Hispaniola
Overview
Hispaniolais a major island in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, containing the two sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

s of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 and Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. The island is located between the islands of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 to the west and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 to the east, within the hurricane belt
Hurricane belt
The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season....

. Hispaniola is perhaps most famous as the site of the first European colonies in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

, colonies founded by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 on his voyages in 1492 and 1493. It is the ninth-most-populous island in the world, and the most populous in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

.
Encyclopedia
Hispaniolais a major island in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, containing the two sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

s of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 and Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. The island is located between the islands of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 to the west and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 to the east, within the hurricane belt
Hurricane belt
The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season....

. Hispaniola is perhaps most famous as the site of the first European colonies in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

, colonies founded by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 on his voyages in 1492 and 1493. It is the ninth-most-populous island in the world, and the most populous in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. It is the second largest island in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 (after Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

) and the 22nd-largest island in the world.

History


Etymology

The island bears various names originated by its native people, the Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 Amerindians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. When Columbus took possession of the island in 1492 he named it Hispana in Latin and La Isla Española, meaning "The Spanish Island", in Spanish. Bartolomé de las Casas
Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de las Casas O.P. was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians"...

 shortened the name to "Española", and when Pietro Martyr d'Anghiera
Peter Martyr d'Anghiera
Peter Martyr d'Anghiera was an Italian-born historian of Spain and its discoveries during the Age of Exploration...

 detailed his account of the island in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, he translated the name as Hispaniola. Because Anghiera's literary work was translated into English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 in a short period of time, the name "Hispaniola" is the most frequently used term in English-speaking countries for the island in scientific and cartographic works.

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo and las Casas documented that the island was called Haití ("Mountainous Land") by the Taíno. D'Anghiera added another name, Quizqueia (supposedly "Mother of all Lands"), but later research shows that the word does not seem to derive from the original Arawak
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

 Taíno language. Although the Taínos's use of Haití is verified and the name was used by all three historians, evidence suggests that it probably was not the Taíno name of the whole island. Haití was the Taíno name of a region (now known as Los Haitises) in the northeastern section of the present-day Dominican Republic. In the oldest documented map of the island, created by Andrés de Morales, that region is named Montes de Haití ("Haiti Mountains"). Las Casas apparently named the whole island Haití on the basis of that particular region; d'Anghiera said that the name of one part was given to the whole island.

The colonial terms Saint-Domingue
Saint-Domingue
The labour for these plantations was provided by an estimated 790,000 African slaves . Between 1764 and 1771, the average annual importation of slaves varied between 10,000-15,000; by 1786 it was about 28,000, and from 1787 onward, the colony received more than 40,000 slaves a year...

and Santo Domingo are sometimes still applied to the whole island, although these names factually refer, respectively, to the colonies that became Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The name Haïti was adopted by Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1801 constitution. Initially regarded as Governor-General, Dessalines later named himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti...

 as the official name of independent Saint-Domingue, as a tribute to the Amerindian predecessors. Quisqueya
Quisqueya
Quisqueya may refer to:*Quisqueya, Dominican Republic, a municipality of the San Pedro de Macorís province*Quisqueya , a genus of Laeliinae*Hispaniola or Quisqueya, a major island in the Caribbean, containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

(from Quizqueia) is used to refer to the Dominican Republic.

Post-columbian

Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 arrived at the island during his first voyage to America
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 in 1492, where his flagship, the Santa Maria, sank. During his arrival he founded the settlement of La Navidad
La Navidad
La Navidad was a settlement that Christopher Columbus and his men established in present day Haiti in 1492 from the remains of the Spanish ship, the Santa María...

 on the north coast of present day Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. On his return the subsequent year, following the disbandment of La Navidad, Columbus quickly founded a second settlement farther east in present day Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, La Isabela, which became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas.

The island was inhabited by the Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

s, one of the indigenous Arawak peoples. The Taino were at first tolerant of Columbus and his crew, and helped him to construct La Navidad
La Navidad
La Navidad was a settlement that Christopher Columbus and his men established in present day Haiti in 1492 from the remains of the Spanish ship, the Santa María...

 on what is now Môle Saint-Nicolas
Môle Saint-Nicolas
Môle-Saint-Nicolas is a town in the Republic of Haiti. It is the chief town of the Môle-Saint-Nicolas Arrondissement in the department of Nord-Ouest...

