Haiti

 

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.

 

Geography:
Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
Geographic coordinates: 19 00 N, 72 25 W
People:
Population: 9,801,664 (July 2012 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.9% (male 1,748,677/female 1,742,199)

15-64 years: 60.1% (male 2,898,251/female 2,947,272)

65 years and over: 3.9% (male 170,584/female 212,949) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Haiti

conventional short form: Haiti

local long form: Republiqued’Haiti/Repiblik d’ Ayiti

local short form: Haiti/Ayiti

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Port-au-Prince

geographic coordinates: 18 32 N, 72 20 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 50,000 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 4 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 14 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: no regular military forces – small Coast Guard; the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) – Army, Navy, and Air Force – have been demobilized but still exist on paper unless they are constitutionally abolished (2012)
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49: 2,398,804 females age 16-49: 2,415,039 (2010 est.)

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 agricultural 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 3.5% in 2007, the highest growth rate since 1999. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted the garment and automotive parts exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US.

Transnational Issues:

Since 2004, about 8,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) maintain civil order in Haiti; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians cross into the Dominican Republic and sail to neighbouring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island