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Haiti (Ha´ti in French; Ayiti in Haitian Creole; Hayti in nineteenth century English), officially the Republic of Haiti, occupies one third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, and also includes many smaller islands such as La GonÔve, La Tortue (Tortuga), Les Cayemites, ╬le de Anacaona, and La Grande Caye. The uninhabited island of Navasse is claimed both by Haiti and the United States. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. The total area of Haiti is 27,750 km▓ (10,714 sq mi) and its capital is Port-au-Prince.

A former French colony, Haiti was to become the first independent black republic, and the only nation ever having a successful slave revolt. Haiti became the second independent country in the Americas (after the United States) when it declared its independence on January 1, 1804.

Haiti has recently undergone a state of transition following an uprising, which forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign on February 29, 2004. He had been re-elected in 2000 in an election which several parties boycotted due to disputes with the vote-counting of a previous parliamentary election. RenÚ PrÚval was elected president in his place on February 7, 2006, and took office in May.

Geography of Haiti

Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains with small coastal plains and river valleys. The east and central part is a large elevated plateau. The highest point in Haiti is Chaine de la Selle at 2,680 m (8,793 feet). The 360-km (224-mile) border is shared with the Dominican Republic.

In 1925, Haiti was a lush tropical paradise, with 60% of its original forest covering the lands and mountainous regions. Since then, the population has cut down all but 2% of its forest cover, and in the process has destroyed fertile farmland soils while contributing to desertification. Erosion has been severe in the mountainous areas. Pictures from space glaringly show the stark difference in forestation between Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic. Most Haitian logging is done to produce charcoal, the country's chief source of fuel. The plight of Haiti's forests has attracted international attention and has led to numerous reforestation efforts, but these have met with little success to date.

In addition to soil erosion, the deforestation has also caused periodic flooding, as seen on September 17, 2004. Tropical storm Jeanne skimmed the north coast of Haiti leaving 3,006 people dead in flooding and mudslides, mostly in the city of Gona´ves.

There has been a dispute between the United States and Haiti about Navassa Island (Navasse), which both countries claim. The Haitian claim relies on documentation that Navassa became part of Haiti after a 1697 agreement between France and Spain that gave France the western third of Hispaniola plus nearby islands, including Navassa Island. The United States claims the island pursuant to its own Guano Islands Act of 1856.

Information provided by Wikipedia

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