, Haiti, in December 1492. European colonization of the island began earnestly the following year, when 1,300 men arrived from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 under the watch of Bartolomeo Columbus
Bartolomeo Columbus
Bartholomew Columbus was an explorer and the younger brother of Christopher Columbus.In the 1470s Bartholomew was a mapmaker in Lisbon, the principal center of cartography of the time, and conceived with his brother the "Enterprise of the Indies", a scheme to reach the Orient and its lucrative...

. In 1496 the town of Nueva Isabela was founded. After being destroyed by a hurricane, it was rebuilt on the opposite side of the Ozama River and called Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

. It is the oldest permanent European settlement in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. The Taino
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 population of the island was rapidly decimated, owing to a combination of disease and harsh treatment by Spanish overlords. In 1501, the colony began to import African slaves, believing them more capable of performing physical labor. The natives had no immunity to European diseases, including smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, and entire tribes were destroyed. From an estimated initial population of 250,000 in 1492, the Arawaks had dropped to 14,000 by 1517.

In 1574, a census taken of the Greater Antilles, reported 1,000 Spaniards and 12,000 African slaves on Hispaniola.

As Spain conquered new regions on the mainland of the Americas, its interest in Hispaniola waned, and the colony's population grew slowly. By the early 17th century, the island and its smaller neighbors (notably Tortuga) became regular stopping points for Caribbean pirates
Piracy in the Caribbean
] The era of piracy in the Caribbean began in the 16th century and died out in the 1830s after the navies of the nations of Western Europe and North America with colonies in the Caribbean began combating pirates. The period during which pirates were most successful was from the 1690s until the 1720s...

. In 1606, the king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

 of Spain ordered all inhabitants of Hispaniola to move close to Santo Domingo, to avoid interaction with pirates. Rather than secure the island, however, this resulted in French, English and Dutch pirates establishing bases on the now-abandoned north and west coasts of the island.
In 1665, French colonization of the island was officially recognized by King Louis XIV. The French colony was given the name Saint-Domingue
Saint-Domingue
The labour for these plantations was provided by an estimated 790,000 African slaves . Between 1764 and 1771, the average annual importation of slaves varied between 10,000-15,000; by 1786 it was about 28,000, and from 1787 onward, the colony received more than 40,000 slaves a year...

, which became present-day Haiti. In the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Spain formally ceded the western third of the island to France. Saint-Domingue quickly came to overshadow the east in both wealth
Wealth
Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem...

 and population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

. Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Antilles," it became the richest and most prosperous colony in the West Indies and one of the wealthiest in the world, cementing its status as the most important port in the Americas for goods and products flowing to and from Europe. After independence for Haiti, this reversed and Haiti became one of the poorest countries in the Americas, while the Dominican Republic developed into the largest economy of Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and the Caribbean
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

.

Geography

Hispaniola is the second-largest island in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 (after Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

), with an area of 76480 square kilometres (29,529.1 sq mi). Haiti has 10620 mi2; the Dominican Republic 18704 mi2.

The island of Cuba lies 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) to the northwest across the Windward Passage
Windward Passage
The Windward Passage is a strait in the Caribbean Sea, between the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. The strait specifically lies between the easternmost region of Cuba and the northwest of Haiti.80km wide, the Windward Passage has a threshold depth of 1,700m...

; to the southwest lies Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, separated by the Jamaica Channel
Jamaica Channel
The Jamaica Channel is a strait separating the islands of Jamaica and Hispaniola, in the Caribbean Sea. Along with the Windward Passage to its north, it connects the Caribbean Sea to the North Atlantic Ocean...

. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 lies east of Hispaniola across the Mona Passage
Mona Passage
The Mona Passage is a strait that separates the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The Mona Passage connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and is an important shipping route between the Atlantic and the Panama Canal....

. The Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 and Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union consisting of two groups of tropical islands in the Caribbean, the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, known for tourism and as an offshore financial centre.The Turks and...

 lie to the north. Its westernmost point is known as Cap Carcasse.

Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico are collectively known as the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

. The Greater Antilles are made up of continent
Continent
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

al rock, as distinct from the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

, which are mostly young volcanic
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 or coral island
Coral island
A coral island is the result of an atoll whose lagoon has dried up or been filled in with coral sand and detritus. This state is typically the last in the life cycle of an island, the first being volcanic and the second being an atoll. Most of the world's coral islands are in the Pacific Ocean...

s.

The island has five major mountain ranges: The Central Range, known in the Dominican Republic as the Cordillera Central
Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic
The Cordillera Central is the highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic and in all of the West Indies. Connected to the Massif du Nord in Haiti, it gradually bends southwards and finishes near the town of San Cristóbal on the Caribbean coastal plains. Because of its altitude, cool...

, spans the central part of the island, extending from the south coast of the Dominican Republic into northwestern Haiti, where it is known as the Massif du Nord. This mountain range boasts the highest peak in the Antilles, Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte is the highest peak in all the Caribbean islands. It lies in the Cordillera Central range, the greatest of the Dominican Republic's mountain chains. The Cordillera Central extends from the plains between San Cristóbal and Baní to the northwestern peninsula of Haiti, where it is known as...

 at 3087 metres (10,128 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. The Cordillera Septentrional
Cordillera Septentrional
The Cordillera Septentrional runs parallel to the north coast of the Dominican Republic, with extensions to the northwest, the Tortuga island, and to the southeast, the Samaná Peninsula where it becomes the Sierra de Samaná. Its highest mountain is Diego de Ocampo, close to Santiago de los...

runs parallel to the Central Range across the northern end of the Dominican Republic, extending into the Atlantic Ocean as the Samaná Peninsula
Samaná Peninsula
The Samaná Península is a peninsula in Dominican Republic situated in the province of Samaná. The Samaná Peninsula is connected to the rest of the state by the isthmus of Samaná. The Peninsula contains many beaches, especially in the city of Santa Bárbara de Samaná. It contains 3 rivers. The main...

. The Cordillera Central and Cordillera Septentrional are separated by the lowlands of the Cibao Valley
Cibao
Cibao, usually referred as "El Cibao", is a region of the Dominican Republic located at the northern part of the country.The Taíno word Cibao, meaning "place where rocks abound", was originally applied to the central mountain range, and used during the Spanish conquest to refer to the rich and...

 and the Atlantic coastal plains, which extend westward into Haiti as the Plaine du Nord (Northern Plain). The lowest of the ranges is the Cordillera Oriental, in the eastern part of the country.

The Sierra de Neiba rises in the southwest of the Dominican Republic, and continues northwest into Haiti, parallel to the Cordillera Central, as the Montagnes Noires, Chaîne des Matheux and the Montagnes du Trou d'Eau. The Plateau Central lies between the Massif du Nord and the Montagnes Noires, and the Plaine de l'Artibonite lies between the Montagnes Noires and the Chaîne des Matheux, opening westward toward the Gulf of Gonâve
Gulf of Gonâve
The Gulf of Gonâve is a large gulf along the western coast of Haiti. Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince, is located on the coast of the gulf. Other cities on the gulf coast include Gonaïves, Saint-Marc, Miragoâne, and Jérémie. Several islands are located in the gulf, the largest being Gonâve...

, the largest gulf of the Antilles.

The southern range begins in the southwestern most Dominican Republic as the Sierra de Bahoruco, and extends west into Haiti as the Massif de la Selle and the Massif de la Hotte, which form the mountainous spine of Haiti's southern peninsula. Pic de la Selle
Pic la Selle
Pic la Selle , also called Morne La Selle, is the highest peak in Haiti with a height of 2,680 meters above sea level. The mountain is part of the Chaîne de la Selle mountain range. It is located in the Ouest administrative department....

 is the highest peak in the southern range, the third highest peak in the Antilles and consequently the highest point in Haiti, at 2680 metres (8,792.7 ft) above sea level. A depression
Depression (geology)
A depression in geology is a landform sunken or depressed below the surrounding area. Depressions may be formed by various mechanisms.Structural or tectonic related:...

