This southwesternmost province is nearly all national park! It boasts the Jaragua National Park, a vast protected area of great biodiversity, brackish lakes, subterranean rivers, caves filled with Taíno art, and high-mountain rain forests filed with orchids, begonias, and air plants, plus Isla Beata and the Oviedo Lagoon, both of which are popular with bird watchers, and the tall peaks of the Sierra del Baruco mountains, where the famous Cacique Enriquillo hid out from Spanish patrols for nearly 20 years.
On the peninsula’s west coast, Bay of the Eagles is said by many to be the most beautiful beach in all the Antilles. You reach it via an incredibly panoramic road from Cabo Rojo. The people of the region share a culture that is unique to those provinces along the Dominican-Haitian border, a culture renowned for its magico-religious rituals and colorful festivals
Location The Pedernales municipality is located in the extreme southeast of the Dominican Republic. It is bordered in the north by the Independencia province, in the south by the Caribbean Sea, in the east by the Oviedo municipality and in the west by the Haitina town of Anses-A-Pitre.
The first settlers in Pedernales were neighbors from the nearby towns of Duvergé, Enriquillo and Oviedo. In 1927, during the government of Horacio Vásquez, the area was declared a colony and was put under the protection of Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia, within the plan of colonization of the border, as a way of containing the pacific invasion by the neighboring Haitians.
The first administrator of the Pedernales colony was the distinguished writer and historian Sócrates Nolasco, who selected the first 48 families that formed the original nucleus with the collaboration of Genaro Pérez, a native of Duvergé. The government subsidized each one of the immigrants so that they would settle in the area, and as a way of incentive for them to move, with a daily amount of 20 cents for each parent and 10 cents for each child. In 1937, the Oviedo-Pedernales road is built with he participation of 500 men divided in brigades of 10; in 1938, by a resolution of the Enriquillo City Council, Pedernales is made into a municipal district, in the same year various buildings are constructed, such as the Justice of the Peace and the Post Office.
In 1947 Pedernales is made into a municipality. The affluence of immigrants from different parts of the country in search of employment begins in 1945 with the installation of the Alcoa Exploration Company.
Another component of the human conglomerate in the area during its beginning were a certain number of military prisoners and delinquents and other fugitives that fled some type of persecution.
Meanwhile, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, in his eagerness to "dominicanize" the border and with the openly racist purpose of "refining the race", brought peasants from the Cibao region to this area and had Japanese families settle there (1950) at the end of World War Two. Pedernales is made a province along with the Oviedo municipality on the first of April, 1958, leaving Pedernales as head community and no longer politically tied to the Barahona province, to which it had belonged. The Dr. Elio Fiallo Hospital is inaugurated in this year as well as the buildings of Justice, Agriculture and other entities.
The "Sindicato Autónomo de Trabajadores de la Alcoa" (Autonomous Sindicate of Alcoa Workers) (SATA) is founded in 1961 and in 1966 Hurricane Inés destroys a large part of the city, which made necessary the construction of the Ines Barrio in order to house the hurricane victims.
The Beata island is the second largest in territorial size in the country, after the Saona island. It has the privilege of having been discovered by Admiral Christopher Columbus, who also named it. It has no residents. It possesses an area of 27 square kilometers, nine in length and six in width.
The island is located to the south of the Dominican territory, a distance of 32 miles from Pedernales and 70 from Barahona. It used to belong to Barahona, but it is currently dependent upon Pedernales. There is an abundance of medicinal plants within it, such as "manzanilla", "copey", "uvilla", bitter wood, white poplar, "canelilla", wild Creole Peruvian bark, "jobobán", "higo", cherry tree and wallflower. A great amount of precious trees were produced in its sandy, limestone, marshy earth and which were devastated by intruders who went to the small barren island in past times. Seven miles from the Beata island is the Alto Velo island, the smallest in the country. It is thirteen miles away from Barahona. It was originally rich in guano and small bats.
The name of "Alto Velo" (High Veil) was given because during moonlit nights it looks like a ghost, according to the legends of old sailors. The small island was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who named it during his second voyage. Alto Velo has a history full of alternatives, since it was originally populated by Haitians in the 16th century. Then in 1854, the Haitians were evicted by a group of American adventurers who wanted the territory in order to extract all the guano that was produced there, but failing in their attempt.