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Samaná Province

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Coordinates: 19°12′0″N 69°19′0″W / 19.2°N 69.316667°W / 19.2; -69.316667
DomRep Bacardi Insel.jpg
Cayo Levantado ("Levantado Key"), Samaná
Country  Dominican Republic
Capital Samaná
 - elevation m (16 ft)
 - coordinates 19°12′0″N 69°19′0″W / 19.2°N 69.316667°W / 19.2; -69.316667
Area 853.74 km² (330 sq mi)
Population 101,494 (2010) [1]
Density 119 /km² (308 /sq mi)
Province since 1867
Subdivisions 3 municipalities
3 municipal districts
Congresspersons 1 Senator
2 Deputies
Timezone AST (UTC-4)
Area code 1-809 1-829 1-849
ISO 3166-2 DO-20
Location of the Samaná Province
Location of the Samaná Province

Samaná is a Dominican province. It is in the northeastern part of the country. It takes up the whole Samaná Peninsula. Its capital city is Santa Bárbara de Samaná, usually called just "Samaná". It is one of the main tourist regions of the country with several important resorts.

It was created as a Maritime District (a special administrative category that has been abandoned) on June 4, 1867. The 1907 Dominican Constitution changed its status to province.


To the north and east of the peninsula (and province) is the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south is the Samaná Bay. Samaná shares borders with the Duarte and María Trinidad Sánchez provinces (west). It also shares a short border with Monte Plata.

Origin of name

The word Samaná, written as Xamaná [2] centuries ago, is the Taíno name of the region. The meaning of the word is unknown.


Samaná was visited by Christopher Columbus in January 1493, during his first travel to the Americas. At that moment, Samaná was occupied by Ciguayos, a tribe of Native Americans with the same culture of the Taínos but a different language.[3] They were the first Indians that fought against the Europeans.[4]

After the conquest of the Hispaniola island by the Spaniards, Samaná was occupied by different groups of Europeans, mainly French people. Some groups of maroon (runaway slaves) lived in the mountains for many years.

To fight against those European groups, Spain brought galleys (a galley was a narrow war ship where prisoners and slaves were used to move the ship),[5] and founded in 1756 the town of Santa Bárbara de Samaná on the northern coast of Samaná Bay, with people from the Canary Islands.

When the eastern part of the Hispaniola (the Santo Domingo colony) was given to France in 1795, the French government tried to develop the region, and many French families moved to Samaná to grow coffee; many places in Samaná have French names. Those French families left Samaná when Spain took again the colony in 1809.

During the Haitian Occupation (1822 - 1844), a fort was built in Los Cacaos (west of Santa Bárbara de Samaná) to control the Samaná Bay; another small fort was built in El Limón, on the northern coast.

Jean-Pierre Boyer, President of Haiti, sent some Haitian families to live in Tessón, to the north of Santa Bárbara de Samaná. Boyer brought ex-slaves from Philadelphia to live in the country, and 200 of them were taken to live in Samaná. Both the Haitian and the American populations kept their languages and traditions.[5]

After the Independence, several Dominican governments tried to sell or rent the Samaná Bay, with the peninsula, to several foreign governments but without any result.

In 1888, the railway from Sánchez to La Vega (in the La Vega province) began to run across the rich region of the Cibao. Sánchez became the most important port of the country during the rest of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. The railroad worked until 1966.[5]


Samaná has a total area of 853.74 km².[6] It has 1.8% of the area of the Dominican Republic and it is ranked as the 26th (out of 31 plus the National District) largest province.

There are three municipalities and three municipal districts in the province.[7]

The municipalities and their municipal districts (M.D.) are:


In 2010 (last national census), there were 101,494 people living in the Samaná province, and just 44,190 (43.54%) living in towns and cities. The population density was 119 persons/km².[8]

Its population represents 1.1% of the total population of the country and the province is ranked as the 22nd (out of 31 plus the National District) more populated province.

The largest city of the province is Samaná, its head municipality or capital, with a population (in 2010) of 33,196 inhabitants.[8]


A mountain chain called Sierra de Samaná runs across the province, from west to east; only in the western part, west of Sánchez, there is flat land because it is an estuary. The Sierra de Samaná gets to the coast, except in some places where there are very good beaches. The highest mountain in the province is in the eastern part of the peninsula and is called La Meseta (650 m high).


There are many rivers and creeks but all are very short because the mountains get very close to the coast. There are more rivers on the southern part of the province but the most important (Limón, Cantón and San Juan) are on the northern part, going to the Atlantic Ocean;

In the southwestern part of the province is the River Yuna, one of the most important river of the country; it flows into the Samaná Bay.


Samaná has a wet tropical weather, with temperature of 26.0 degrees Celsius, on average. The annual rainfall on the Sierra de Samaná is above 2,000 mm.


The most important economic activity of the province is agriculture; Samaná is the biggest producer of coconut in the country but the demand for that product is diminishing. Cacao and rice are produced in the western part of the province.

Even if fishing was a very important activity, its importance has been reduced because the Yuna River has been filling the Samaná Bay with solid material.

Tourism is very important in the province because of the beautiful beaches in the province. Whale-watching is an important economic activity because many tourists come the province to watch the humpback whales that come in late winter and early spring to breed in the warm waters of the Samaná Bay.


  1. "IX Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2010." (in Spanish) (PDF). Oficina Nacional de Estadística. June 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  2. Martyr D'Anghiera, Peter (1912) [ca. 1504-1526], De Orbe Novo, Volume 1, Francis MacNutt (trans.) (Project Gutenberg reproduction ed.), pp. Third Decade: Book VII, retrieved 2007-09-19<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Veloz Maggiolo, Marcio (1972) (in Spanish). Arqueología Prehistórica de Santo Domingo. Singapur: McGraw-Hill Far Eastern Publishers. pp. 88.
  4. Las Casas, Bartolomé de (1965) (in Spanish). Historia de las Indias. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Vega, Bernardo (2004) (in Spanish). Breve historia de Samaná. Santo Domingo: Fundación Cultural Dominicana. ISBN ISBN 9993-42706-3 .
  6. Listado de Códigos de Provincias, Municipio y Distritos Municipales, Oficina Nacional de Estadistica
  7. Oficina Nacional de Estadística. "División Territorial 2008" (in Spanish) (PDF). Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Oficina Nacional de Estadística. "IX Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda. Informe Básico" (in Spanish) (PDF). Retrieved 2013-1-29.