 runs parallel to the southern range, between the southern range and the Chaîne des Matheux-Sierra de Neiba. It is known as the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac in Haiti, and Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince
Port-au-Prince
Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The city's population was 704,776 as of the 2003 census, and was officially estimated to have reached 897,859 in 2009....

 lies at its western end. The depression is home to a chain of salt lake
Salt lake
A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water which has a concentration of salts and other dissolved minerals significantly higher than most lakes . In some cases, salt lakes have a higher concentration of salt than sea water, but such lakes would also be termed hypersaline lakes...

s, including Lake Azuei
Etang Saumâtre
Étang Saumâtre is the largest lake in Haiti and the second largest lake in Hispaniola, after Lake Enriquillo. It is also known as Lac Azuéi ; it is called Lago del Fondo in the Dominican Republic...

 in Haiti and Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is a lake in the Dominican Republic and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island. It is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles...

 in the Dominican Republic.

Demographics

Haiti has 9 million inhabitants, the Dominican Republic, . Life expectancy is 61 years in Haiti, 73.7 years in the Dominican Republic. Literacy rate (over 15 years old) is 52.9% in Haiti, 87% in the Dominican Republic.

Personal income

The annual per capita income is $1,300 in Haiti, $8,200 in the Dominican Republic.

Ecology

The climate of Hispaniola is generally humid and tropical. The island has four distinct ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

s. The Hispaniolan moist forests
Hispaniolan moist forests
The Hispaniolan moist forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion on the island of Hispaniola. They cover , around 60% of the island's area.-Geography:...

 ecoregion covers approximately 50% of the island, especially the northern and eastern portions, predominantly in the lowlands but extending up to 2100 metres (6,889.8 ft) elevation. The Hispaniolan dry forests ecoregion occupies approximately 20% of the island, lying in the rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

 of the mountains in the southern and western portion of the island and in the Cibao
Cibao
Cibao, usually referred as "El Cibao", is a region of the Dominican Republic located at the northern part of the country.The Taíno word Cibao, meaning "place where rocks abound", was originally applied to the central mountain range, and used during the Spanish conquest to refer to the rich and...

 valley in the center-north of the island. The Hispaniolan pine forests
Hispaniolan pine forests
The Hispaniolan pine forests are a tropical coniferous forest ecoregion found on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The ecoregion covers , or about 15% of the island...

 occupy the mountainous 15% of the island, above 850 metres (2,788.7 ft) elevation. The flooded grasslands and savannas
Flooded grasslands and savannas
Flooded grasslands and savannas is a terrestrial biome. Its component ecoregions are generally located at subtropical and tropical latitudes, which are flooded seasonally or year-round...

 ecoregion in the south central region of the island surrounds a chain of lakes and lagoons in which the most notable include that of Lake Azuei
Etang Saumâtre
Étang Saumâtre is the largest lake in Haiti and the second largest lake in Hispaniola, after Lake Enriquillo. It is also known as Lac Azuéi ; it is called Lago del Fondo in the Dominican Republic...

 and Trou Caïman
Trou Caïman
Trou Caïman , sometimes called Eau Gallée by locals, is a saltwater lake in Haiti known for its excellent birdwatching opportunities. The lake is 9 km long, 3 km wide, and approximately 16 km² in area...

 in Haiti and the nearby Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is a lake in the Dominican Republic and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island. It is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles...

 in the Dominican Republic.

In Haiti, deforestation
Deforestation in Haiti
Deforestation in Haiti is a severe environmental problem. In 1923, over 60% of Haiti's land was forested; by 2006, less than 2% was.Deforestation sped up after Hurricane Hazel downed trees throughout the island in 1954...

 has long been cited by scientists as a source of ecological crisis; the timber industry dates back to the French colonial occupation.

See also

  • List of divided islands
  • Geography of Haiti
  • Geography of the Dominican Republic
    Geography of the Dominican Republic
    The Dominican Republic is a country in the West Indies that occupies the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola. It has an area of 48,442 km², including offshore islands. The land border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which occupies the western one-third of the island, is 388 km long...


External links

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