|Official Name||Repiblik Dayti (Haitian Creole); Republique d'Haiti (French) (Republic of Haiti)||Capital||Port-au-Prince||Population||6.97 million (2001)||Area||27,750 sq km or 10,714 sq mi||Currency||Gourde ($1=23.75)||Religion||Christianity and Voodoo||Literacy||45%||Languages||Haitian Creole, French (official)||Major Cities||Carrefour, Demas, Cap-Haitien, Petion-Ville||Climate||Tropical in nature|
Haiti is mountainous in most parts, with five mountain ranges crossing the country. The Chaine du Haut Piton, runs along the northern peninsula, the Massif de la Selle, begins just southeast of Port-au-Prince and has Haiti's highest point of 8,793 ft at Pic la Selle. The Massif de la Hotte further runs along the western end of the southern peninsula. The other chains include the Massif des Montagnes Noires and Chaine des Cahos, and the solitary peak of Montagne Terrible. The Gonave Gulf contains the largest of Haiti's offshore islands, the island of Gonave. As is characteristic of mountainous regions, Haiti's shoreline is irregular, and there are many natural harbors. The numerous rivers doting Haiti are short, swift, and un-navigable. The only navigable river is the Artibonite.
Location of Haiti
Haiti is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the Dominican Republic, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the Windward Passage, a channel that separates the country from Cuba.
Flag of Haiti
The flag of Haiti contains two equal horizontal bands of blue, at the top; and red with a centered white rectangle bearing the coat of arms, which contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll bearing the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength).
Climate of Haiti
Haiti has a tropical climate with significant variations. Rainfall varies from a high of 3,600 mm on the western tip of the southern peninsula to 600 mm on the southwest coast of the northern peninsula. The southwest receives most of the rains in early and late summer. Port-au-Prince, located at sea level, has a yearly average temperature of 27°C. In Kenscoff, located just south of Port-au-Prince at an elevation of 4,700 ft, the temperatures average is usually recorded at 16°C. Haiti is also vulnerable to hurricanes and is occasionally hit by destructive storms.
Flora And Fauna of Haiti
Deforestation for farms and wood has left Haiti with just few pine forests at high elevations and mangroves in inaccessible swamps. There are even fewer animals. Semi desert scrub covers the ground in drier zones. Coffee and cacao trees are spread across the mountains in scattered clumps. Caiman and flamingo are the most common wildlife seen today. The deterioration of the environment has had a severe impact on the country's soil, and water resources too, so much so that the tropical reefs surrounding the country are now threatened.
About 95 percent of the people of Haiti are of African origin. The remaining 5 percent is made up of mulatto and other races. As education is not easily accessible to the people, the rate of literacy is low, only 45 percent. Majority of the people are Roman Catholics.
Arts, Culture and Music of Haiti
Haitian culture fuses African, French, and West Indian elements. Formerly a social divider, the Creole language is now being used in attempts to define a national culture. The language is used in literature, drama, music, dance, and some governmental functions and the country has to its credit several outstanding libraries. Haitian works of art are enjoying increasing worldwide recognition.
Economy of Haiti
Haiti has a third world economy where nearly 70% of the populace depends mainly on agriculture, which employs 68 percent of the labor force. Manufacturing, services, and tourism are the next largest employers. About 50 percent of the labor force is unemployed. Estimates show that unemployment combined with underemployment affect about 85 percent of the labor force. In 2001 Haiti's per capita gross domestic product was very less, leading it to rank among the poorest countries. To add to its economic woes, political conflicts have further led to suspension of international aids.