Punta Cana is a popular resort area in the Dominican Republic, which is located on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.  The Dominican Republic shares the island with the country of Haiti.  Punta Cana is located on the far eastern point of the Dominican Republic in the province of Altagracia and is one of the Caribbean's most popular resort areas.  Before the coming of the Spanish, the island was populated by Taino Indians who had called it home for hundreds of years.  Eastern Hispaniola became a springboard for the Spanish to conquer much of the Americas after Columbus discovered and claimed the area on his first voyage in 1492.  The Spanish conceded the western portion of Hispaniola to the French, the territory which is now Haiti. 

In the early 19th Century, The Dominican Republic, then known as Santo Domingo, fought to win its independence from Spain but was instead conquered and ruled by Haiti for over 20 years.  The country's government was finally able to declare independence in 1844, only to voluntarily return to the fold of the Spanish Empire 20 years later, and then become independent again two years after that.  For a brief time the country was ruled by a United States-led military government, from 1916 to 1924.  In the early 1930's the country was then taken over by the brutal dictator, Raphael Trujillo, who was assassinated in 1961.  Since Trujillo's death, the county has had major economic troubles.  There are many Dominican immigrants living the United States today.  The country is also known for its baseball players, many of whom play in the US Major Leagues.