Fun factual figures and information on Haiti
General information on Haiti:
The original inhabitants of the fomer French colony of Haiti were native Arawak Amerindians. In fact they inhabited the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, which comprises the eastern two thirds of the island.
Columbus was the first European to visit, doing so in 1492, but within 25 years Spanish settlers had all buy annihilated them.
The French established themselves on Hispaniola in the early 1600’s, and in 1697, Spain ceded the western third of the land mass of Hispaniola island to France.
French settlers brought in large numbers of African slaves to Haiti, building a thriving and wealth-creating French colony whose big income earners were sugar cane and its associated by-products and industries, and timber and lumber from the forests.
Haiti was soon one of the most prosperous nations in the Caribbean.
The Slaves Revolt
In the late 1700’s, Haiti's nearly 500,000 slaves staged a revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture and after a bitter struggle, became in 1804, the first black republic to declare its independence from France.
Since then however political violence and unrest has dogged the country of Haiti and its fortunes have plummeted so that it is now one of the most poverty-stricken nations in the Western Hemisphere. There are huge income disparities.
Over thirty years of dictatorship followed by rule by military government ended in 1990 when Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president in universal elections.
Much of his term was overrun by a military takeover, but he returned to office in 1994 to oversee the installation of a close associate to the presidency in 1996.
In the year 2000, he won a second mandate to serve as president, taking office early in 2001.
Geographical statistics & Information on Haiti: Geographical Position:
Caribbean island comprising the western third of Hispaniola island, to the west of the larger neighbour Dominican Republic which occupies 2/3rds of the island.
Map Ref Latitude & Longitude
20 degrees 00 North, 72 degrees West Total Land & Sea Area
Central America and the Caribbean Total:
27,000 square kilometres land area:
26,800 square kilometres Sea Area
200 square kilometres Land boundaries: Total:
300 kilometres border countries:
Dominican Republic 300 kilometres Coastal Length:
1,800 kilometres exclusive fishing zone:
Climatological Conditions & information on Haiti
Tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
Mostly rough and mountainous Highest & Lowest Elevations: Lowest elevation:
Caribbean Sea at sea level Highest elevation:
Chaine de la Selle 2,700 metres Country’s natural resources:
bauxite deposits, copper, calcium carbonate, gold deposits, marble, hydroelectric power
Land use ploughable land area:
20. percent permanent crops:
12 percent other: 67 percent (1998 estimate) Irrigated land area:
700 square kilometres (1998 estimate) Hazardous Natural phenomena:
lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts
Geographical Point of Interest
shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic
People Information on Haiti Population:
7,530,000 Age structure: under 15 years:
43 percent 15 to 64 years:
54 percent Over 65:
3 percent Median age of population:
18 years male: 17 years female: 19 years (2002) Population growth rate:
1.7 percent (2003 estimate) Birth rate:
34 births per thousand population (2003 estimate) mortality rate:
13 deaths per thousand population (2003 estimate) Net rate of migration:
-4 migrant(s) per thousand population (2003 estimate) Infant mortality rate: Total:
76 deaths per thousand live births female: 70 deaths per thousand live births (2003 estimate) male: 81 deaths per thousand live births Life expectancy at birth:
51 years male: 50 years female: 52 years (2003 estimate) Total fertility rate:
4.9 children born/woman (2003 estimate)
Haitian(s) : Haitian
black 90 percent, mulatto and white 10 percent
Religious information on Haiti
Roman Catholic 78 percent, Protestant 17 percent (Baptist 9 percent, Pentecostal 5 percent, Adventist 2 percent, other 2 percent), none 1 percent, other 4 percent (1982)
Languages & Linguistic Groupings
French (official), Creole (official) definition:
People over the age of 15 years that are literate (can read & write): total population:
53 percent male: 55 percent female: 51 percent (2003 estimate)
Government information on Haiti: Country name:
Republic of Haiti Government type:
Elected government Capital city:
1 January 1804 from Republic of France National holiday: Independence Day:
1 January (1804) Constitution:
approved March 1987; suspended June 1988, with most articles reinstated March 1989; in October 1991, government claimed to be observing the constitution; return to constitutional rule, October 1994 Legal system:
based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Electoral & Voting System
Universal vote from the age of 18.
Head of State:
Chief of Government:
Cabinet picked by the prime minister who consults the president on the selection.
Legislative branch: National Assembly, bicameral - elected by vote for 4-year terms)
Economy information on Haiti: Economy - overview:
Four fifths of the population of Haiti lives in dire poverty.
Predominantly small-scale subsistence agriculture and farming employs nearly 2/3rds of the work force.
After election in May 2000, international donors suspended almost all aid to Haiti, this including the United States and European Union.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
$USD10 billion (2002 estimate) Gross Domestic Product - actual growth rate:
-1 percent (2002 estimate) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - per head of population:
$USD1,500 (2002 estimate) Gross Domestic Product - composition by sector: agriculture:
25 percent industry:
27 percent services:
48 percent (2001 estimate) Population below poverty line:
70 percent (2002 estimate)
Rate of inflation: 12 percent (2001 estimate) Labour force: 3 million Labour force - by occupation: agriculture 65 percent, services 25 percent, industry 10 percent Rate of unemployment: High levels of unemployment, and extensive underemployment; more than 2/3rds of the labour force do not have work.
Budget information on haiti
$USD270 million spending :
$USD360 million, Industries:
sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, clothing, apparel, cement, light assembly industries using imported components and componentry.
Agriculture - products: coffee growing, mangoes, sugar-cane, sugar processing, rice growing, corn, grains, sorghum; wood & timber.
$USD300 million . (2002) Exports - commodities:
coffee, oils, cocoa Exports - partners:
United States 84 percent, Dominican Republic 7 percent, Canada 3 percent (2002)
$USD1 billion . (2002) Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, manufactured & processed goods, machinery and transport equipment, refined fuels,
Imports -most important trading partners:
United States 53 percent, Dominican Republic 5 percent, Colombia 4 percent (2002)
$USD1 billion (1999) National Currency:
gourde (HTG) Currency Abbreviation:
Communications information on Haiti: Telephones landlines:
50,000 (1997) Radio broadcast stations:
Amplitude Modulation 41, Frequency Modulation 26, shortwave 0 (1999) Television broadcast stations:
3 (1997) Internet country code:
Transportation & travel information on Haiti: Railroad networks: Total:
50 kilometres Roading System: Total:
4,000 kilometres Airports & airfields:
Military information on Haiti : Military branches:
Haitian National Police (HNP) Military spending :
- $USD60 million (Fiscal Year00) Military spending : percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
1 percent (Fiscal Year00)
International Issues Haiti Disputes - international: Destitute Haitians continue to border-cross into neighbouring Dominican Republic; Haiti also claims United States-administered Navassa Island.
Illicit drugs: Haiti is claimed to be a focal transshipment point for cocaine bound for Europe and the United States. accusations of Haiti being used for money laundering transactions;
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Source: All info sourced and adapted from CIA Factbook
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