Santo Domingo was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and named Hispaniola. It is the first province of the Spaniards who call it Santo Domingo. French then Spanish, the island was under the control of the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1962, the first free elections took place but, in 1963, a putsch overthrew power. Order was restored in 1965 after American intervention. Joaquin Balaguer was elected president in 1966, 1970 and 1974 and returned in 1986, 1990 and 1994. He had to face many difficulties: natural disasters (cyclones), inflation, corruption and social inequalities, among others.