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Introduction: The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated 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 only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint...

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Economic Overview: Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80 percent of the population living in abject poverty. Haiti's GDP was US$6.1 billion in 2007-08 and GDP per capita was around US$1,300. Haiti suffers from a lack of skilled and unskilled labour and two-thirds of the labour force is formally unemployed. Haiti's export sector is made up of cocoa, oils, mangoes, coffee, and manufactures, with over 80 percent of these commodities being imported by the US. Haiti is reliant on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability.

Haiti's social and economic woes have been exacerbated by the substantial ...

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History: The Spaniards used the island of Hispaniola (of which Haiti is the western part and the Dominican Republic the eastern) as a launching point from which to explore the rest of the Western Hemisphere. French buccaneers later used the western third of the island as a point from which to harass English and Spanish ships. In 1697, Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola to France. As piracy was ...

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International Relations: Haiti is one of the original members of the United Nations and several of its specialised and related agencies, as well as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It maintains diplomatic relations with 37 countries. The International Community rallied to Haiti's defence during the 1991-94 period of illegal military rule. 31 countries participated in the US-led Multinational force (MNF) which, acting under UN auspices, intervened in September 1994 to help restore the legitimate government and create a secure and stable environment in Haiti. Six ...

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The island of Hispaniola (La Isla Española), which today is occupied by the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, was one of several landfalls Christopher Columbus made during his first voyage to the New World in 1492. Columbus established a makeshift settlement on the north coast, which he dubbed Navidad (Christmas), after his flagship, the Santa María, struck a coral reef and foundered ...

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