Quisqueya was the name used by the indigenous Taino Indians for the whole island including Haiti and it means the Great Land. When Columbus and the Spaniards arrived they changed the name to La Española meaning little Spain, which was then changed by Pietro Martyr d'Anghiero who wrote his account of the island in Latin in 1493 and translated La Española as Hispaniola. In 1930, the United States Geographic Board apparently decreed that the whole island should be called Hispaniola.
When the French took over the whole island in 1697 they called it Saint Domingue - Santo Domingo in Spanish, and when the slaves revolted and took control of the western portion of the island they named it Haiti, using the Taino word Ayiti meaning mountainous land, which was the name of the area in the Dominican Republic now known as Los Haitises.
Once the war of independence ended, on 27 February 1844, the name Dominican Republic was formerly adopted. There are groups however who wish to change the name back to Quisqueya from the Dominican Republic stating that Quisqueya reminds us of the real roots of the island whereas Hispaniola is a reminder of a time of the Amerindian genocide and colonisation. Nowadays the word is used for restaurants, a beer, and other items or companies from the Dominican Republic.
Here are some interesting facts about Quisqueya - the Dominican Republic.
Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean.
It is the 9th most populated island in the world.
It is the 22nd largest island in the world.
Only 2 islands in the world are shared by two countries. (Any idea what the other one is?)
It has the highest point in the Caribbean - Pico Duarte at 3,175 metres high.
It has the lowest point in the Caribbean, Laake Enriquillo at 46 metres below sea level.
Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the New World, with the oldest university, house, hospital, street and cathedral.
It has the only flag in the world with a bible on it.
To marry a man must be 16 and a woman 15.
The second largest Dominican city, Santiago, has fewer Dominicans living there than New York.
The national bird is the Palmchat (Cigua Palmera), the national tree is the West Indian Mahogany (Swistenia Mahogani) and the national flower is the Rose of Bayahibe (Pereskia Quisqueyana).
The national game is baseball.
The Cardinal has the rank of a military general officer, as well as being Archbishop.