cultural legacy is evident in many areas. And while there has been ample discussion of the indigenous Taino people, very few of them survived over the centuries, and their imprint -- limited to agriculture, diet, language, and religion -- was less lasting. This distinctive cultural amalgam provides the backdrop for this book, which is the first to acknowledge the multicultural nature of Dominican society. Accordingly, it has become a classic text in the Dominican Republic. The contributors are Dominican scholars and journalists, many of whom have also served as diplomats, university professors, museum directors, and artists.