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5 Facts about Haiti

Haiti, located on the Hispaniola, is a beautiful country that is located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, west of the Dominican Republic.

 • Official name: Republic of Haiti

 • Government form: Republic

 • Capital: Port-au-Prince

 • Population: 10,788,440

 • Official languages: French, Creole

Geography

Haiti is located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This small tropical country is located in the west of the Dominican Republic and the south of the island of Cuba.

The land is mountainous. Haiti is the country’s Indian name, which means “land of mountains”. The peaks are as high as 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). The country is in the path of many hurricanes and faced four tropical storms in 2008. Thousands of people died in 2010, and the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

People and culture

Their population consists of black people (95%) and white people (5%). Haitian’s parents are strict but very caring. Large families often live in confined spaces with their families. There are just over 30,000 orphans (0.3% of the population) in Haiti. An orphanage in Haiti relies on donations and volunteers for sustenance. 4,444 Haitians participated in folk dances and voodoo ceremonies. Half the population believes in voodoo, which is a mixture of African slavery traditions and Catholic beliefs. Carnival and New Year’s Day are the most important festivals for most Haitians.

The Haitian diet is based on local vegetables and fruits, complemented by some spicy meat dishes.

Ecosystem

Haiti has a tropical climate which means with trade winds temperatures are warm throughout the year. The country is mountainous, but the coast is flat, with abundant marine life and coconut trees. Royal palm trees flourish here and can reach 60 feet (18.3 meters) tall.

As Haiti developed, forests were cut down to make way for farmland and provide firewood for residents.

Government and economy

The president is elected every five years. Haiti, with 8 out of 10 people living below the poverty line, is the poorest country unfortunately in the Western Hemisphere. About two-thirds of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods and are vulnerable to frequent storms, which destroy their crops and erode the land.

Many countries and non-profit organizations assist in Haiti. The government relies on the help of international groups. Most of the population works in the agricultural sector.

Haiti produces coffee, mangoes, sugar cane, rice, corn, sorghum, and wood.

History

Christopher Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492 and Haiti became a Spanish colony. The Spanish killed most of the indigenous people and imported African slaves to work in the colonies.

The French took over the colony in the 17th century and increased the production of many crops, such as coffee, cotton, and sugar cane. Slaves rebelled against French rule and became independent from France in January 1804.

The dictator François “Doctor Dad” Duvalier ruled the country in 1957, and under the control of a powerful government hides extreme poverty. The government killed many people who disagreed with the Duvalier government. Many Haitians have left this country and moved to the safety of other countries. The Duvalier government was overthrown in 1986.