Haiti (GPS: 19 00 N, 72 25 W) 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. The country’s area measurements are total: 27,750 sq km; land: 27,560 sq km, water: 190 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly smaller than Maryland. The total irrigated land is 970 sq km (2012).
One of Haiti’s important features: Shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic). It is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Port-au-Prince’s GPS coordinates, are 18 32 N 72 20 W. Port-au-Prince’s local time is the same as Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC-5, note; Daylight saving time: none in 2016.
Google Maps Haiti and Port-au-Prince, Central America and the Caribbean
About Haiti in detail
Flag of Haiti
Map of Haiti
The native Taino – who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when Christopher COLUMBUS first landed on it in 1492 – were virtually wiped out 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 relied heavily on enslaved Africans’ forced labor and environmentally degrading practices. In the late 18th century, Toussaint L’Ouverture led a revolution of Haiti’s nearly half a million slaves that ended France’s rule on the island.
After a prolonged struggle, and under the leadership of Jean-Jacques DESSALINES, Haiti became the first country in the world led by former slaves after declaring its independence in 1804. Still, it was forced to pay an indemnity to France for more than a century and was shunned by other countries for nearly 40 years. After the US occupied Haiti from 1915-1934, Francois “Papa Doc” DUVALIER and then his son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” DUVALIER led repressive and corrupt regimes ruled Haiti from 1957-1971 and 1971-1986, respectively.
A massive 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. On 4 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, resulting in over 500 deaths and extensive damage to crops, houses, livestock, and infrastructure. Currently, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti continues to experience bouts of political instability.
Haiti’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Haiti, traditional short form: Haiti, local long form: Republique d’Haiti/Repiblik d Ayiti, local short state: Haiti/Ayiti, etymology: the native Taino name means “land of high mountains” and was initially applied to the entire island of Hispaniola. The native Taino name means “Land of High Mountains” and was used initially to Hispaniola’s entire island.
Haiti’s terrain is typically mostly rough and mountainous. The country’s mean elevation: 470 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Caribbean Sea 0 m, highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m.
The country’s general climate is tropical: semiarid where mountains in the east cut off trade winds.
The total number of border countries is 1, Dominican Republic 376 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Haiti’s coastline is 1,771 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: to a depth of exploitation. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 66.4%; arable land 38.5%; permanent crops 10.2%; permanent pasture 17.7%; forest: 3.6%; other: 30% (2011 estimate).
The population in Haiti 10,788,440 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 58.6% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: PORT-AU-PRINCE (capital) 2.44 million (2015), while Haiti has a fairly even distribution; largest concentrations located near coastal areas. Their spoken languages are French (official language), Creole (official language). Main religions in Haiti are Roman Catholic (official) 54.7%, Protestant 28.5% (Baptist 15.4%, Pentecostal 7.9%, Adventist 3%, Methodist 1.5%, other 0.7%), voodoo (official) 2.1%, other 4.6%, none 10.2%note: many Haitians practice elements of voodoo in addition to another religion, most often Roman Catholicism; voodoo was recognized as an official religion in 2003. The nation uses civil law system strongly influenced by the Napoleonic Code. It is a(n) semi-presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 1 January (1804).
Economic overview for the country: Haiti is a free market economy with low labor costs and tariff-free access to the US for many exports. Two-fifths of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, which remains vulnerable to frequent natural disasters. Poverty, corruption, vulnerability to natural disasters, and low education levels for much of the population represent some of the most serious impediments to Haiti’s economic growth. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equivalent to more than a quarter of GDP, and nearly double the combined value of Haitian exports and foreign direct investment.
Currently, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with close to 60% of the population living under the national poverty line, Haiti’s GDP growth rose to 5.5% in 2011 as the Haitian economy began recovering from the devastating January 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring areas. However, growth slowed to below 2% in 2015 and 2016 as political uncertainty, drought conditions, decreasing foreign aid, and the depreciation of the national currency took a toll on investment and economic growth. Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, made landfall in Haiti on 4 October 2016, with 140 mile-per-hour winds, creating a new humanitarian emergency.
An estimated 2.1 million people were affected by the category four storm, which caused extensive damage to crops, houses, livestock, and infrastructure across Haiti’s southern peninsula. US economic engagement under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and the 2008 Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE II) have contributed to increased apparel exports and investment by providing duty-free access to the US. The Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act of 2010 extended the CBTPA and HOPE II until 2020, while the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 extended trade benefits provided to Haiti in the HOPE and HELP Acts through September 2025.
Apparel sector exports in 2016 reached approximately $850 million and account for over 90% of Haitian exports and more than 10% of the GDP. Investment in Haiti is hampered by the difficulty of doing business and weak infrastructure, including access to electricity. Haiti’s outstanding external debt was canceled by donor countries following the 2010 earthquake but has since risen to $2.6 billion as of December 2017, most of which is owed to Venezuela under the PetroCaribe program. Although the government has increased its revenue collection, it relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over 20% of its annual budget from foreign aid or direct budget support.
Main export partners for Haiti, Central America, and the Caribbean are US 85.3% (2015) for apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee, while the main import partners for the country are: the Dominican Republic 35.3%, US 24.5%, Netherlands Antilles 9.4%, China 9.4% (2015) for food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials.
When you visit this country in Central America and the Caribbean, consider the natural hazards in Haiti: Lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October, occasional flooding and earthquakes, periodic droughts, while infectious diseases are a degree of risk: very high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria. Note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016).
Also, note that Haiti faces the following environmental issues: Extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel), Soil erosion, Overpopulation leads to inadequate supplies of potable water of sanitation, Natural disasters.
You may also be interested in Haiti’s surrounding countries around its total 376 km border, like the Dominican Republic.