Haiti



Official Country Name
Haiti

Haiti Overview
The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola, and 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 black republic to declare its independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the departure of President Jean-Betrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

Haiti Economy
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. A macroeconomic program developed in 2005 with the help of the International Monetary Fund helped the economy grow 1.8% in 2006, the highest growth rate since 1999. Haiti suffers from higher inflation than similar low-income countries, a lack of investment, and a severe trade deficit. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability. In 2006, Haiti held a successful donors conference in which the total aid pledged exceeded Haiti's request. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP.

Haiti Location
Haiti is located in Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic

Region
Haiti is located in Caribbean

Haiti Population
Haiti has population of 8,308,504 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS

Haiti Climate
Haiti has tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds

Haiti Terrain
mostly rough and mountainous

Haiti Natural Resources
bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower

Ethnic Groups in Haiti
Haiti has the following ethnic groups - black 95%, mulatto and white 5%

Haiti Religions
Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% note: roughly half of the population practices voodoo

Haiti Languages
French (official), Creole (official)

Haiti Capital
Haiti capital is Port-au-Prince

Haiti Currency
Haiti currency is gourde

Map of Haiti