What Do You Know about Haiti?
What Do You Know about Haiti? Officially the Republic of Haiti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea in the West Indies occupying the eastern third of the island of Hispaniola. Capital and the largest city, Port-au-Prince; area about 27,750 sq km (10,710 sq miles).
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, the island was first discovered by Christopher Columbus. In 1492, he landed on the island and named it Hispaniola. A monument of Christopher Columbus stands on the central square of Port-au-Prince, which is home to 20% of the country’s population. Columbus’ first sight of Haiti gave him the impression that he found India or Asia. Christopher Columbus is also buried in Haiti in the Cathedral of Santa Maria.
A French colony from 1697, it was the scene of a famous revolt of slaves (1791) and was afterwards ruled by men of African descent, such as Toussaint I’Overture, who dominated the whole island in 1800. It has been a republic since 1820, but it has suffered dictatorial and corrupt government.
It was ruled by seventy different dictators between 1804 and 1915. It gained its independence from France in 1804. Haiti is the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere after The United States. French and Haitian Creole are its official languages. Its official currency is Haitian gourde (HTG). Its only land border is with the Dominican Republic, which lies to the east of it. The Bahamas, Colombia, Cuba, and Jamaica have maritime borders with it.
Haiti is extremely poor, the average per capita income in Haiti is very low. It is $480 a year with 80% of nationals living below the poverty line, though much of the soil is rich. Sugar is the largest crop, followed by coffee and cocoa from the upland areas. There are mineral resources, but economic development is slow. Haiti is also one of the most deforested nations of the world. Poor agricultural practices, overgrazing, intensive demand for charcoal and scarcity of land are the leading causes.