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Haiti

Population: 9 996 731

GDP: 8 287 000 000.00 $

Description

 

The native Taino - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti.

 

 

The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'ouverture. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first post-colonial black-led nation in the world, declaring its independence in 1804. Currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has experienced political instability for most of its history.

 

 

After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations. Continued instability and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti inaugurated a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

 

 

This was followed by contested elections in 2010 that resulted in the election of Haiti's current President, Michel Martelly. A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 25 km (15 mi) west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Estimates are that over 300,000 people were killed and some 1.5 million left homeless. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years.

Population

 

Population: 9,996,731

 

Nationality: noun: Haitian(s) adjective: Haitian

 

Ethnic groups: black 95%, mulatto and white 5%

 

Languages: French (official), Creole (official)

 

Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3%.

Roughly half of the population practices voodoo.

GDP

 

GDP: $ 8 287 000 000.00 (2013)

Military Organization

 

No regular military forces - small Coast Guard; a Ministry of National Defense established May 2012; the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished.

Conflicts and Disputes

 

Since 2004, peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti have assisted in maintaining civil order in Haiti; the mission currently includes 6,685 military, 2,607 police, and 443 civilian personnel; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians cross into the Dominican Republic and sail to neighboring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island.

 

 

Haiti is caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; substantial bulk cash smuggling activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions; pervasive corruption; significant consumer of cannabis.

Geographical Information and Map

 

 

Capital: Port-au-Prince

 

Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic. Shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)

 

Geographic coordinates:           

19 00 N, 72 25 W

 

 

Area:

total: 27,750 sq km

land: 27,560 sq km

water: 190 sq km

 

Land boundaries:    

total: 376 km

border countries: Dominican Republic 376 km

 

Coastline: 1,771 km

 

Natural resources: bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower