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Geography and Overview of the Caribbean Nation of Haiti

Population: 9,035,536 (July 2009 estimate)

Capital: Port au Prince

Area: 10,714 square miles (27,750 sq km)

Bordering Country: The Dominican Republic

Coastline: 1,100 miles (1,771 km)

Highest Point: Chaine de la Selle at 8,792 feet (2,680 m)

The Republic of Haiti, is the second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere just after the United States. It is a small country located in the Caribbean Sea between Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Haiti has years of political and economic instability however and it is one of the poorest nations in the world. Most recently Haiti was struck by a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake which damaged its infrastructure and killed thousands of its people.

History of Haiti

The first European habitation of Haiti was with the Spanish when they used the island of Hispaniola (of which Haiti is a part) during their exploration of the Western Hemisphere. French explorers were also present at this time and conflicts between the Spanish and French developed. In 1697, Spain gave France the western third of Hispaniola. Eventually, the French established the settlement of Saint Domingue which became one of the wealthiest colonies in the French Empire by the 18th century.

During the French Empire, slavery was common in Haiti as African slaves were brought to the colony to work on sugarcane and coffee plantations.

In 1791 though, the population of slaves revolved and took over control of the northern part of the colony, which resulted in a war against the French. By 1804 however, local forces beat the French, established their independence and named the area Haiti.

After its independence, Haiti broke into two separate political regimes but they were unified in 1820.

In 1822, Haiti took over Santo Domingo which was the eastern portion of Hispaniola but in 1844, Santo Domingo separated from Haiti and became the Dominican Republic. During this time and up until 1915, Haiti underwent 22 changes in its government and experienced political and economic chaos. In 1915, the United States

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