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(dəmĭn`ĭkənz), Roman Catholic religious order, founded by St. DominicDominic, Saint
, 1170?–1221, Castilian churchman, named Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Dominicans. He studied at Palencia and became a canon, then prior of canons, of the cathedral of Osma. He and his bishop went (c.
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 in 1216, officially named the Order of Preachers (O.P.). Although they began locally in evangelizing the Albigenses, before St. Dominic's death (1221) there were already eight national provinces. The rule and constitutions had novel features. For the first time the members of the order (friars) were accepted not into a specific house but into the whole order. The friar's life was to be one of preaching and study; the order provided houses of study at centers of learning. Unlike that of most orders, the Dominican plan of government is nonpaternalistic. Priors of houses and provinces are elected for specific terms, and they do not receive the honor and prestige accorded an abbot. Dominicans were prominent in the medieval universities; St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican, and the order has zealously propagated Thomism. It has been often called on to provide official theologians; this fact, as well as the coincidence of origin, accounts for the Dominicans being the order principally in charge of the Inquisition. In the 19th cent. the Dominicans had a revival in France and Great Britain, becoming leaders in Catholic social movements. Dominicans established themselves in the United States soon after 1800; their first U.S. province was founded in 1805. The Dominicans are especially attached to the rosary. Their habit is white, with a black mantle that is worn for preaching. They used to be called Black Friars. Dominicans are the seventh largest order. There is a contemplative order of Dominican nuns and a widespread third order, many of whose members are engaged in teaching.


See studies by R. F. Bennett (1937, repr. 1971), W. A. Hinnebusch (1966), and G. Bedouelle (tr. M. T. Noble, 1987).



the population of the Dominican Republic. Total number, 4.3 million (1970 estimate). Anthropologically, the Dominicans are a heterogeneous population, approximately 70 percent of whom are mulattoes (descendants of the settlers from Spain and the Negroes who were imported from Africa from the beginning of the 16th century to the 19th century to work on the plantations). Approximately 15 percent are Negroes, who live primarily in the southern and southeastern parts of the country. The whites, who are mainly the descendants of Spanish colonists who came to the West Indies between the 16th and 18th centuries, as well as of later settlers from North America and European countries, make up about 15 percent of the population.

Most Dominicans speak Spanish colored by features of local dialects. In addition to Spanish, some of the emigrants from Haiti continue to use the Creole language, which is based on French. The overwhelming majority of Dominicans are Catholic.


Narody Ameriki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959.



(Late Latin: Dominicani, or Fratres Praedicatores, “Preaching Friars”), a Catholic “mendicant” monastic order; founded in 1215 by the Spanish monk Dominic (who took an active part in crushing the Albigensian movement) to combat heretics; the order was confirmed by Pope Honorius III in 1216.

In 1227 the Dominicans received the right of universal preaching and confession, and in 1232 the papacy entrusted them with conducting the Inquisition. They became the papacy’s chief support against heresies and in its clashes with imperial authority, with local church hierarchies, with cities, and with universities. The Dominicans attributed particular importance to control by the Catholic Church in the sphere of upbringing and education; they founded their own educational institutions (in Bologna, Cologne, Oxford, etc.) and were in charge of departments of theology in the universities of Paris, Padua, Prague, and elsewhere. Outstanding among the Dominicans were such prominent figures in medieval Catholicism as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. In the 13th century the Dominicans began to develop extensive missionary activities and founded many monasteries (for example, near Kiev, in Iran, and in China. In the 16th century (from the time of the founding of the Jesuit Order) the Dominicans gradually began to lose their former importance. In 1971 the Dominican Order numbered more than 9,000 monks and about 6,000 nuns; it is an ideological and political tool of the Vatican.


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As one of the dictator's would-be assassins (himself a lifelong Trujillista) puts it, "what a perverse system Trujillo created, one in which all Dominicans sooner or later took part as accomplices, a system which only exiles (not always) and the dead could escape.
Among religious orders, Dominicans played the most prominent roles in the inquisitions, which spanned the 13th to the 19th centuries.