Geographical Location of Haiti

Haiti is located in the Caribbean Sea and forms the western part of the island of Hispaniola. In the eastern part of the island is the Dominican Republic. The topography of Haiti is hilly with many mountains, and along the coast there are plains and low valleys. The climate is tropical but cooled by the trade winds in the area. Temperatures vary depending on the country's altitude, and most of the country experiences two rainy seasons throughout the year.

Lush forests used to cover the entire island, but due to deforestation, only about 30 percent of the forests remain. Soil erosion is also a huge problem and the country is highly prone to hurricanes, floods, floods and landslides. Haiti is also located in an earthquake-prone region. In 2010, the country suffered the most powerful earthquake in 200 years, which caused enormous destruction. Climate change poses a serious threat to Haiti as it exacerbates phenomena already affecting the country. In both 2016 and 2017, powerful storms resulted in major flooding, flooding and landslides.

Brief History of Haiti

Before Hispaniola was colonized by Spanish envoy Christopher Columbus in 1492, the island was home to about half a million Arawak-speaking Taino people. The indigenous population was quickly decimated by war, forced labor, and the introduction of European diseases. In 1697, Spain ceded the western part of the island (now Haiti) to France. The area's large plantations made Haiti one of France's wealthiest colonies, and the French transported up to three million slaves from Africa to Haiti to work on the plantations.

In 1791, slaves rebelled against brutal French rule. French representatives on the island quickly lost control of the colony and were forced to abolish slavery in all of their colonies in 1794. In 1804, Haiti became independent as the world's first "black" republic. Since then, conditions in the country have become chaotic and characterized by serious social and political problems. The United States intervened several times, occupying Haiti from 1915 to 1934. Since the mid-1950s, Haiti has been characterized by economic mismanagement, political repression, and brutal terrorist regimes ruled by the Duvalier family. There was a military coup in 1986, but promised democratization failed and violence continued. Since then, the country has been characterized by unrest and several military coups. Haiti held its first democratic elections in 1996, but the country has since been marred by political and economic paralysis and violent uprisings.

Society and Politics of Haiti

The president and prime minister have executive power in Haiti, and the president is elected for a five-year term. The country's first democratic constitution was approved by referendum in 1987 and is based on the American and French systems. According to the constitution, Haiti is a democratic republic, but in practice there are serious democratic shortcomings. Political parties are weak and mainly function as tools for powerful people who want power. Both politics and the judicial system are corrupt. Haiti is in the midst of a political and constitutional crisis, with a prime minister ruling without a constitutional mandate. In addition, parliament has ceased to function and the justice system has been seriously weakened by institutional collapse and insecurity.

The situation in the country is chaotic, and the humanitarian crisis is constantly worsening. About 60 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, very few have access to clean water, and the infant mortality rate is the highest in Latin America. These are mainly voluntary charitable organizations that provide social assistance to the population, such as healthcare and education. The 2010 earthquake also caused enormous destruction: the capital was destroyed. Infection and the spread of disease is also a big problem. More than 10,000 people have died as a result of the cholera outbreak that began in 2010. Today, more than 150,000 Haitian adults are living with HIV/AIDS, and the disease has left more than 90,000 children orphaned. Crime is rampant and Haiti suffers from alarming levels of murders and kidnappings carried out by criminal gangs that control strategic areas of the country.

Economy and Trade of Haiti

Haiti has the lowest gross domestic product per capita in the Western Hemisphere and the country is one of the poorest in the world. The disparities between rich and poor within the country are enormous, and without international assistance the country's economy would collapse. Agriculture is inefficient and mainly produces food for individual households. The industry is simple and consists mainly of foreign factories. They contribute little to government revenue due to very generous tax rules. The wage level is also very low. The country is struggling with widespread corruption. The difficult situation prevents foreign and national companies from establishing themselves in the country. Since both industry and agricultural production are small, the country has a large trade deficit.

Many Haitian families today survive on money they receive from relatives abroad. Smuggling, especially of drugs, is also active in the United States. Frequent natural disasters have placed a major economic burden on the country, not least the 2010 earthquake, which left 3 million people dependent on emergency aid.

Flag of Haiti
Coat of Arms of Haiti

Basic Information About Haiti

  • Full name - Republic of Haiti
  • Capital - Port-au-Prince
  • Language - French, Creole
  • Population - 11,541,683
  • Form of government - republic
  • Area - 27,750 km2
  • Currency - gourde
  • National Day - January 1st