FAQs About Haiti
By Graeme Renwall
How much do you know about Haiti? Unfortunately, we oftentimes don't become familiar with certain countries until we hear about them in the news. While the recent earthquake in Haiti has resulted in massive death and destruction, it's put the eyes of the world on this small country.
Here are some FAQs that may reveal some information you didn't know about Haiti:
1. Where exactly is Haiti?
The country is located in the West Indies (or the Caribbean). The West Indies itself received its name based on the Christopher Columbus' belief that in 1942 his voyage to the region had actually taken him to the Indies (in Asia). Haiti itself includes western Hispaniola and two islands off its shore.
2. What are the highlights of Haiti's history?
The indigenous peoples of Haiti are the Arawak Indians. Then in 1697, the region of modern Haiti became a colony of France. But after Toussaint L'Ouverture led a successful slave revolt in 1804, Haiti became an independent republic. The country included the entire island of Hispaniola. That situation changed in 1843, following a rebellion by the eastern section of the island. As a result, that region became known as the Dominican Republic. Various dictators governed Haiti during the 1900s. Then in 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide became Haiti's first president who the country had elected democratically.
3. What is the population of Haiti?
As of 2008, the nation had a population of roughly 9.7 million. It has the third largest population among all Caribbean countries.
4. What are the official languages of Haiti?
There are two: Creole and French. However, Haitians also use the Haitian Vodoun Culture Language for song and dance, and religion. This native language uses both words with a Creole origin, and those with an aboriginal or African origin.
5. What are the main industries of Haiti?
About three-fourths of all Haitians rely on the agriculture sector, while it employs roughly two-thirds of the country's workforce that is economically active. The country's main industries include:
* flour milling
* light assembly
* sugar refining
Meanwhile, some of Haiti's major agricultural products include coffee, rice, corn, mangoes, and sugarcane.
6. Is Haiti particularly prone to earthquakes?
Although Haiti isn't a hot spot for earthquakes, the region has experienced enormous earthquakes during the past. The recent earthquake that hit Haiti was the strongest one in over two centuries. It happened at a fault that continues through the entire country, and is located between the plates of North America and the Caribbean. In fact, these two plates are continually crawling past each other. But what caused the huge magnitude of the recent earthquake? The two plates overlapped each other while on an east-west path. This resulted in a release of energy and the earthquake in Haiti. The earthquake's magnitude of 7.0 released 10 times more energy than a 6.0 magnitude earthquake would.
While the recent hurricane in Haiti was indeed devastating, hopefully these FAQs about the nation will give you a better understanding of the country and its people. It's a time for everyone to unite as fellow human beings.
Graeme has been writing articles for nearly 3 years. His current passion is hydrotherapy. Take a close look at his selection of Used Hot Tubs and his range of Portable Hot Tubs Spas which are all designed to help you switch off and relax.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.